Debate and Discussion

Evolution versus Religion?
lothar at 9:42PM, Oct. 10, 2008
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KingRidley
I also have to point out the hole in the Ozone layer. Yeah it's pretty much closed. After the whole scare everyone had about it, and we changed so many laws protecting the ozone, it quickly got better. But no one really cared because they had all moved on to the next big panic about global warming and whatnot.
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/26may_ozone.htm

No, actually its still there , the article you reference even says its still open. the layer covering the rest of the world seems to have stabalized.
heres a more recent article
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/10/07/ozone.hole/index.html?iref=newssearch

i find it strange that the same people that often elevate man to the the level of a sort of all powerful demigod that dominates nature, are the same people that rail against global warming and other man made disasters, claiming those things to be part of some natural cycle and nothing to worry about.



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KingRidley at 10:39PM, Oct. 10, 2008
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The hole over the Arctic is cyclical. The other holes cleared up, but the one at the bottom of the planet has always been there. The hole over that region has never been the problem.



bravo1102
Personally I believe that various aquatic mammals (whales? Dolphins?) may be be as smart as we are, but due to their enviornment they don't have technology but they each could be among the greatest minds ever. And we can't communicate with them maybe because they see us as the ones trapped on the land with all our tools that they don't need.


While I don't feel this way, you still make a very good point. They are very intelligent animals, but the nature of their environment has held them back. They probably could have been alot smarter if it weren't for the fact that they are aquatic mammals. It's a damned shame that they aren't smarter, too. Because they are already really really smart.



cartoonprofessor
Elephants have incredible depth to their feelings and social intelligence. Just because we cannot communicate effectively with them we believe to be of superior intelligence?

No, we believe that we are superior because elephants, while smart and awesome, have not accomplished anything with any kind of permanence. They can express emotions and feelings, they grieve for their dead, and hell- I've even seen an elephant painting. Again, the nature of where they developed really hindered them as well. We humans got really lucky to be where we are today. But seriously, humans don't act superior simply out of Ego, we honestly know that nothing is smarter than us because nothing has proven itself to be smarter than us.

And we can communicate on a rudimentary level with dolphins and elephants, and even gorillas/chimpanzees/etc. Most of them can learn sign language, and dolphins/elephants can learn to recognize verbal commands. That's how we found out that adult chimps are like 3 year old humans, and that dolphins are such intelligent sea creatures. Aside from child like intelligence, none of those animals have shown any real or complex signs of higher intelligence. But again, they get pretty damned close. Who knows, maybe Anne McCafferey was on to something with her genetically/technologically altered dolphins in her Dragonriders of Pern books. If any animals deserved intelligence (besides us), it would be dolphins, the monkeys closest related to us, and elephants.
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ozoneocean at 2:37AM, Oct. 11, 2008
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All this insistence on the pre-eminence of man seems quite religious in flavour.

Even the idea of “intelligence” in animals is extremely suspect. Not because animals aren't intelligent, but because we base the idea of “intelligence” on things that humans do and consider important, so all we're really doing is looking for human ways of thinking in non-human animals, which is pretty pointless when you think about it: they're NOT human so they'll never think exactly the way we do, no matter how similar some of the behaviours they exhibit are.
 
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lothar at 3:39AM, Oct. 11, 2008
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yea , it's anthro-centric and silly
all those beings looking down on us from the forth dimension must be laughing their four dimensional asses off !
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mlai at 10:08PM, Oct. 11, 2008
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I agree that humans are smart, in our sense of the definition. But that doesn't make us superior.

I think the best yardstick for “superiority” is how long the species survives without going extinct. And on that front, it's not looking good for humanity unless the species actually devises a way to colonize other earth-like planets (a very optimistic and unlikely prospect). We can talk about how superior we are after Homo sapiens thrive for 500 million years, if we can still verbally communicate by that point. We may have “devolved” (become simpler and “smaller” ) by then, to better survive our altered and deteriorated Earth.

“Superiority” is actually easier to define than “intelligence”… Looking at the “intelligent higher animals” such as dolphins, chimps, etc… We can tell that the only ones which truly think the way we do are those closest to us, the chimps. What with the backstabbing, bullying, adultery, etc etc etc. They think like us. They, we can say act like 3 yr old humans.

