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Author Topic: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"  (Read 12323 times)

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #200 on: August 12, 2019, 06:05:06 AM »
Queen Bee disagrees.

Thank you kassy, I had not thought of that. You refined my understanding.

I still think I'm on to something because in the case of ants, bees etc. they were made that way, build that way. You could say for example that all ant-eaters are specialized but that is not what I mean. The same blueprint -> same behaviour; generalists within the species. In the case of ants and bees you could call the queen and workers subspecies and see that in fact they are not specialized individuals. They do what's expected of the (sub-) species.They are generalists. Yes the queen is a generalist in my view because all queens are the same. I wish with this it is clear to you what I mean.

Now I have to refine my definition and wording to capture what I mean.
For me that's difficult; to be complete and unequivocal. Modern human language, what a disaster.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

petm

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #201 on: August 12, 2019, 06:28:47 AM »
Now I have to refine my definition and wording to capture what I mean.
For me that's difficult; to be complete and unequivocal. Modern human language, what a disaster.

Are you referring to innate v. learned; nature v. nurture; body v. brain, or even lizard brain v. cerebral cortex?

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #202 on: August 12, 2019, 06:58:49 AM »
Queen Bee disagrees.

Thank you kassy, I had not thought of that. You refined my understanding.

I still think I'm on to something because in the case of ants, bees etc. they were made that way, build that way. You could say for example that all ant-eaters are specialized but that is not what I mean. The same blueprint -> same behaviour; generalists within the species. In the case of ants and bees you could call the queen and workers subspecies and see that in fact they are not specialized individuals. They do what's expected of the (sub-) species.They are generalists. Yes the queen is a generalist in my view because all queens are the same. I wish with this it is clear to you what I mean.

Now I have to refine my definition and wording to capture what I mean.
For me that's difficult; to be complete and unequivocal. Modern human language, what a disaster.

ugh "made that way, built that way."

ugh... why would you assume that the same blueprint must necessarily generate the same behaviour across all members in all species? That is a hypothesis, testable, and not a matter of logic. If you begin with the definition that all members of a species must behave the same, then you have changed the definition of species, and a different logic follows. You are confusing empirical and logical propositions, as you have been throughout this thread.

Quote
Are you referring to innate v. learned; nature v. nurture; body v. brain, or even lizard brain v. cerebral cortex?

the limits of human to other animal analogies?... Part of the human blueprint allows for large differences to appear in behaviour through "nurture" (i.e. epigenetics). That is part of (human) nature, no, even if it is not the nature of all other species?

It is so important to see the difference between empirical propositions and logical propositions (or when we are treating a proposition as one or the other). When we should be looking to evidence (which allows for all sorts of difference between species, including humans, which, in spite of our consciousness does not make us unnatural in a darwinian -- or scientific -- sense), versus when we should be looking at our presuppositions, and the way that our language works.

example: man is the unnatural animal (treated as an empirical proposition): what is the definition of unnatural, and does man meet the criteria? Evidence is required.

treated as a logical proposition: man is defined as the unnatural animal. No evidence is required, since the statement is a truism. But what are the consequences? Are there contradictions which arise? If so, where is the tension in our presuppositions?

TerryM

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #203 on: August 12, 2019, 08:10:22 AM »
My experience observing pets has left me believing that mammals at least act and react as individuals. I've no knowledge whether this extends to other species, or even mammals in the wild - but I strongly suspect that it does.


A poodle jumping through hoops on stage has learned a specialty, but it could be argued that he's merely responding to conditioning, that the actions are little more than a response to training. I assume that if a whale discovered bubble netting and taught a few friends, he could be seen as a specialist in communication and organization when eliciting the help of others to create a hunting party.


If something similar took place in an isolated tribal setting we might consider the organizer as a hunt coordinator, a hunt leader or a hunting chieftain. Any of these might be considered specialists as much as the old man who knaps their tribal points or the old woman who trains young girls to embellish their unique pottery.


If a particular bear begins breaking into cabins instead of chasing rabbits, can't it be be said that he's learned a specialty, and is by definition a specialist?


Both an airline baggage handler and the PhD who designed the engine are specialists. Levels of complexity don't alter that fact.
Terry

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #204 on: August 12, 2019, 09:55:15 AM »
Thanks guys.
I see all kinds of distinctions but don't know how to precisely describe them. I need exact definitions and human language doesn't provide. Au contraire.
I'm full of ..but  ..but ..but. But I've decided to let go, sorry.
I would love to be in private personal real-life contact and discuss further. That would considerably speed up the truth-finding process and mutual understanding. Could even share a joint whilst discussing :).

I once made a comment in the Guardian about the shortcomings of human language. I'll try to find it petm, to clarify what I mean and maybe you'll find it interesting.

edit: found it: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/12/uk-butterflies-worst-hit-in-2016-with-70-of-species-in-decline-study-finds#comment-96508160
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

philopek

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #205 on: August 12, 2019, 06:43:31 PM »
A stinging retort. ;D
Terry

yeah but that's ONE of all the rest compared to almost ALL with very few exception hence i think the retort is a retort for the sake of retorting and mostly backfires (stings) to the retorter for the umpteenth time.

cognitivebias2

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #206 on: August 12, 2019, 06:56:12 PM »
A stinging retort. ;D
Terry

yeah but that's ONE of all the rest compared to almost ALL with very few exception hence i think the retort is a retort for the sake of retorting and mostly backfires (stings) to the retorter for the umpteenth time.


 :o :o
Philopek,

Why assume some kind of an agenda.  The response was a direct refutation, and not unkind in approach, but rather somewhat humorous, and appropriate. 

On a signal to noise ratio, I believe kassy ranks way higher than you.  I don't believe there is a cogent point in your comment.


