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Author Topic:   Rights of Nature?
onifre
Member (Idle past 901 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 136 of 147 (703463)
07-22-2013 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Tempe 12ft Chicken
07-22-2013 10:20 AM


Re: Agreement
It is blantantly obvious to anyone who pays attention that tool use is something that many animals use and is not a uniquely human trait.

Sure, but can it really be said that they make tools? Most examples would simply be using something as a tool, but not crafting something to use as a tool.

Can you give an example of animals making or crafting a tool?

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Tempe 12ft Chicken, posted 07-22-2013 10:20 AM Tempe 12ft Chicken has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 4:48 PM onifre has responded
 Message 145 by Tempe 12ft Chicken, posted 07-22-2013 11:34 PM onifre has not yet responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 137 of 147 (703464)
07-22-2013 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by onifre
07-22-2013 4:33 PM


Re: Agreement
Sure, but can it really be said that they make tools? Most examples would simply be using something as a tool, but not crafting something to use as a tool.

Can you give an example of animals making or crafting a tool?

The distinction you're drawing may be rather arbitrary. Note that early humans or human-ancestors began using "tools" that were mainly just conveniently shaped rocks. The Egyptians, in fact, used simple sand and rocks of a particularly hard mineral whose name immediately escapes me to cut stone blocks for their monuments.

I would certainly count that as "tool use," yet I wouldn't say that the tools were "made" in the human artifice sense.

Remember that human tool creation is in large part due to two factors:

1) We have dextrous hands, even as compared to our evolutionary cousins. They may have opposable thumbs as we do, but they lack manual dexterity. This is a limiting factor in the complexity of tools that an organism can physically fashion, while the limiting factor on what can be used as a tool is still a function of intelligence and creativity. A raven that can recognize the behavior of automobiles at traffic lights and use that predictive ability to take advantage of the weight of a moving car to open nuts is creative and intelligent enough to use the stoplight and the car as tools, but lacks the physical appendages to fashion even simple tools itself.

2) The fashioning of tools often requires other tools as prerequisites. The root of that chain will almost certainly be found tools, tools that are not themselves fashioned but which are used in the fashioning of other tools. For example, a hard, natural stone may be used to sharpen a softer or more brittle stone into a knife blade or an axe head. A knife and an axe can be used to collect and shape wood and bone into other tools, and so on.

I'm having difficulty finding logically consistent reasoning that would make the fashioning of tools significantly distinct from their simple use.

After all...out of all the tools you've used in your life, how many of them have you, personally, made?


The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity. Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by onifre, posted 07-22-2013 4:33 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-22-2013 5:04 PM Rahvin has not yet responded
 Message 139 by onifre, posted 07-22-2013 5:38 PM Rahvin has responded
 Message 146 by dronestar, posted 07-23-2013 9:21 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 138 of 147 (703465)
07-22-2013 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by Rahvin
07-22-2013 4:48 PM


Re: Agreement
After all...out of all the tools you've used in your life, how many of them have you, personally, made?

You should see the awesome hand-vagina that he made.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 4:48 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 901 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 139 of 147 (703466)
07-22-2013 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by Rahvin
07-22-2013 4:48 PM


Re: Agreement
After all...out of all the tools you've used in your life, how many of them have you, personally, made?

A few actually.

Using a stick to poke an ant hill, or a rock to crack open a shell is an example of animals using tools.

I see no example of animals making tools.

We started using rocks, fine, we didn't make that. But then someone tied that rock to a stick to make an actual tool. Is there an example like this with other animals?

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 4:48 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 6:13 PM onifre has not yet responded
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-22-2013 6:13 PM onifre has not yet responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 140 of 147 (703467)
07-22-2013 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by onifre
07-22-2013 5:38 PM


Re: Agreement
A few actually.

Using a stick to poke an ant hill, or a rock to crack open a shell is an example of animals using tools.

I see no example of animals making tools.

We started using rocks, fine, we didn't make that. But then someone tied that rock to a stick to make an actual tool. Is there an example like this with other animals?

Again, I think you're drawing an arbitrary distinction here. You're atificially shrinking the class space such that it can only contain humans in a way that does not actually tie into intelligence or creativity, but is rather more limited by manual dexterity.

A dolphin could hypothetically be twice as intelligent as Einstein, but would still never ever be able to make tools in the way that humans do. It would still be limited to taking creative advantage of what lies at hand (or fin, if you prefer).