Look at the other animals, such as gorillas and dolphins… they don't think/act/process the way we do, or the way chimps do. Humans can't gauge their intelligence until they have a better understanding.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
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KingRidley at 11:23PM, Oct. 11, 2008
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ozoneocean
Not because animals aren't intelligent, but because we base the idea of “intelligence” on things that humans do and consider important

Even if we weren't looking for that, animals have shown no other kinds of intelligence. And as smart as we are, we'd be able to notice ‘animal’ intelligence.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
ozoneocean at 7:29AM, Oct. 12, 2008
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KingRidley
Even if we weren't looking for that, animals have shown no other kinds of intelligence. And as smart as we are, we'd be able to notice ‘animal’ intelligence.
What other kinds of “intelligence” are there? There are none, it all means stuff humans think is important. Non-human animals can never match up to that because as I say: they simply are not human. All you prove is how insistent people are at setting up the basis for their own divinity. It seems we're probably prone to having a god complex born to rule.

lol!
That has so many echoes throughout history… The old British empire's idea of the superiority of their culture and the power and intelligence of the “white man”. The current U.S. belief in the power of “freedom” and “democracy” and how those intrinsic strengths have allowed them to triumph… Rome, Greece… etc.
Oh no, good fortune, luck, chance, and the misfortune of others could never have had any part in anything. :)
Besides the fact that those civilisations were never as ascendant as they imagined, just the way humans aren't, only by our own criteria which is all that's important to us.


It's a terrible blind spot that fundamentally undermines our assumptions. -_-
 
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KingRidley at 9:43AM, Oct. 12, 2008
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ozoneocean
What other kinds of “intelligence” are there? There are none, it all means stuff humans think is important. Non-human animals can never match up to that because as I say: they simply are not human. All you prove is how insistent people are at setting up the basis for their own divinity. It seems we're probably prone to having a god complex born to rule.

Knowing we are smarter does not automatically give us a God complex.

I keep saying that Humans are the smartest things there are. You say that we judge based on our definition (the ONLY definition) of intelligence. I say that if there were other kinds of intelligences, we would be capable of noticing and understanding them, much in the same way we can learn to speak another language. You say it doesn't matter because no other kinds of intelligence exist.

I don't get what you're trying to say at this point, other than the fact that we have a bit of an ego because we're intelligent. Seriously. Yeah we've made mistakes in the past, but we're alot smarter now. And back then we used to think that Earth was the center of the universe and that illness was caused by evil spirits. We've learned that all humans are intelligent creatures. But over the course of human existence (I do not care how short you think it is), no animals have shown any kind of intelligence past simple “stimulus -> response.” Except for monkeys/elephants/dolphins, but again they haven't shown anything close to human intelligence. That's why you never see a monkey building a hammer, or an elephant using his nose to cultivate a simple garden, or a dolphin… well sea creatures are at a natural disadvantage.

I mean at this point you can either admit that yes, we are the smartest animals, or that you're just refusing to admit that we are.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
mlai at 5:07PM, Oct. 12, 2008
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And that's like saying the Spaniard is smarter than the native because the Spaniard has a flintlock rifle while the native has a bow and arrow. Strip both naked, dump both in a forest, and then see who can make the weapon he needs to survive.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
KingRidley at 6:21PM, Oct. 12, 2008
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dude the native would do better because that's his environment. They would both have to be taken completely out of their elements for that to be a good test.

Plus, you know, the spaniard does have the much more complex weapon. That's kind of why (coupled with disease and really cheap tactics) the Native Americans got their asses kicked.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
ozoneocean at 8:38PM, Oct. 12, 2008
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Mlai makes the point excellently. To an outside observer all are one. :)
The idea of comparing intelligences is silly considering the radically different environments creatures exist in and the conditions they're adapted for.

Let's see, if I was to transmogrify your mind into that of a sunfish and the sunfish mind into your body, how would you guys handle your situations? You'd both die lol!
So what if we take your minds out of your bodies and put you into some blobby artificial plain that is completely alien to both of you and see how you cope. With no mathematical puzzles or other silly human centred “intelligence” tests cluttering up the place. I think we could have a fair comparison, although pointless, in that hypothetical case. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
KingRidley at 10:45PM, Oct. 12, 2008
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ozoneocean
The idea of comparing intelligences is silly considering the radically different environments creatures exist in and the conditions they're adapted for.

Let's see, if I was to transmogrify your mind into that of a sunfish and the sunfish mind into your body, how would you guys handle your situations? You'd both die lol!
So what if we take your minds out of your bodies and put you into some blobby artificial plain that is completely alien to both of you and see how you cope. With no mathematical puzzles or other silly human centered “intelligence” tests cluttering up the place.

No, it's not silly at all. Animals like deer or dogs or birds don't have to be intelligent to stay alive. Neither do humans, really, but it makes life alot better for us. But for whatever reason humans are the only species in which intelligence was a requirement to stay alive. And you can not logically say that some animal might be smarter than we are but we can't tell because we don't ‘get’ how they think. We DO know how and what animals think, and we DO know that none of them are smarter than we are. This is not something you can sit and debate, this is a solid fact. If there was something smarter than us, then IT would be the dominant species, NOT US.