TerryM

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #207 on: August 12, 2019, 07:11:05 PM »
I think the posts were all made tongue in cheek - or stinger in check. :P
Terry

kassy

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #208 on: August 12, 2019, 08:21:59 PM »
Well it was just the obvious example and i was just curious what nanning would come up with.  :)

It is just discussing a theory and when doing that with friends you want to look at the weak points. Can i poke a hole in it? That is just a discussion and in the end the theory should come out better (or it might die).

Quote
The same blueprint -> same behaviour; generalists within the species. In the case of ants and bees you could call the queen and workers subspecies and see that in fact they are not specialized individuals. They do what's expected of the (sub-) species.They are generalists. Yes the queen is a generalist in my view because all queens are the same. I wish with this it is clear to you what I mean.

But how specialized are we humans?

Security guards, policemen, prison guards, traffic directing guys, BOA´s, airport inspectors. All the same.

There is all kinds of programming but most of them are doing the same.

All salespeople sell something.

Some consumers have a very specific taste different from other consumers but that makes them specialized in taste not overall behavior.

I am not sure that we are really all individually specialized.


Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #209 on: August 13, 2019, 05:11:02 AM »
<snip>
I am not sure that we are really all individually specialized.
Thank you for thinking about it kassy :).
My assumption was that in living nature all animals are generalists and I thought I saw a clear distinction with civilisation humans. But as with many problems, often the answer is less simple than expected.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

petm

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #210 on: August 13, 2019, 05:14:22 AM »
Scientists are extremely specialized. Many other professions too. At least, specialized in their knowledge...

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #211 on: September 03, 2019, 08:14:55 AM »
I postulate: Civilisation humans go against living nature by taking more than they need and they go against their (physiological) nature by living monogamous, by bonding for a long time (marriage) whilst not having monogamous 'programming' from nature. Of course they fail all the time haha.

Therefore civilisation humans are the unnatural animals.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #212 on: September 03, 2019, 08:48:29 AM »
This is a very difficult subject to discuss without some clarification of terms. As an example, the use of "natural" vs. "unnatural" is simply another way of saying "non-human animals" vs. "human animals".

The discussion is therefore doomed to be circular and never reach a conclusion.

And whether humans take "more than they need" - how do you define need? Animals take all that they can get, I've never known an animal to refuse fulfilling any need.

And I'd bet that all animals would take a hell of a lot more if they could, simply because a most of their needs go unfulfilled most of the time.

And I would also postulate that this is what humans do - if you look at Maslov's pyramid of needs, then it's clear that most of us have needs that are not met, and our consumption can be explained by our constant search for need fulfillment.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #213 on: September 03, 2019, 09:00:27 AM »
Here we go again.
This is a very difficult subject to discuss without some clarification of terms. As an example, the use of "natural" vs. "unnatural" is simply another way of saying "non-human animals" vs. "human animals".
I have already done this in my initial posts upthread. It is even in the thread-title, why do you post here if you think it is meaningless?
Quote
And whether humans take "more than they need" - how do you define need? Animals take all that they can get, I've never known an animal to refuse fulfilling any need.
From wiktionary (why didn't you look it up?):
"need" (transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

oren

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #214 on: September 03, 2019, 09:28:25 AM »
I am certain that animals take more than they "need" sometimes.
And "absolute requirement for" is not well defined, as the need is subjective. Some can live on bread and onions, others "require" fillet mignon. I need an Internet connection.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #215 on: September 03, 2019, 10:04:54 AM »
Hi oren, the context is 'in living nature' and not 'in civilisation culture', to be able to see the difference. Bread is advanced technology. I mean what nature animals take from living nature for their survival.
Maintaining the high level of (thermodynamical) order of ecosystems, of the whole Earth life system. Whether animals are a part of ecosystems, by having an ecosystem function.

I thought that "absolute requirement" is pretty clear in this context. If you find some nature animal behaviour that may break this 'need' once in a while, please compare that with civilisation humans' behaviour.
-
I had thought that the monogamy part of my postulate would draw a lot more attention. Interesting.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

oren

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #216 on: September 03, 2019, 10:15:50 AM »
Yeah I wanted to say something about that too. What you call a physiological need is really a psychological need, helping to prove my point that absolute needs are subjective.

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #217 on: September 03, 2019, 10:19:24 AM »
Here we go again.
This is a very difficult subject to discuss without some clarification of terms. As an example, the use of "natural" vs. "unnatural" is simply another way of saying "non-human animals" vs. "human animals".
I have already done this in my initial posts upthread. It is even in the thread-title, why do you post here if you think it is meaningless?

Nanning, you postulate something and then you refuse to explain it or to specify the terms. It's just as meaningless in the thread title.

And when should I not post if not when I see people talking nonsense?

Quote
Quote
And whether humans take "more than they need" - how do you define need? Animals take all that they can get, I've never known an animal to refuse fulfilling any need.
From wiktionary (why didn't you look it up?):
"need" (transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.

Well, I did look in my good old trusty "Unabridged Webster's new Twentieth Century Dictionary", "Second Edition - Deluxe Color" (1983). It was new when I got it, now it's literally falling apart!

need [necessity, compulsion, want]
1. necessity; compulsion; obligation; as, there is no need to worry now,
2. lack of something useful, required; a call or demand for the presence, posssession, etc. of something; as I feel the need of a long rest,
3. something useful, required, or desired that is lacking; want, requirement; as, what are his daily needs?
4.
(a) a condition in which there is a deficiency of something; a time or situation of difficulty; a condition requiring relief or supply; as, a friend in need;
(b) a condition of poverty; state of extreme want.

So your understanding of need is nr. 4(b)ii in Webster's dictionary?

Animals do not fulfill their needs in this very narrow sense, as can easily be seen from the fact that the average offspring of females in a stable population is always way over the 2.1 needed to maintain population levels.

Any and all animal species produce offsprings in the region of 10 (elephants) to 100 million (cod) so it's obvious that the basic needs of the vast majority of the individuals in any animal species are not being met!
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #218 on: September 03, 2019, 10:21:04 AM »
I had thought that the monogamy part of my postulate would draw a lot more attention. Interesting.