But still, even if you want an example from your arbitrarily harsh specifications, a beaver does make his dam. If that's not the fashioning of a tool, I don't know what is. As has also been stated by others, some hominids other than humans have been known to sharpen sticks for use as hunting tools. That, too, is the fashioning of a tool, not simply the finding of a convenient object. Some species of fire ant make roads in the forest, deliberately clearing a path and building walls along the sides. Bees and wasps and the like create complex hives - a structure with purpose-built chambers, which certainly must count as a tool.

I could go on.

What you seem to actually be looking for is tool improvement, an iterative process of tool refinement. A rock works quite well as a hammer, but it provides better leverage if you tie it to a stick. Sand and stone can cut rock, but a dull copper blade can cut rock more accurately (at the cost of needing frequent replacement).

You aren't merely looking for tool creation. You're looking for the creation of a tool hierarchy, where tools are used to create more complex tools in a recursive process.

But again - that seems to be limited not only by actual intelligence and creativity, but also by the presence of appropriate appendages of sufficient dexterity. A gorilla can smash things with a rock, but a gorilla lacks the manual dexterity to tie knots, so the gorilla will never tie that rock to a stick.

Instead what you see in nature is an iterative process of finding better tools, since the ability to make them is not available. The raven used to simply drop the nut from a high altitude onto a rock to break it; now, it waits for a car at a red light.

That process is largely the same - the organism notices a creative way to improve its abilities through the novel use of a tool. ?


The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity. Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by onifre, posted 07-22-2013 5:38 PM onifre has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-22-2013 6:20 PM Rahvin has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 141 of 147 (703468)
07-22-2013 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by onifre
07-22-2013 5:38 PM


Re: Agreement
Using a stick to poke an ant hill, or a rock to crack open a shell is an example of animals using tools.

I see no example of animals making tools.

I think I found you one:

quote:
Elephants have been observed digging holes to drink water and then ripping bark from a tree, chewing it into the shape of a ball, filling in the hole and covering it with sand to avoid evaporation. They would later go back to the spot for a drink.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by onifre, posted 07-22-2013 5:38 PM onifre has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 142 of 147 (703469)
07-22-2013 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 140 by Rahvin
07-22-2013 6:13 PM


Re: Agreement
But still, even if you want an example from your arbitrarily harsh specifications, a beaver does make his dam. If that's not the fashioning of a tool, I don't know what is.

I see a difference between an animal's instinct driving them to a behavior that happens to result in a tool being made, and sitting back and thinking about a problem and then designing a tool to fix it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 6:13 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 6:46 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 143 of 147 (703470)
07-22-2013 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by New Cat's Eye
07-22-2013 6:20 PM


Re: Agreement
I see a difference between an animal's instinct driving them to a behavior that happens to result in a tool being made, and sitting back and thinking about a problem and then designing a tool to fix it.

I do, too. That's why, while I see a beehive or a spiderweb as examples of tool manufacture, I don't consider those organisms to be particularly generally intelligent.

They're idiot savants. They have, essentially, hardcoded complex behaviors that are extremely refined and effective, and yet they are not adaptively intelligent. You couldn't show a bee how to make a new hive.

As an aside, I do find bees particularly interesting, because not only do they create complex purpose-built structures, they also communicate in abstract language through the so-called "honey dance." It's not a general language in the manner of recursively syntactical grammatical structure like English or other human languages, but it's still fascinating to see abstract communication in a species with brains the size of pinheads.

However, general abstract intelligence of the type needed to analyze a problem and creatively design a solution in an adaptive manner is not unique to humans. Another way of saying "designing a tool" would be "manipulating environmental factors for a planned outcome." I see the raven's usage of the stoplight and cars as a creative manipulation of the external environment for a planned outcome, definitely. The behavior certainly didn't evolve in the way that instinct-driven tool creation like hive-building or web-spinning did. It involves too many complex behaviors in too short a time frame (the bird must observe the traffic light and its relationship to cars; it must conceptualize which lights mean that traffic will stop and which mean that traffic will move; it must establish a sense of timing with which to predict when the lights will turn; it must understand where to place the nut so that the car drives over it). This requires multiple layers of abstraction and the ability to make limited predictions of the future - in other words, it requires planning.

What we're looking at, basically, is the difference between intelligence and general intelligence.

Google utilizes algorithms that are an example of intelligence; the search engine can rapidly pattern-match various words and phrases coupled with statistical analysis of search history from the general population and predict likely additions to the criteria you've already typed, and even have results pre-cached before you even finish typing.

Yet the Google algorithms cannot improve themselves. And they cannot creatively manipulate the environment.