There actually used to be a relative of humanity that was smarter than what we were back then. Problem was that they couldn't adapt as well as we could, and they died out. If they hadn't, then either WE wouldn't exist, or they would be ruling over us on the food chain.


If you put us into the body of a fish, we would live as long as the fish because a fish has a very simple brain, and that's what we'd be “thinking” with. Hell, we wouldn't think at all. Fish are automatic. See food, go get it. See predator, swim away. See mate, go reproduce. To swim flex these muscles before these other muscles. When you turn your ‘head’ the world behind you no longer exists. You know that we're smart because we learned that fish have a memory of around five seconds.

Did you also know that most animals are mentally trapped in the present? They can't form real memories, and they can't use their limited knowledge to make predictions about the future, both things humans do every moment of every day. When you teach a dog to sit then tell it an hour later to sit again, it doesn't have any recollection of the lesson or the process you used to teach it. In its world your shouts of “sit” mean to relax the rear legs. It doesn't consider it a recently learned lesson, it considers that a fact. Sit = put butt down.


God, I can not believe that I have to actually defend humans as the smartest animals on Earth. Again, this is not a matter of opinion. This is fact. Put a human and an elephant in a room with fire, the human gets to the floor and tries to escape (and later on makes an effort to learn what started the fire in the first place) while the elephant panics. Put a human and a monkey under a starry sky, the human will contemplate the universe (and later on go research information on stars and galaxies) while the monkey will probably shit then sleep. Give a human and a dolphin our respective equivalents of a cold, the human will alter his behavior to recover faster and work to prevent it (later on going back to document and study the disease) while the dolphin will rely on luck and its immune system to avoid dying.


You can go on about how animals might maybe think differently than we do, but in the end the technique makes zero difference. What matters are the results, and human beings always provide. It doesn't matter if we're using human criteria. Hell, if Deer A eats berries from a greener bush, while Deer B eats them from one that is dying, then Deer A is either smarter, or just lucky. But when you throw a human into the equation, the human picks only the berries that are safe to eat, and kills the deer to get some protein and fat into his body. To be honest comparing us with their criteria is unfair to them.



In conclusion: Humans are the smartest creatures on the planet, and in the known universe. This is not opinion, this is not egomania, this is a fact. Sure, it's only a fact because no other evidence has (ever in the history of the planet) presented itself, but that's really all it takes. If humans didn't exist, then we'd say that some other species was the smartest in the known universe. But that isn't how things work. You have to admit that humans are the smartest creatures that we know exist.

Say it.

Saaaaaay iiiiiiiit.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
ozoneocean at 2:44AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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KingRidley
Did you also know that most animals are mentally trapped in the present? They can't form real memories, and they can't use their limited knowledge to make predictions about the future, both things humans do every moment of every day. When you teach a dog to sit then tell it an hour later to sit again, it doesn't have any recollection of the lesson or the process you used to teach it. In its world your shouts of “sit” mean to relax the rear legs. It doesn't consider it a recently learned lesson, it considers that a fact. Sit = put butt down.
Yeaaaaaaaahh… I see where you're going wrong now. That theory is some old and wobley thinking right there. Science is going beyond the “exist in the present” idea. It's like the myth that goldfish have a memory of a few seconds. lol!
Yeah, juts a bit out of date there man.

I don't know whether being more up to date on the latest theories of animal intelligence and with some of the more interesting studies on sharks, ravens, and octopi will change your thinking, but it certainly bears no correlation to what you've been saying ;)
 
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KingRidley at 7:39AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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ozoneocean
Yeaaaaaaaahh… I see where you're going wrong now. That theory is some old and wobley thinking right there.

I don't know whether being more up to date on the latest theories of animal intelligence and with some of the more interesting studies on sharks, ravens, and octopi will change your thinking, but it certainly bears no correlation to what you've been saying ;)
No, that's actually a pretty new theory. And hey, instead of automatically assuming your superiority what with the fact that you've obviously got the right answer, why don't you share that answer with us? You are allowed to provide proof to back up your view that humans aren't the smartest creatures.

But since you aren't going to do that, then I'm going to play by your rules and skip to the point where you've given up and I've proven to you (with the logical equivalent of a freight train hitting your skull) that you are wrong, and that humans are the smartest creatures on the planet. Smarter than octopi, sharks, ravens, etc. I'm not saying that those other animals aren't smart, I'm just saying that we're smarter. And, of course, I'm right.
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ozoneocean at 8:25AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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It's just that you're coming from the very old assumption that animals live in the present, and the obvious difference and superiority of humankind. It's actually philosophical in origin, but it has also informed most religious thinking on the matter as well through the millennia. We start with the idea that only humans have souls and go on from there. The notion that non-human animals can't think, don't have memory etc is the direct descendent of that, it's sort of like the last gasp of that old hide-bound thinking, trying for a pseudo-scientific justification, in much the same way early geneticists tried to do with the outmoded idea of “race”, and “racial superiority”.