Well, that's what happens when you state something obvious that all agree to.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #219 on: September 03, 2019, 12:33:46 PM »
Nice photo ;)

I'm surprised. You mean you agree with "[civilisation humans] go against their (physiological) nature by living monogamous, by bonding for a long time (marriage) whilst not having monogamous 'programming' from nature."? When I posted that idea in a Guardian comment, others were very opposed to that idea truth.
I this is accepted, then I can start breaking down one of the most important pillars of civilisation and try to show the extreme destructive consequences that has had. Almosty always my communication efforts are lost even before I can get to the substance of the idea, because of uncertainty and ambiguity of language. And the civilisation brains' bubble's.

Quote
Nanning, you postulate something and then you refuse to explain it or to specify the terms. It's just as meaningless in the thread title.
OK, you're right that I should have explained or link to specification and not dismiss it. Sorry. I'll find it and post it in about 5 hours when I get back from sitting and thinking in nature.
(I saw you immediately reacting and I imagined another deluge of posts coming that would drown my point)

Quote
And when should I not post if not when I see people talking nonsense?
binntho, that is not kind language. Immediately dismissive. I know I have used the word once for "survival of the fittest" recently. I shouldn't have and regret it.
I think it is not a respectful attitude to a fellow forummember who is researching new ideas outside academia. My understanding is in flux whereas yours seems walled-up and attacking. It's the common way of how most people react to my 'outlandish' ideas. I have accepted that people who are not completely open and curious will never understand  :(. This is not in any way meant to insult or provoke.

The list of different meanings and contexts of "need" (verb and noun) proves how terrible ambiguous modern human language is. And why I run in to problems when trying to communicate subtle things in reality.
I'm not a native English speaker and have had only low education in it. Most of my knowledge is autodidact. I'm certain other people are able to find more precise wordings.
Please help if you 'get the idea'. Converge! :)

You are very definite in your wordings of how you think it is. I don't need lecturing or a father  ;). I don't immediately think "oh binntho writes that so it must be true". Do you accept that?
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #220 on: September 03, 2019, 02:28:58 PM »
Nice photo ;)

Thanks! Sorry about the grumpiness earlier, I thought I felt som bad vibes from what I felt was a rather dismissive post.

As re. monogamy - I think humans have conflicting natures here, but at the same time, it is important to bear in mind that civilisation is to a large extent about controlling the more non-conformist aspects of human nature.

But different aspects at different times, as the Mayans were to learn to their detriment, when reports of their open acceptance of homosexuality proved to be the excuse needed by the Spaniards (with the support of the Pope) to deny that they had a civilisation at all, and thus to steamroller them!
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #221 on: September 03, 2019, 06:34:19 PM »
Thanks binntho :).

Here is a link I promised to give for the meaning of 'unnatural':
Quote
"In these terms "unnatural" is having morality that would otherwise (without technology) be fatal (in the long term)."
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2688.msg200350.html#msg200350

and:
Quote
"Take/kill more than you need"
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2688.msg199477.html#msg199477

edit: removed wood pigeon analogy
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 06:53:12 AM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #222 on: September 04, 2019, 08:30:24 AM »
Nanning, in your link above I read the following:

I define morality is a general code of conduct between lifeforms and within a species, social or not.

This is an extremely wide definition of morality.

So let me state the following: Morality only exists as a human construct. "Code of conduct" is purely a human construct. Neither exists outside the mental world we share, what Yoval Harari calls "shared imaginations" (have you read his "Sapiens"? I think you'd like it).

Both "morality" and "code of conduct" are abstract ideas and I'm willing to state categorically that only humans are able of abstract thought on this planet.

Saying that "morality" is an abstract idea and a human construct does not negate the fact that many animals  show behavior that we would call moral behavior (and display emotions such as envy and anger). But that does not mean that animals are "moral" in a human sense. It simply means that much of what we would normally call moral behavior has biological underpinnings.

Concepts like "morality" and "code of conduct" imply that there is a choice between right and wrong or good and bad. But again, these are value judgments and as such they only belong to abstract thought and cannot be applied to other than us humans.

As a further clarification, I'd like to state that only individuals can have agency - groups cannot. So a species, or an ecosystem cannot have agency. It is therefore impossible to talk about moral species, or say that there can exist a code of conduct between species, since a species cannot have agency.

(Caveat: Legalists will point out that in common law, all legal entities can have agency, and that, as well as individuals (natural persons) groups  such as companies, societies and governments are legal entities (legal persons). But this is a legal construct that has the primary goal of removing culpability from the members of the group, not to redefine the meaning of the word agency which in the normal sociological sense always applies only to individuals).

Individual animals do have agency, but they do not have any concept of common good, code of conduct, right and wrong. But they are quite possibly able to understand the difference between "good" and "bad" based on their biological and societal backgrounds, essentially in the same sense that they can tell the difference between being hungry and not hungry, or in pain and not in pain. There is no abstract conceptualisation and therefore no possibility of extending this to anything other than interaction between individuals. It cannot be extended to include interactions between groups of individuals, let alone species.

