I guess I sort of knew that your statement about links and books wasn't directed at me specifically. I just wanted to barge in on a debate. Hope I wasn't unwelcome.
Stuart: "While I feel incomplete in offering only a secular argument here, I realize you will dismiss any biblical argument out of hand. I feel it is simple to offer a number of reasons why humans are superior to animals in purely secular terms, however. Firstly, humankind has the ability to dominate the whole of the animal kingdom. No group of animals can organize itself to impose itself on humankind. That by definition makes humans superior - if only in terms of dominance.
Secondly, the fact that you or I might consider these issues at all is
definite proof that we are superior. Do crows contemplate a choice
between berries or dead possums? Thirdly, does the animal kingdom work
to improve itself or even contemplate improvement? No! Isn't any entity
working to improve itself by default superior to one that is not? I can
go on but I find the notion you present as utterly dependant on your
definition of the word superior."
That's it in a nutshell: definitions of superiority. I will insist that all of the characteristics you choose as being signs of superiority (secular or religious) are solely chosen BECAUSE humans exhibit them. In other words, pick the species, list some allegedly unique traits, and build your definition of superiority from there. One could do the same thing for just about any species on the planet. (Blue whales are the biggest, Sperm whales have the biggest brains, cheetahs are the fastest land animals, peregrine falcons are the fastest animals, humming birds can fly backwards, trees are the oldest, some have spots, some have stripes, some lay eggs...)
For me, I think superiority is one of those unnecessary terms used to describe a fictitious state. Superiority has no relevance in a system in which each and every species and organism should play an equal participatory role. The only thing I see revealed in our auto-definition as "superior" is our lack of connection as a species. All the trouble we go to in order to understand what it is that makes us superior (and then all the additional trouble we go to so as to demonstrate this superiority) really only further alienates us from what in my opinion is a unified, balanced process.