But you know those old ideas dies hard when they've always got a few new adherents. ;)

Now I know where you're coming from, that's pretty much all there is too it. One thing you learn in this forum is that when you move from debating ideas and come up against the bounds of someone's knowledge base, it's very hard to get beyond that. Sorry man. :(
 
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arteestx at 8:50AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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ozoneocean
I don't know whether being more up to date on the latest theories of animal intelligence and with some of the more interesting studies on sharks, ravens, and octopi will change your thinking, but it certainly bears no correlation to what you've been saying ;)
I know I'm not up to date on animal intelligence theories, so I would like to know one thing… is there any evidence that animals can use language symbolically and/or in a triadic manner?


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
ozoneocean at 10:06AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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arteestx
I know I'm not up to date on animal intelligence theories, so I would like to know one thing… is there any evidence that animals can use language symbolically and/or in a triadic manner?
Unfortunately in addressing this (and I know it's my fault because I brought it up), we're going back to thinking about “animal intelligence” in ways that really just correlate their behaviour to that of humans. :(
(-acting in a way that we can identify as “human” equals intelligence, therefore value above that of other “mere” animals)

To answer you directly though; You'd probably know about the ongoing studies into whale song that show how they aren't just improvised avant garde composition but contain elements that are transferred and developed upon, repeated and returned within and throughout pods for generations, and the fact that they are carefully taught to the young. There are also some interesting investigations into the use and development of birdsong, and what that tells us about our own language development and the relationship between language development and the development of music in human culture -there is the old idea that music makes no evolutionary sense and simply exists because of our appreciation of auditory aesthetics.

Now if you want to know more of the specifics, especially regarding the nature of what has been determined in these language studies such as "evidence that animals can use language symbolically and/or in a triadic manner", I'd advise you to do a bit of searching to see for yourself if in fact that is the case :)
I consume quite a volume of interesting information from many sources and couldn't point you in any specific direction. I didn't even know what you meant by "triadic" until just now, but you'd probably find that the whale song studies address that aspect. Symbols are a far trickier prospect, even between different human cultures let alone different species. Obviously it would be easier to recognise such behaviour in animals not too different from ourselves, so from memory I'd have to point you in the direction of studies done on the behaviour and communication within Bonobo troupes, and to a lessor extent chimpanzees and lowland gorillas.
 
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KingRidley at 10:31AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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ozoneocean
We start with the idea that only humans have souls and go on from there. The notion that non-human animals can't think, don't have memory etc is the direct descendent of that, it's sort of like the last gasp of that old hide-bound thinking, trying for a pseudo-scientific justification, in much the same way early geneticists tried to do with the outmoded idea of “race”, and “racial superiority”.


Now I know where you're coming from, that's pretty much all there is too it. One thing you learn in this forum is that when you move from debating ideas and come up against the bounds of someone's knowledge base, it's very hard to get beyond that. Sorry man. :(

Woah woah woah, you are not going to say “Sorry, but you don't know enough for me to debate this with you, I'm just too smart.” I ask you for proof and you claim that I don't know enough, especially after you have not bothered to link to these magical articles you're talking about and provide me with some real evidence. That is straight up, grade A Bull shit, and I will not stand by and let you do that. This debate is not fucking finished.


Now, I am not basing this on old theories that animals don't have souls or only humans go to heaven. Animals don't think in the sense that we do. Humans think with words, for one. You can't really comprehend any other kind of thought process because your brain works on such a higher level than that of, for example, a wolf. A wolf probably operates by recognizing a smell, checking to see what the smell means to his brain, then following it, ignoring it, or running from it depending on what he thinks it is. He doesn't remember his first kill, but when faced with a new immediate kill he still knows the feeling of the chase, the pounce, and the meal. They are facts to him, parts of how his world operates. But after eating he doesn't sit back and rest, he is already focused on either finding more food, or someplace safe to sleep. He can't think past that.

Or take a cow in a pasture. She doesn't worry about food because whump there it is. Some part of her brain is always watching out for predators, but even that's just her programming, she's safe now that humans have domesticated her (we're talking about open pasture cattle by the way). She has a baby and the humans help her out in giving birth, and they make sure they milk her if the calf is taken away so that her udders don't get swollen and painful (that and they like the milk). Her routine is eat, eat, eat, eat, poop, eat, get startled, eat, eat, poop, sleep.