To avoid confusion, I am using the word "agency" in the following sense:

Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_(philosophy)
... "agency" refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices, based on their will, whereas "structure" refers to those factors (such as social class, but also religion, gender, ethnicity, subculture, etc.) that seem to limit or influence the opportunities that individuals have.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

Aporia_filia

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #223 on: September 04, 2019, 10:53:04 AM »
Haven't read the whole thread. It's clear Binntho, that you know what you're talking about and that you have thought a lot about these subjects. As it's obvious, here is where language usually makes people loose track of the main ideas. I'll try to make simple propositions.
IMHO all living creatures enjoy (?) some kind of consciousness.
"Consciousness seems mysterious. By this we mean that while life in general can be explained by physics, chemistry and biology, it seems that whenever one tries to explain the relationship between the brain and the subjective events that are experienced as feelings—what philosophers often refer to as “qualia”—something appears to be “left out” of the explanation. This apparent divide between the brain and subjective experience is what philosopher Joseph Levine famously called this the “explanatory gap,” and how to bridge that gap is what philosopher David Chalmers called the term “hard problem of consciousness.”
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/unlocking-the-mystery-of-consciousness/
IMHO the main difference between non-human brain and ours is that non-humans do not question their environment, they just try to adapt to it. We, otherwise, try to adapt the environment to our mental world.
I find extremely difficult to imagine that brains that are built like ours, with the same physiology, the same ontology, the same neurotransmitters, the same senses... do not work in the same manner. Obviously every species with it's own personality.
It's a cultural disgrace of our hubris thinking that we are different because we are better.

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #224 on: September 04, 2019, 12:23:07 PM »
It's a cultural disgrace of our hubris thinking that we are different because we are better.

Wasn't that supposed to be the other way around?

As for the rest, I would tend to agree with you that most animals are conscious to some degree. This does not mean that they are capable of abstract thought.

I remember reading a very interesting account of a girl that was raised by wolves in India - a bit like Mowgli. This was a not uncommon phenomena, unwanted pregnancies were exposed and occasionally a wolf, with their strong nurturing instinct, would rescue exposed children and raise them with their own puppies.

If these rescued children survived their first few years, the villagers would start noticing them and perhaps try to "rescue" them, and there are quite a few documented cases of such children being brought to religious institutions (monasteries etc.)

Anyway, in the case of this particular girl, she was around 8 or 10 when she was "rescued" and managed to learn quite a few words and generally to behave "civilised" and eventually, after some years of receiving instruction and care from the nuns, she had an epiphany.

She was later able to explain this to others: It was as if her brain exploded, and her whole world was turned upside down. She had had her first small experience of abstract thought when she suddenly realised that a word could signify an object that was not visible! And very quickly after this she realised that words could signify things that did not exist, but could exist, or had existed etc. etc.

As you say, our brains are not fundamentally different from those of many other animals, except for the obviously very much larger complexity (and it is a very very much larger complexity than in other animals). Abstract thought seems to be an emergent behaviour, and may have exploded into the arena some 70 or 80.000 years ago in what Yoval Harari calls "the cognitive revolution".

Others question this, and it can be said to be counterintuitive to think that we first had the massive expansion in brain complexity and only later somehow gained abstract thought.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

philopek

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #225 on: September 04, 2019, 02:03:59 PM »

It's a cultural disgrace of our hubris thinking that we are different because we are better.

Or that we are better because we are different [partly kidding]

I assume that many animals that existed before us will outlive our species and that, depending on  what we believe and/or what in fact is the main goal of life in general, (survival and procreation?) we are most probably not better, not even in the top percentage perhaps.

I'm not claiming any truth in it, just throwing this in for consideration.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #226 on: September 04, 2019, 06:37:49 PM »
Thank you very much binntho, Aporia_filia and philopek for engaging. Since this discussion is about my research and because more posts might be added, I want to say here that I'm going to read and, where appropriate, respond to your posts tomorrow. I've had a wonderful day (most of my days are wonderful) and will soon go to bed. Apologies for my, what you might think, lazyness and lack of motivation.
Don't be fooled, I'm really into this subject.
(In the time I wrote this 'quick' note, I could have read your posts)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
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gandul

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #227 on: September 04, 2019, 11:50:08 PM »
You spend hours in front of a computer or device, very much close to the top technology of what civilization has produced, what this unnatural bunch of malign humans most of them monogamous (abhorrent inclination) have designed, manufactured using tons of energy and probably exploited workers by even more malign homo sapiens, and.... you had a wonderful day as most?

You a charlatan me thinks, nanning.

Oh and let’s not forget, we communicate using human tongues, very limited and negative vehicle full of sexisms and other isms. We still have to dominate a natural language such of the Mockingbird’s. But via Internet, of course.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 11:57:38 PM by gandul »
No me lo trago

ShortBrutishNasty

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #228 on: September 05, 2019, 03:29:49 AM »
... I've had a wonderful day (most of my days are wonderful) and will soon go to bed....

I like this guy.  Is there a seminar I can sign up for?
P.S. And feeding trolls??  I'm certainly not the resident bot sabotaging/derailing ASIF on a daily basis with his/its extremely low-effort and largely off-topic post-bombing.  Why do people keep feeding that??

Bruce Steele

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #229 on: September 05, 2019, 03:43:21 AM »
I might have some issues with gandul's provocation but I think I'll just take a nap and write it off.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #230 on: September 05, 2019, 07:13:56 AM »
Hi binntho, sorry for the delay.

First I think your ideas of morality are conflicting. From these two quotes:
Morality only exists as a human construct.
and
Quote
It simply means that much of what we would normally call moral behavior has biological underpinnings.


Quote
Concepts like "morality" and "code of conduct" imply that there is a choice between right and wrong or good and bad. But again, these are value judgments and as such they only belong to abstract thought and cannot be applied to other than us humans.
Exactly.
We have the 'luxury'(insanity) to not be constrained by living nature/ecosystem limits because we have technology.
An utopia is a high level organisation of humans (culture etc) you could call optimal because it respects all other life and ecosystems, optimal organisation is to abide by nature's constraints.
Because we have technology to dismiss the constraints, we have to restrain ourselves. That is high morality. It takes the whole life system into account, long term.
Behaviour that would fall under high morality in that regard can be called 'good' behaviour. And 'bad' means low morality behaviour and sliding to dystopia.
High morality takes effort and discipline but we have nurture and humans brains are neuroplastic, so this high morality can be engrained/programmed in the brains of the human group via nurture and culture.