A raven may not have human level intelligence, but it is generally intelligent - it can predict future outcomes and creatively manipulate its environment and adapt its own behaviors to achieve better outcomes.

Google is like a spider, spinning its web. It's very, very good at what it does, but it can't really do anything else.

A raven, like a human, can alter its own boundaries.

Other animals are generally intelligent also. There are simply more limiting factors in the specific criteria of "tool fabrication" than "intelligence."


The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity. Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-22-2013 6:20 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-22-2013 8:44 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 144 of 147 (703477)
07-22-2013 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by Rahvin
07-22-2013 6:46 PM


Re: Agreement
I do, too. That's why, while I see a beehive or a spiderweb as examples of tool manufacture, I don't consider those organisms to be particularly generally intelligent.

Okay; So I think Oni is using "making tools" to be talking more about your general intelligence than your "examples of tool manufacture". I don't think "intelligence" is the right word, though. More like: Cognition?

However, general abstract intelligence of the type needed to analyze a problem and creatively design a solution in an adaptive manner is not unique to humans

I don't think that point is under contention.

What we're looking at, basically, is the difference between intelligence and general intelligence.

So like?: that which is innate (instinct) vs. that which is analyzation (Cognition)?

I have more to address, but not the time. Simple (short) answers to my questions will help me more when I get back.

Other animals are generally intelligent also. There are simply more limiting factors in the specific criteria of "tool fabrication" than "intelligence."

Yes. This. But don't let simple descriptions lead you to simple conceptions. GTG.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 6:46 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Tempe 12ft Chicken
Member (Idle past 58 days)
Posts: 436
From: Tempe, Az.
Joined: 10-25-2012


Message 145 of 147 (703486)
07-22-2013 11:34 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by onifre
07-22-2013 4:33 PM


Re: Agreement
Oni writes:

Sure, but can it really be said that they make tools?

Yes, although I apologize for that video not specifying how the spears were made. I found an article that does explain that the process is more than just breaking off a stick. Rather, the chimpanzees break off the stick and then use their teeth to fashion one end into a point.

Chimps use "Spears" to Hunt Mammals

So, this displays not only the concept of the understanding how to use something, but it also shows that they modify the item to make it more efficient at the task required. If there is any better example of creating a tool, I cannot think of it.

I also agree with Rahvin that you are making a distinction that is unwarranted. The ability to make tools is separate from the intelligence and ability to find and use them. And as humans we have simply continued to build upon previous technology. I will always agree that we are the most advanced tool users this planet has seen. However, this does not mean that the chimpanzees won't learn ways to make their spears more advanced or that dolphins will not take the idea of the dirt net and the nets they see us use and find something in the ocean that could act as a net in open water. The ideas are there and they definitely show the intelligence necessary to make tools because the ideas show imagination...now, these animals just need to find ways to improve on the idea that works.

However, to your original question....Yes, I have.


The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity. - Richard Dawkins

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. - Issac Asimov

If you removed all the arteries, veins, & capillaries from a persons body, and tied them end-to-endthe person will die. - Neil Degrasse Tyson

What would Buddha do? Nothing! What does the Buddhist terrorist do? Goes into the middle of the street, takes the gas, *pfft*, Self-Barbecue. The Christian and the Muslim on either side are yelling, "What the Fuck are you doing?" The Buddhist says, "Making you deal with your shit. - Robin Williams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by onifre, posted 07-22-2013 4:33 PM onifre has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by ringo, posted 07-23-2013 12:06 PM Tempe 12ft Chicken has acknowledged this reply

  
dronestar
Member (Idle past 290 days)
Posts: 1379
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


(1)
Message 146 of 147 (703492)
07-23-2013 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by Rahvin
07-22-2013 4:48 PM


Re: Agreement
Rahvin writes:

The Egyptians, in fact, used simple sand and rocks of a particularly hard mineral whose name immediately escapes me to cut stone blocks for their monuments.

I believe dolomite.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Rahvin, posted 07-22-2013 4:48 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 15584
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 147 of 147 (703501)
07-23-2013 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by Tempe 12ft Chicken
07-22-2013 11:34 PM


Re: Agreement
Tempe 12ft Chicken writes:

... the chimpanzees break off the stick and then use their teeth to fashion one end into a point.


Not unlike flint knapping.

(I find it ironic that we can sit here in front of our silicon marvels and still be impressed by flint knapping.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 145 by Tempe 12ft Chicken, posted 07-22-2013 11:34 PM Tempe 12ft Chicken has acknowledged this reply

  
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