Or here's some better proof: Our brain to body mass ratio is the biggest in the animal kingdom. Someone said earlier that a whale's brain is bigger than ours (and I did not just call him stupid and say “I can't talk to you anymore, sorry man :(” ). I told him that it doesn't make a difference. They have a bigger brain because they have a bigger body. We have more brains relative to body than they do.

Honestly I could stop here because this proves it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_to_body_mass_ratio

or if you don't trust wikipedia;

http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/text/text_cult_3.html

I'm not going to claim victory and stop here though (even though this is pretty much my logic train hitting your face). That would be cheap.


Here's a recent animal study for you.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/science/06dumb.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&ref=science&oref=slogin

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2005/12/fruit_flies_and.html

It says that when they got certain flies to learn, they died faster because neurons normally dedicated to life support were busy holding onto information, and when they were needed they couldn't perform. The smarter certain animals get, the more it takes from them.

Humans have, as the article says, taken it to the extreme. Intelligence is not a luxury for our species. It is a necessity. We take risks developing our fancy brains because they are so important to us. What it takes away from us has long ago been taken back by the benefits of our intelligence.




arteestx
I know I'm not up to date on animal intelligence theories, so I would like to know one thing… is there any evidence that animals can use language symbolically and/or in a triadic manner?

Well monkeys can learn sign language. Elephants can… sort of do that, and they have a pretty varied vocabulary for animals. Dolphins, I read, actually have nicknames for each other. They proved this by recording sounds dolphins made when communicating, then playing the ‘names’ back with a synthesized voice. The same dolphins responded each time, no matter what the voice sounded like. I'll give you some articles next time I stop by here (unlike ozone who says “get them yourself” ). I'd grab them now, but I'm sort of busy.
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ozoneocean at 11:18AM, Oct. 13, 2008
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KingRidley… In the first part you just expound on your own ideas of how animals must function like robots, and in another you talk about brain size as if that proves something else other than actual size relationships, and then go on to link articles that about fruit flies (of all things) that disprove your earlier assumption of a robotic existence, but you try and save that with the idea that “we just do it better”. :)

The first part of your post is amusing for its similarity to the rationalisations of the Greek philosophers on the same subject. The similarity is so very close… Which is actually a good example of the strength of our human culture and social tendencies and the way ideas are transferred down through the generations. The thing about brain size as well, for the same reasons. You have to have seen though that relative brain size equations don't work very well…? The examples are too numerous, even just between different humans. It was once trumpeted as one of the main reasons why “whites” were superior to the so called “Negroid races”. One of the more shameful aspects of science. :(

———————————–

I don't see why you become so aggressive in these matters. I'm not engaging in real debate with you here any longer really though; what you indicate in your first sentence is pretty much the case, but I was too polite to say. I'd have to go into things like language not being essential to rational thought etc. but that's another field and would take too long to get into. In the end it comes down to you synthesising ideas from your own experience and knowledge base and me regurgitating from my much larger knowledge base with less of the synthesis. And I'm not going back to re-look up everything I've ever read or heard for the sake of bringing you up to speed or for the sake of a trivial debate. I participate in these as a form of perverse amusement, and for a while I've found you interesting enough to spar with on this question.

So that's why I can't continue anymore. :)
I don't mean to sound patronising or arrogant in my response, that's just my writing style.
 
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KingRidley at 2:25PM, Oct. 13, 2008
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ozoneocean
KingRidley… In the first part you just expound on your own ideas of how animals must function like robots, and in another you talk about brain size as if that proves something else other than actual size relationships, and then go on to link articles that about fruit flies (of all things) that disprove your earlier assumption of a robotic existence, but you try and save that with the idea that “we just do it better”.

The examples are too numerous, even just between different humans. It was once trumpeted as one of the main reasons why “whites” were superior to the so called “Negroid races”.

I'd have to go into things like language not being essential to rational thought etc.

In the end it comes down to you synthesising ideas from your own experience and knowledge base and me regurgitating from my much larger knowledge base with less of the synthesis.

I participate in these as a form of perverse amusement, and for a while I've found you interesting enough to spar with on this question.


I don't mean to sound patronising or arrogant in my response, that's just my writing style.


The Brain to body mass ratio shows that in animals, regardless of body size, those who have a smaller ratio of Brain mass to their Body mass are not intelligent. Humans have a very large brain relative to our body size. It takes up 20% of our energy, and if deprived of oxygen for even a minute it starts to die. It is a complex organ and has to stay complex for human life to function as it should.

There are animals that can honestly stay alive without a brain for a pretty long time, and even still some animals are born without one at all.