When the fundamentals of the culture (civilisation) are in conflict with nature and high morality, it is impossible to ever get to a utopia, to an optimal human organisation. It means low morality is build-in. In the culture that programmes all young children.

A dystopia with advanced technology, which civilisation is, is always destructive and unsustainable. Without high morality there's nothing restraining humans. They even think they can techno-fix the destruction they have caused by further controlling living nature and further lowering morality. Supremacy -> insanity -> total destruction.

Quote
As a further clarification, I'd like to state that only individuals can have agency - groups cannot. So a species, or an ecosystem cannot have agency. It is therefore impossible to talk about moral species, or say that there can exist a code of conduct between species, since a species cannot have agency.
This code of conduct is not a choice as it is for us humans with advanced technology. We have choice because we are not constrained by living nature. Other species either live in the optimal zone or they perish. That is called natural selection and it means all life stays in optimal zones of behaviour. Living nature/ecosystems constraints and the natural selection system together perform the 'agency' you mean.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
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binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #231 on: September 05, 2019, 07:43:35 AM »
The fact that we have technology is a result of evolution. It is a result of natural selection. And you are right, by evolving into a technological species, we have vastly expanded our "optimal zone". I utterly fail to see anything wrong with that, either morally or otherwise.

Moral behaviour (as well as culpability) only applies to individuals because only individuals have "agency" as I have used that word. Perhaps a further explanation of that term is needed: Agency implies behaviour that is non-predictable. It can be random (truly or otherwise) or you can believe in free will and deem it to have supernatural causes, but agency always implies non-predictable behaviour. The agent is the instigator of his/her own behaviour and is culpable for it, and the underlying assumption is that there is a single "control center" (brain) that is the ultimate cause of any behaviour.

Groups tend to have predictable "behaviours", particularly when it comes to biology, but in reality also in most cases of social behaviour. Underlying natural laws dictate the outcomes, one of the most influential ones being the law of evolution.

What sets us apart from other species is first, that we have evolved as a technological species (and cannot survive without technology), and secondly, that we have abstract thought. The first is totally free of all morality. It simply is. There is nothing wrong (just as there is nothing right) about the various directions evolution takes.

The second is the faculty by which we can make value claims but they are only for our own sake. So if we as a species were to decide to live "in harmony with nature" or whatever else you might call it, nobody other than our selves would be aware of this or would be able to judge it good or bad.

Therefore, your utopian goal of mankind living in harmony with other species is only and purely to the benefit of us humans. Not to the benefit of other species, because they have no concept of "benefit" and no concept of the status of their species that would enable them to feel grateful or otherwise.

Nature only has worth in our eyes. Without us, nature just is.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #232 on: September 05, 2019, 08:02:57 AM »

It's a cultural disgrace of our hubris thinking that we are different because we are better.

Or that we are better because we are different [partly kidding]
<snip>

"we are better": What does it mean?
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #233 on: September 05, 2019, 08:25:49 AM »
Re: " because they [other species] have no concept of "benefit" and no concept of the status of their species that would enable them to feel grateful or otherwise."

Are we sure of that ?

sidd

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #234 on: September 05, 2019, 08:35:46 AM »
Re: " because they [other species] have no concept of "benefit" and no concept of the status of their species that would enable them to feel grateful or otherwise."

Are we sure of that ?

sidd

Well I guess we´ll never be 100% sure, but I for one am quite prepared to state that no other animal is capable of abstract thought. Having a concept of "benefit" or a concept of the status of their species would require abstract thought.

EDIT: Which is differnet from having some sort of feeling of benefit - no abstract thought needed there.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
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nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #235 on: September 05, 2019, 10:14:19 AM »
binntho, I have written some explanations and eloborations as a reaction to your post. What do you think of those? Do you understand what I mean? Do you have a response to it?
Otherwise I don't see us/this dicussion converging to an understanding of my morality theory.

Some thoughts:
Quote
"we have vastly expanded our "optimal zone".

I think you don't understand what I mean by 'optimal human organisation' if that's what you are referring to with "optimal zone".
Perhaps you mean something else. Can you explain what you mean by "optimal zone"?

The requirements for 'optimal' are to live within ecosystems/living nature constraints. If you eliminate constraints via technology, you can't have 'optimal' anymore because the action/behaviour is outside living nature.


Quote
The second is the faculty by which we can make value claims but they are only for our own sake. So if we as a species were to decide to live "in harmony with nature" or whatever else you might call it, nobody other than our selves would be aware of this or would be able to judge it good or bad.

I don't understand what you mean by "value claims".
My morality theory is not for e.g. birds to understand, but only for humans to understand. To understand what we as humans have done in our short existence as a species. To look at it from the alien perspective, as Chomski calls it. What technology means, and how our (civilisation) behaviour is very bad. Why we (civilisation) are so utterly violent and destructive. How we have come to this apocalyptic AGW mass extinction situation. What it means.
My morality theory together with the breaking down of the abritrary pillars of civilisation culture into specific decisions made long ago. It is consistent and explains the whole thing.
Result: from the human perspective, we made a wrong turn by forcefully breaking the constraints of living nature.
From the living nature 'perspective', humans went wrong when they got the ability to create fire.

Quote
Therefore, your utopian goal of mankind living in harmony with other species is only and purely to the benefit of us humans. Not to the benefit of other species

The plants benefit from the animals and the fungi etc. The animals benefit from the plants and fungi etc. The fungi benefit from the plants and the animals etc.
This is what living nature is. Ecosystems and extremely complex interdependancy which means all of living nature benefits from all of living nature.

Quote
Nature only has worth in our eyes.
Yes, because the concept of 'worth' does not exist in living nature.


I think humans are not the only animals with abstract tought. And the complexity of our brain superior? I observe how parrots get high intelligence and creativity from that little bitty brainsize. Now, which one's more complex and efficient? I'd say the parrots. They have had many more millions of years of evolution in this.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

Neven

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #236 on: September 05, 2019, 10:19:18 AM »
Reading the discussion here (not all of it, no time), I think it all boils down to this question: Is morality a part of evolution?

