I looked up a couple of those guys you mentioned , none of them seem to be claiming , man is an animal . One of them is said to be a confirmed aithiest but l know a few guys who are aithiest and as far as l know , none of them think man is an animal. .
The fundamental thing that separates man from any other life forms is the ability to understand and reason. Perhaps the thing he has universally tried to understand is himself. Philosophers, religious leaders , scientists and scholars have all wrestled with it. A few great thinkers believed that man was both material and immaterial , the mind was separatefrom the body. .
This is called Dualism , yet others , through history believed in materialism and that man was matter . .
In the modern era , it kind of kicks off with Wundt around 1879 in Liepzig University when he set out to prove that man was indeed material and therefore an animal . Wundt was a psychologist , the word means the study of the soul , who was out to prove there was no soul . His teachings began with refuting the Dualist idea that mind and matter were different , from there it was just but a short leap to announce that man was an animal . According to Wundt there was only the material of man .
Wundt's ideas appealed to Chancellor Bismark who had certain militaristic ideas and gave Germany a foundation for almost 70years of German attempts to slove it's problems through warfare . They seemed to think that if you could train a dog to salivate when you ring a bell , then a man can be trained to fight and have lowered ideas about the man in the other camp , which was probably behind German attrocities in Belgium in 1914..
One of Wundts students in Leipzig was none other than Pavlov (remember his dug) who went on to give the Soviets his ideas on brainwashing , which led to the attempted brainwashing of individuals and populaces , data utilised by both Stalin and Lenin before him .
It is no surprise that these new psychological theories became very popular at atime of social upheaval and found great favour with governments of the rtime . If , man could really be understood purely in physical terms then perhaps they could solve the problems of man by the eqivalent of prodding a recalcitrent cow with a stick .
Materialism quickly gained popularity in fields that had been non-material before ; Sociology , Philosophy , psychology ,politics and education now all began to reflect the Materialist view of the world and very quickly society began to feel the effects throughout.It wasn't all bad as applying Materialism to material things did bring about remarkable gains in scientific knowledge about the earth and the Universe. The grave era was to apply Materialism to man himself. .
Applying Wundt's , man is an animal principle , had consequences which were both widespread and disasterous . 19th century psychiatry with its long history of ill treatment of the insane , jumped on Wundts experimental psychology bandwagon to enter the unversities of America and Europe . From there it was another short leap to the halls of power and other the institutions . From there we get the belief that force can monitor thinking and can be applied to populations at large with disaterous consquenses . It was the belief that was to pave the way to two world wars . The psychiatrists in Germany came up with the psuedo science of eugenics , the idea of 'racial purity' and superraces' which ultimately resulted in the death camps and the death of millions . .
More recently , it raised it's head again in the former Yugoslavia where a psychiatrist calld Karadic , came up with the idea of 'ethnic cleansing' , and stirred up Serbian nationalism . This led to an other psychiatrist , a pupil of the first , a Serbian military-political leader ., leading his troops to carry out a bitter war and attocities against a people who were deamed to be 'inferior' and indeed were treated worse than the animals you seem to think we are . .
As far as 'science giving us the modern age ' is concerned , to me it is more down to the engineers and the inovators , men who usually worked on their own , men like - Tesla , Watt , Diesel, the Wrights , Dunlop , Bell , Benz , MacMillan , Napier nad even the writer Sir Walter Scott who contributed a great deal to what we know as modern Scotland and so has the biggest monument in our capital. .