Animals like Dolphins, Monkeys or Elephants have a pretty big brain to body mass ration. That's why they are considered very intelligent animals. Things like Whales and Dinosaurs, while very large, had a relatively small brain to body mass ratio. They aren't very smart, although whales are significantly smarter than a dinosaur would be.

The link about the fruit flies shows that for some animals (especially those with a very small brain to body ratio), intelligence can honestly harm them. They have reason to function, essentially, like robots. By the way, it is very common for us to program our robots to behave like animals, because we understand animals well enough to do that. And honestly, intelligence has done nothing but help our species. We don't live in trees anymore, and we don't have to eat bugs or kill for our own food. Disease no longer requires luck to overcome in the majority of cases, and we've even created new diseases related to how long we live.



Yes, we get that humans did bad things. Sometimes when a new male becomes leader in a pack of Gorillas, he will kill the children from the previous male and either rape or kill the females that mated with the male. And Hamsters eat their own babies if food is scarce. We never really hold animals accountable for doing ‘bad things’ because they aren't smart enough to hold accountable, and because they don't have the ability to do ‘bad things’ on a large scale like we do. And they said alot of shit to make *insert oppressed race* look inferior, and now we happen to know better. So for the love of God, stop bringing that up unless you're going to try something other than saying “Humans do bad things like slavery” again.



Language isn't necessary, I'll give you that. But nothing other than our method really exists at this point. Nothing else thinks like humans do. If they did, again, there would be evidence. If they had intelligence that was equal to a human but functioned in their little animal brains, there would still be evidence. But you have given no explanation for or even a hint of proof that some animal has provided us with this evidence because it's too easy to say “Your tiny brain will not comprehend this.”

-Ozoneocean edit to remove offensive rambling.
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For anyone who actually wants to debate this like a rational person I'm still totally willing. How about we discuss how the aquatic environment held back dolphins from being intelligent? My stance is that our hands required larger brains to function (which is true), and that dolphins couldn't develop the aquatic equivalent to hands because of how they have evolved to move. An Octopus, on the other hand, needs a complex brain to control its eight limbs which could explain why they are so intelligent.


Or we could go back to the original topic. My view is still that God, if he exists, thinks like a scientist and gave life the tools it needed to better itself on its own.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
mlai at 6:35PM, Oct. 13, 2008
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I also think the articles you linked to, harmed rather than helped your case.
You should have linked to (modern) articles that supported your view that animals live in the present tense and have no concept of history/future/time.

Linking to articles that talk about how scientists can manipulate the “IQ” of fruit flies only succeeds in telling us that intelligence is, in fact, not all that special. I mean look(!), in a week's time a scientist can breed intelligence out of friggin' flies, with nothing more than 2 dishes of different jams!

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
KingRidley at 9:52PM, Oct. 13, 2008
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It's not even really alot of intelligence, it's just “touching this juice is bad.” If you expose an animal to something that is unpleasant, then yeah it'll learn pretty quickly to avoid it. It just shows that developing intelligence wasn't always beneficial to some creatures.

But anyways you're right about the articles. Going back and looking for the ones I've read brought me back to the concept of Episodic Memory which is really helpful in this debate. Especially because not many animals have it, and humans are one of the animals that do.

One point it makes is that animals can make decisions that usually only concern immediate needs, while humans make decisions that concern future needs as well. For example:

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18291029

The rats kept on eating the large amount of food even though that made them thirsty, while the squirrel monkeys changed their behavior and ate the smaller food source in order to stave of thirst.

There was another article where they gave some kind of monkey a large supply of food. He ate his fill and left the rest of the food alone. Later on, they waited for a while before feeding him again. That time he ate more, but still didn't take any food to hold him over. Again, they waited to feed him. They kept doing this a few times and I think the monkey eventually started grabbing more food, but even still that was because at that point he was used to the concept of impending hunger. His first response was still to only take care of immediate needs instead of working to satisfy future needs. Unfortunately I can't find that article. Which is really a shame.


But here's a few more links:

http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/dog-whisperer.html

dog whisperer
Picture this all too common scenario. You arrive home from a hard day at the office to find that your beloved dog has once again chewed up the cushions that were nicely decorating the sofa. You're angry. In a raised voice you swear at him/her and tell him how disappointed you are. You then throw your shoe at him as you bend down to pick up the mess. As you are blowing off steam your dog is avoiding you, head down low, eyes looking up almost sheepishly, with tail firmly tucked between his hind legs. At this point many dog owners look at their dog and say “look at the little bugger, he knows what he's done wrong, just look at how guilty he looks”. This is the wrong conclusion to make. Your dog doesn't think like that (like a human) and he doesn't have a clue what you are rambling on about. He makes no connection between the chewed up cushions and your mood. Dogs live in the present moment, so what he is picking up on and reacting to is your angry energy, raised voice and threatening body language. He may have also learned what the consequences are when you arrive home in this type of mood - he was probably waiting for the shoe to come his way! This scenario is an example of how us humans and our dogs view the very same situation from an entirely different perspective. Dog whispering is about understanding and recognizing that these differences exist, then acting accordingly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episodic_memory#In_animals

Episodic memory in animals.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/08/0822_030822_tvanimalmemory.html


Evidence of episodic memory in animals such as scrub jays, chimpanzees, and gorillas.