I think it is. No morality and this species will go extinct.

Quote
From the living nature 'perspective', humans went wrong when they got the ability to create fire.

That's exactly right, which in turn led to agriculture. That is what the 'Fall of Man' is all about. I believe that the people who wrote the (first parts of the) Bible, had a deeper knowledge of fundamental human flaws and foresaw to what it would lead (Revelations).
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #237 on: September 05, 2019, 10:57:48 AM »
binntho, I have written some explanations and eloborations as a reaction to your post. What do you think of those? Do you understand what I mean? Do you have a response to it?
Otherwise I don't see us/this dicussion converging to an understanding of my morality theory.

You may be quite right, I do no respond to much of what you have written but try to focus on the underlying assumptions which I think have to be sorted out first.

Quote
Some thoughts:
Quote
"we have vastly expanded our "optimal zone".

I think you don't understand what I mean by 'optimal human organisation' if that's what you are referring to with "optimal zone".
Perhaps you mean something else. Can you explain what you mean by "optimal zone"?


I took it from your post here:

Other species either live in the optimal zone or they perish. That is called natural selection and it means all life stays in optimal zones of behaviour.

Quote
Quote
The second is the faculty by which we can make value claims but they are only for our own sake. So if we as a species were to decide to live "in harmony with nature" or whatever else you might call it, nobody other than our selves would be aware of this or would be able to judge it good or bad.

I don't understand what you mean by "value claims".


A value claim is essentially the same as  a value statement. Value is a construct, so all statements (or claims) that imply value (i.e. judging based some percieved quality) are constructs.

Quote
My morality theory is not for e.g. birds to understand, but only for humans to understand. To understand what we as humans have done in our short existence as a species. To look at it from the alien perspective, as Chomski calls it. What technology means, and how our (civilisation) behaviour is very bad. Why we (civilisation) are so utterly violent and destructive. How we have come to this apocalyptic AGW mass extinction situation. What it means.

Ok, we can agree here. My point is that we never made a choice as to how we got here, therefore there can be no value judgment of the path we took here. But we as humans can make individual choices (and try to get others to agree) as to where we individually want to go from here, and these choices are subject to value claims ("good" or "bad" etc.)

Quote
My morality theory together with the breaking down of the abritrary pillars of civilisation culture into specific decisions made long ago. It is consistent and explains the whole thing.
Result: from the human perspective, we made a wrong turn by forcefully breaking the constraints of living nature.
From the living nature 'perspective', humans went wrong when they got the ability to create fire.

No, we didn't make any wrong turns. We took the only path available to us, there was never any choice, and as apologists everywhere always say: If we hadn't taken that path, some other species would have done sooner or later.

We as a species evolve with techology. This is a natural consequence of the forces of evolution, which always moves towards higher energy consumption whenever possible. If our evolution was wrong, then the evolution of all life was wrong.

Living nature obviously hasn't got a perspective.

Quote
Quote
Therefore, your utopian goal of mankind living in harmony with other species is only and purely to the benefit of us humans. Not to the benefit of other species

The plants benefit from the animals and the fungi etc. The animals benefit from the plants and fungi etc. The fungi benefit from the plants and the animals etc.
This is what living nature is. Ecosystems and extremely complex interdependancy which means all of living nature benefits from all of living nature.

Perhaps a better word than could have been used. If we decide to protect a species, that species benefits from our protection. But neither the individuals nor the species as a whole is able to appreciate this, so on a more abstract level, we protect species to the benefit of ourselves.

Quote
Quote
Nature only has worth in our eyes.
Yes, because the concept of 'worth' does not exist in living nature.

We agree here.

Quote
I think humans are not the only animals with abstract tought. And the complexity of our brain superior? I observe how parrots get high intelligence and creativity from that little bitty brainsize. Now, which one's more complex and efficient? I'd say the parrots. They have had many more millions of years of evolution in this.

Our brains are vastly superior to any animal brains when it comes to complexity, and no other species is capable of abstract thought. Some primates in captivity have come tantalizingly close, e.g. seeming to be able to make false statements and to joke. This is however disputed and may just be overreacting humans reading too much into animal behaviour. Not the first time that happens.

Finding actual numbers is a bit difficult, but something called the Encephalization Quotitient which is based on species specific brain size vs. body size calculations puts us at 7.8 and our nearest relative on 2.5 (chimpanzee).

Our prefrontal cortex is vastly bigger than in all other animals, and we are the only animal that exhibits the extensive folding that is so emblemic of our brains. This folding has the purpose of allowing us to have a lot more neurons and neural connections, again indicating that our brain is significantly more complex than other animals.

Other animals, including some bird species, have been shown to posess the concept of agency, e.g. when crows take care that other crows are not looking when they hide food. This does not require abstract thought.

Efficiency is a totally different kettle of fish. As the "survival of the fittest" implies, all animals presumably have the brain that is most efficient for their needs.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #238 on: September 05, 2019, 10:59:28 AM »
Reading the discussion here (not all of it, no time), I think it all boils down to this question: Is morality a part of evolution?

I think it is. No morality and this species will go extinct.

Absolutely, morality (and in fact all other human and non-human traits) are a result of evolution.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #239 on: September 05, 2019, 11:01:25 AM »
Abstract thought is perhaps a difficult concept to understand, being abstract and all ...

Another term that could be used is "symbolic thought" which does not per se require a language, but requires the use of a shared symbolism - which is what language is anyway.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #240 on: September 05, 2019, 11:29:42 AM »
Binntho, it looks as if you don't have or had much contact with animals. We known of some primates, not humans, who have learn dozens of words, their meaning and how to use them, and were even able to make simple sentences. Bees can make simple arithmetic operations. Cetaceans, cephalopods, corvidae, their thoughts and behavior is very complex. Although not as very, very complex as ours, probably. The complexity of the outcome of our brains is totally chaotic.

"Abstract" thoughts are not exclusive of humans. (prove me wrong ;-)

Life gathers in complex systems that naturally evolve to the transition phase at the edge of chaos. The output of our brains has grown exponentially following a chaotic path, but that doesn't give it a better perspective in terms of survival. More the opposite because this is what happens just before a change of states (a change into a different species).

Animals don't have to use the mental meaning of benefit because ALL living creatures grow looking for "Well-being". Read Antonio Damasio's "Looking for Spinoza"

And more important: I had a lovely naughty donky who was, at least, as intelligent as most politicians, and was much, much funnier!  :D

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #241 on: September 05, 2019, 11:53:32 AM »
Ok, we can agree here.
:)
Quote
My point is that we never made a choice as to how we got here, therefore there can be no value judgment of the path we took here

My point is that we did make choices. Our whole civilisation culture is based on those earlier choices.
For example, at some point in civilisation history, likely not long after we had agriculture -> accumulation -> rich people -> powerful people, old powerful men thought that their offspring was of a better class and needed to live separately with 'his' women. This beginning isolation/insanity of rich&powerful people meant that their women and offspring were special. Here was the decision made that women and their children 'belonged' to the men's 'empire'. What almost always happens is that the non-powerful populace copies this behaviour or maybe it was made mandatory as a rule. The rich people's supremity-insanity made them choose monogamy or polygamy if one could afford it. these are individual choices by powerful people. It cleared the path for marriage and family. One of the most destructive choices of civilisation culture. After that it is a build-in tradition and completely normal. If it's normal people don't see it anymore.
Those choices all went to become tradition and piece by piece built up the civilisation culture we know today.
Another bad destructive choice from that period is ownership of land and living nature.
You could say that 'we' made a choice then by accepting social hierarchy and rich and powerful people.
The the rich and powerful started conquering, the insanity deepened. At some point some guy thought he was a Star God and ordered tens of thousands of people to build a burial momument in the form of a pyramid. Today we think 'oh what an interesting and beautiful culture' but in reality these people were very much insane.


Quote
We took the only path available to us, there was never any choice,
You mean when we should have emigrated south when it got cold, after we left Africa to the north, we chose not to and there was no other path available? Did you think this through? It reads as a creative absolvement of the actions and choices of our ancestors and therefore our actions today.

Quote
Finding actual numbers is a bit difficult, but something called the Encephalization Quotitient which is based on species specific brain size vs. body size calculations puts us at 7.8 and our nearest relative on 2.5 (chimpanzee)."
Interesting then that this small brainsized parrot is capable of outsmarting a dog.
To me it obviously is not about brainsize or E.Q.

Quote
Other animals, including some bird species, have been shown to posess the concept of agency, e.g. when crows take care that other crows are not looking when they hide food. This does not require abstract thought.
For a bird, to find/recognize the right tool (stick) to get to the food (say a hole in a tree) requires abstract thought. I have also read very interesting experiments with ravens in this context.

Quote
Efficiency is a totally different kettle of fish. As the "survival of the fittest" implies, all animals presumably have the brain that is most efficient for their needs.
You know already how I think about the first part :o ;D
I agree that animals have a body (incl. brain) that has evolved for their needs, as is true for all life.

edit: changed last sentences for clarity
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 07:28:54 PM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #242 on: September 05, 2019, 12:37:54 PM »
Binntho, it looks as if you don't have or had much contact with animals. We known of some primates, not humans, who have learn dozens of words, their meaning and how to use them, and were even able to make simple sentences. Bees can make simple arithmetic operations. Cetaceans, cephalopods, corvidae, their thoughts and behavior is very complex. Although not as very, very complex as ours, probably. The complexity of the outcome of our brains is totally chaotic.

I've had quite a lot of contact with animals and had heated arguements with psychologists who claim that animals are unable to feel certain human emotions such as envy and anger.

The use of words does not equate abstract thought. Animal behaviour is of course very complex, but they have nothing that even get's close to the complexities of our thought processes.

Quote
"Abstract" thoughts are not exclusive of humans. (prove me wrong ;-)

And the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster created us all. Try to disprove that one!



Quote

Life gathers in complex systems that naturally evolve to the transition phase at the edge of chaos.


You lost me there! What do you mean by "evolving to the transition phase at the edge of chaos"?

Quote
The output of our brains has grown exponentially following a chaotic path, but that doesn't give it a better perspective in terms of survival. More the opposite because this is what happens just before a change of states (a change into a different species).

All evolution is towards a better "perspective in terms of survival". Seeing as how we have totally conquered this planet and are rapidly subduing or eradicating all competitors, there is no doubt at all that the human brain gives a very significant boost to our survival. Until such point as we selfdestruct, of course.

Quote
And more important: I had a lovely naughty donky who was, at least, as intelligent as most politicians, and was much, much funnier!  :D

I'll believe that!
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #243 on: September 05, 2019, 12:43:16 PM »
For example, at some point in civilisation history, likely not long after we had agriculture -> accumulation -> rich people -> powerful people, old powerful men thought that their offspring was of a better class and needed to live separately with 'his' women. This beginning isolation/insanity of rich&powerful people meant that their women and offspring were special. Here was the decision made that women and their children 'belonged' to the men's 'empire'.

This is typical (human) group behaviour in all agricultura societies which really just proves the point: Individuals make choices, group behaviour is controlled by underlying forces that we are unable to control.

Therefore this path of development is not something that was chosen by any individual, nor was it chosen by the group (since the group can't choose). This becomes even clearer when you consider that no individual ever took a conscious decision to start this process, there was nobody who saw what the outcome would be and there was no planning involved. It just happened.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #244 on: September 05, 2019, 12:47:13 PM »

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We took the only path available to us, there was never any choice,

You mean when we should have emigrated south when it got cold, after we left Africa to the north, we chose not to and there was no other path available? Did you think this through? It reads as a creative absolvement of the actions and choices of our ancestors and therefore our actions today.