Also found this:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/10/081007-super-worms.html

Article talking about a few new breeds of ‘super worms’ that eat heavy metals. They are a pretty newly evolved species, and haven't even been named. It's pretty cool.



So yeah tl;dr my latest points proving human intellectual superiority are episodic memory, and our ability to satisfy future needs. These aren't always exclusive to humans, but we have them better than any other animal.

Also chimpanzees are awesome because they can be taught to communicate with humans. Seriously I want to talk to a chimp. And a dolphin and an elephant.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
mlai at 3:22AM, Oct. 14, 2008
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I haven't read your “episodic memory” related links yet, but I want to comment on a few things.

1. The fruit fly article does indeed breed intelligence, not Pavlovian responses. The researcher is not measuring how adept the flies are rewiring themselves to a specific change in envt; he is breeding the ability to learn. He could have changed the flavor of jams every generation, and the measurements would have been the same.

2. That quotation is wrong. I don't know how smart his dog is, but in my knowledge the dog is not scared because he senses a change in the master. He's scared because he remembers he did something bad.

In my personal experience, I come home all happy and ready to greet my dog. I had a good day; I have zero idea my dog did something bad. Then I see my dog desperately trying to crawl under the cabinet for no reason… So I start to look around, and then I find the evidence of her crime. This is with both dogs, multiple times.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
bravo1102 at 5:42AM, Oct. 14, 2008
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Some things have more intrinsic worth than others, others are better, more moral and are more helpful to survival. As for anthro-centrism; it is a human behavioral trait. It's shorthand for survival, judging others by the criterea already set up based on yourself. It's good for survival. The human can react as opposed to trying to read the other's mind, which in case you haven't noticed, is a gift that humans lack. :) Reading body language and facial expressions is shorthand but ain't always 100% accurate.

And you know that humans do live in the moment? You're all going on about studies about animal intelligence when maybe, just maybe you should be reading up on human behavior. DBT and CBT (the two of the most successful and constantly clinically proven therapies) both espouse living in the moment. DBT goes so far as to espouse the joys of “mindfulness” or as a Taoist would call it “Just being”

All animals are adapted to their manner of existence. Is one better than the other? Every one has its pluses and minuses. Ours allows us more creativity than the others and the development of spoken language and civilization. That's kind of neat and for us is better. Anyone ever think that it was in the best interest of the dog to adapt by being domesticated? (Serve master, master feed Fido, master pet Fido, master good to Fido. Fido like this whole domesticated behavioral dynamic)

Nah, we're the best, the best by far, and we smoke all the others like an old cigar, now give me a big human Hoo-rah and move the fuck out!

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
KingRidley at 7:58AM, Oct. 14, 2008
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mlai
2. That quotation is wrong. I don't know how smart his dog is, but in my knowledge the dog is not scared because he senses a change in the master. He's scared because he remembers he did something bad.

In my personal experience, I come home all happy and ready to greet my dog. I had a good day; I have zero idea my dog did something bad. Then I see my dog desperately trying to crawl under the cabinet for no reason… So I start to look around, and then I find the evidence of her crime. This is with both dogs, multiple times.

Huh. Maybe you have smart dogs or something, because mine never act like that. Each time they get in trouble, seconds later they're back to bouncing around and acting all happy. I can't think of a good explanation right now. What breed are they? And how well have they been trained?


bravo1102
And you know that humans do live in the moment? You're all going on about studies about animal intelligence when maybe, just maybe you should be reading up on human behavior. DBT and CBT (the two of the most successful and constantly clinically proven therapies) both espouse living in the moment. DBT goes so far as to espouse the joys of “mindfulness” or as a Taoist would call it “Just being”

Anyone ever think that it was in the best interest of the dog to adapt by being domesticated?
Even if we do live in the moment, and I imagine that those therapies are successful because they allow us to forget about stressful things at least for a little while, we still have the ability to live -mentally- in both the past and future. Essentially we have a choice.

Also the reason I'm providing little proof involving human behavioral studies is because in my mind sitting at this desk and typing on this computer is enough to prove our mental superiority simply because any of this exists, and because we are conscious and able to understand it.