How on earth do you read this out of what I said? I mean very simply that the evolution of the human animal, the evolution of human technology and the evolution of human society has followed a path that was the only path available.

The actions and choices of our foremothers have nothing to do with it! Individuals never ever make choices as to which way they want to evolve biologically, technologically or socially. These things are governed by forces that are totally invisible to us. So how can individual choices make any difference what so ever?
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #245 on: September 05, 2019, 12:48:58 PM »
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Finding actual numbers is a bit difficult, but something called the Encephalization Quotitient which is based on species specific brain size vs. body size calculations puts us at 7.8 and our nearest relative on 2.5 (chimpanzee)."

Interesting then that this small brainsized parrot is capable of outsmarting a dog.
To me it obviously is not about brainsize or E.Q.


Well if you had bothered to find out what EQ actually is you would have seen that a bird can easily have a bigger EQ than a dog. And parrots being in the upper range of intelligence amongst birds, it comes as no surprise that the poor guileless dogs become easy prey!
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #246 on: September 05, 2019, 12:49:27 PM »
<snip>
And more important: I had a lovely naughty donky who was, at least, as intelligent as most politicians, and was much, much funnier!  :D

Great photo Aporia :) The gloves you're wearing must be special love-gloves :-*?
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MyACIsDying

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #247 on: September 05, 2019, 01:03:23 PM »
Interesting topic as always on this forum. This is my working theory on the development of modern humans and why we're 'special' compared to the rest of nature, including morality:

With the development of agriculture and domestication and resulting surplus production, class society arose through the division of labour. In addition, the newly found granaries required administrators/guards, counting goods in/out, bored out of their mind most of the time they gazed at the stars. So they started tracking weather and the stars. With their gained insights they became the first prophets. It helped that they controlled how/who got food. Temples evolved from granaries. (~10.000 BC)

These prophet guards were sticklers for rules. Rules about when to sow, harvest, trade and following suit, how people are supposed to behave before they get their share of food.
Other than tracking goods, they started writing rule books. Much different from pre-developed societal behavioral control, where group sizes rarely exceeded 150 people and behaviour could be controlled through group pressure.

Written rules are more abstract, easier to doubt and disagree with, through alternative interpretation and separating group think, likely lacking perspective of the writer or the time and mood it was written in.
With this doubt and openness to interpretation, one became conscious of the concept of choice towards their own behaviour and the virtual concept of individual morality evolved.
It is at this point that Julian James claims consciousness arose (~1200-3000BC). In the few books we have from before, a person experiences influences from the body rather knowing what to do being mindful considerations. He points at schizophrenia as an emerging factor in creating the doubt required for consciousness, however I prefer Kierkegaards most insightful concept: Anxiety as the dizziness of freedom . Afraid of making the wrong choice. A translation of our fight or flight instincts in the virtual domain.

With the rise of anxiety by becoming unsure if one is making the right choice (the more rules are written, the more likely it is one tells you you're doing it wrong), people must have been desperate for guides to life and methods to make sure one does not make the wrong choice. Enter religion, enter the Fall. Adam and Eve as scapegoats for the imperfections of the mind. Consider there was no paradise and the snake never existed. The snake is merely an analogy for ones doubt and resulting anxiety. Then the Fall becomes a story of removing personal responsibility for bad choices in order to relieve the anxiety of true freedom.

The idea that we make bad decisions because of our ancestors 'error' has not been ideal to the concept of morality (I grew up as a Roman Catholic..), but it has been critical to establishing ever larger hierarchies.

I'll end this rant with how I see morality: Together we are stronger, so support each other and maintain the world that lets us live here to maximize our potential contribution in the eternal battle against entropy. It's a challenge, because the concept of relieving anxiety by blaming others has been well promoted through religion and fascist ideologies. True freedom includes anxiety until one fully comes to accept their imperfections.

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #248 on: September 05, 2019, 01:04:08 PM »
When it comes to research into animal behaviour, one of the biggest problems is our propensity to anthropomorphise their behaviour. Humans have a very strong anthropmorphic instinct and tend to assign agency to dead objects or natural forces, so when it comes to animals, we do it on a much bigger scale.

Dogs are a very good example, they have evolved to ingratiate themselves to us, and much of their behaviour is simply biologically controlled "this is what humans like" reactions. A dogs smile is a good example, they have learned that showing agression (i.e. baring the teath) while also wagging the tail is something that can fool humans into giving them food.

Birds teasing dogs is another good example. In the wild, birds and canines compete for svanging rights to killed animals (whoever did the killing), and it quickly becomes instinctive for birds to try and fool canines into jumping this way and that to get them away from the feast.

Crows can be seen doing this all the time, if they see a dog then they start teasing.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6

binntho

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #249 on: September 05, 2019, 01:13:37 PM »
MyACIsDying, have you actually read Julian Jaynes? I haven't but if you get your concept of prehistory from him then he is not a very good historian.

And his claim that consciousness arose in the bronze age is not really accepted nowadays, with some claiming that he confused the conceptualisation of consciousness (which may well have appeared alongside writing) with consciousness itself.

As for the whole prehistory thing, I've been known to praise Ian Morris's "Why the West Rules for Now" but I'm actually re-reading it now, and it is really very annoyingly written (a folksy style, probably intended to be palatable to the average American), and full of minor errors.

But as a general overview he is quite good, and his theory of societal complexity makes the book worth reading.

Anybody who wants to talk about prehistory and the evolution of human society has to read "Guns Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond (a bit old, a bit aged, but well written and argued) and "Sapiens" by Yuval Harari (a recent, well written and well argued and very thought provoking book). Both books are written for the general public and both should be on every bookshelf.
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true
St. Augustine, Confessions V, 6