But sure, I'll look for human behavioral studies. Not sure exactly which ones will help at this point, but I'll think of something in a while.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
bravo1102 at 3:19PM, Oct. 14, 2008
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I really don't want to have to explain that CBT and DBT isn't an escape from stressors but a technique to put them into perspective and deal with them in the moment it is necessary to deal with them. Living in the moment, because you cannot change the past, but you can only work on things in the present and that affects the future. It can argued that when humans live in the eternal now they are at their best. They use their expereinced memories to make right now the best it can be.

It can be argued that that is precisely what other animals' memories help them accomplish.

I'm certain king ridley (even your very name may be an indication of this, king? gosh I don't even mention my rank: god=sergeant ;) ) that until you see something better than man you'd never believe we aren't the best. As Merlin said “there is always something cleverer than yourself”
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
highspeedcomics at 4:44PM, Oct. 14, 2008
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ozoneocean
Let's see, if I was to transmogrify your mind into that of a sunfish and the sunfish mind into your body, how would you guys handle your situations?

I'd build a powerful undersea empire and take over the surface world, obviously. That'll show you arrogant humans.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
KingRidley at 10:47AM, Oct. 15, 2008
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bravo1102
I really don't want to have to explain that CBT and DBT isn't an escape from stressors but a technique to put them into perspective and deal with them in the moment it is necessary to deal with them. Living in the moment, because you cannot change the past, but you can only work on things in the present and that affects the future.

I'm certain king ridley (even your very name may be an indication of this, king? gosh I don't even mention my rank: god=sergeant ;) ) that until you see something better than man you'd never believe we aren't the best.

Oh, alright. That's a good technique. Even still, we aren't limited to that kind of thought. We are capable of focusing all of our efforts on the past or future whenever we want. I have a friend who constantly types huge multiple page rants about how Nintendo is selling out because of everything from the DSi to the 3d Final Fantasy DS remakes (and of course when I got mad at him because he does that just about every other week he assumed that I never had anything I loved as a child and wouldn't understand where he was coming from, needless to say that did not help his case). He won't move away from his past expectations and lets them tint his expectations of the future.

My uncle also has a dog that he adopted from a shelter. The dog had been horribly abused and now is distrusting of all humans except for him. I always try to pet him and explain that he should remember my scent, and given time he warms up to my presence. Even still, his past experience have likewise tinted his expectations of the immediate future.

The two situations are pretty similar, but they're really different too. Aside from the scenarios and the reasons for the changed expectations, their minds work differently. The Human is irritated about trivial video games that he doesn't need in any sense of the word. The Dog is afraid because his experience as a young animal was… very bad. The human is contemplating entertainment and the dog is contemplating safety. And again, each side can be switched. The friend can be worried about city air messing with his asthma, while a dog I own gets noticeably depressed when we throw away one of her old (destroyed) toys.




As for the name, I didn't put King in there as a sign of rank or ego. I really don't remember why it's in there, or how I even came up with the name. But there it is, and it's not going anywhere else :/

But it's very true that until you see something better, what you do see is the best in your eyes. There's nothing wrong with that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
ozoneocean at 4:33AM, Oct. 16, 2008
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bravo1102
that until you see something better than man you'd never believe we aren't the best. As Merlin said “there is always something cleverer than yourself”
The thing isn't really a matter of “better and best”, more a matter of what “is”.
Is a lamp better than a toaster? Better for reading by, making sure you don't bump into things at night, and better and getting rid of shadows from what you want to look at… but not at making toast. Although various toasters and lamps do their own jobs with differing levels of efficiency: oranges and apples. ;)

In the end, the more considered among us must avoid the trap of turning our argument into one of self aggrandisement and justification of supremacy: The theory of Evolution isn't a roadmap to the glorious progression of creation with humankind at the logical end of that journey. That road leads to the perversion of scientific theory into more common religious themes.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
KingRidley at 7:40AM, Oct. 16, 2008
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ozoneocean
Is a lamp better than a toaster? Better for reading by, making sure you don't bump into things at night, and better and getting rid of shadows from what you want to look at… but not at making toast.

In the end, the more considered among us must avoid the trap of turning our argument into one of self aggrandisement and justification of supremacy:
That argument is irrelevant. As you say, they each do different jobs. It's just like comparing any animal to the universe, they do not do the same thing.

What would be better is comparing a lamp to a computerized lighting system that turns on the lights when you come home, and only keeps lights on when someone is in the room. It is also sentient, and benevolent.

Besides, you use lamps more often than you use toasters.



Also: Boo hoo someone disagrees, you are clearly better than they are because of it. You've lost credit in that discussion because of the childish way you stormed out going “I'm smarter than you~” Don't try and act like you're better than me because I got mad when you didn't fight fair.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM

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