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Author Topic:   What bothers me about the evolution of Man
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5232
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 91 of 142 (643503)
12-07-2011 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2011 3:08 PM


Area 10
CS writes:

Its a difference of degree, not kind.

and yet your googled paper actually says the opposite

Area 10 in the human brain is larger relative to the rest of the brain than it is in the apes, and its supragranular layers have more space available for connections with other higher-order association areas. This suggests that the neural substrates supporting cognitive functions associated with this part of the cortex enlarged and became specialized during hominid evolution

Specialisation is a difference in 'kind' imho

and

Area 10 in the human brain appears to be specialized in size and organization, which suggests that functions associated with this part of the cortex have become particularly important during hominid evolution. Planning of future actions and the undertaking of initiatives are hallmarks of human behavior, and although present to some extent in other hominoids and possibly other primates, they became fully expressed in the Plio-Pleistocene hominids.

That study physically sectioned the brain of various apes and measured the thickness of a specific part of the prefrontal cortex (Area 10) and counted neurones in it. It's damned crude and shows how little we actually know about even the physical structure of the brain let alone its functions.

They had to assume that the area of the brain sectioned perform similar tasks in all their subjects but they actually have no idea whether that is true. It does, however, tell us that the total neurones in Area 10 for humans is 254m, whilst the next nearest in a chimp is 64m. Interestingly a gibbon has only 8. [btw Area 10 is only one part of one bit (the Broddman Areas) of the brain that is associated with executive functioning and stuff like theory of mind, planning, learning etc in humans]

It's no surprise that apes have bits of the brain that look like ours and it's also no surprise that the parts that in humans do some of the things that we call intelligence - cognitive and executive functioning - are very much bigger, rather differently organised and connected.

We don't know whether the regions of the prefrontal cortex that humans use for what we call intelligence are the same as those in other apes because the only tools we have for assessing it are functional MRI scanners (or similar) and non-human apes do not have the intelligence to understand either the need to keep still whilst being scanned and are incapable of understanding the tasks they'd have to perform if they could.

But it's all jolly interesting.


Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2011 3:08 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-07-2011 3:05 PM Tangle has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11839
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 92 of 142 (643508)
12-07-2011 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by Tangle
12-07-2011 2:34 PM


Re: Area 10
and yet your googled paper actually says the opposite

Really!? It says the opposite?

Specialisation is a difference in 'kind' imho

I can't agree with that. By nature of it being "specialized", implies that its a modification of something already there. Otherwise, it'd be something like "emergent" or "novel".

They had to assume that the area of the brain sectioned perform similar tasks in all their subjects but they actually have no idea whether that is true.

Yeah, and maybe the see with their noses and smell with their eyes

It does, however, tell us that the total neurones in Area 10 for humans is 254m, whilst the next nearest in a chimp is 64m.

Which means that chimps have this same thing but ours is bigger. If that's not a difference in degree rather than kind then I don't what is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Tangle, posted 12-07-2011 2:34 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Tangle, posted 12-08-2011 4:33 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5232
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 93 of 142 (643516)
12-07-2011 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2011 3:08 PM


Koko
CS writes:


Koko {a gorilla} has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale,

koko is indeed QI.

Sadly, you felt the need to both quote mine and not provide the source, which is not the kind of behaviour I expected of you - i came here to discuss and learn not point score at all costs. However, I'm an atheist and a rationalist so I am capable of true forgiveness.

Here's the full paragraph

During the course of the study, Koko has advanced further with language than any other non-human. Koko has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs. Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. Koko initiates the majority of conversations with her human companions and typically constructs statements averaging three to six words. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered "normal." Michael, the male silverback gorilla who grew up with Koko, had a working vocabulary of over 600 signs.

So Koko has been intensively trained since near birth and for 40 years by a very dedicated team of people and has learned around 2000 signs. She's been rewarded when she she gets it right and as a result has apparently achieved the language IQ level of a sub-normal human.

Unfortuantely, the team 'publish' most of their findings via the mass media - there are a few peer reviewed papers but I haven't seen any. I do know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding what she actually understands and what she's merely been conditioned respond to.

However, I did see a documentary on Koko a couple of years and I was very impressed; from watching it I'd say that she definately understood some things and is fairly obviously not clueless.

But really, she's not even on the same page as us. Not even close.


Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2011 3:08 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-07-2011 3:52 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11839
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 94 of 142 (643517)
12-07-2011 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by Tangle
12-07-2011 3:43 PM


Re: Koko
koko is indeed QI.

Indeed, and "on the scale of humans". I've sufficiently shown your error.

Sadly, you felt the need to both quote mine and not provide the source, which is not the kind of behaviour I expected of you - i came here to discuss and learn not point score at all costs. However, I'm an atheist and a rationalist so I am capable of true forgiveness.

Here's the full paragraph

Message 83. Full paragraph and source provided. I shortened it because I was repeating it.

So Koko has been intensively trained since near birth and for 40 years by a very dedicated team of people and has learned around 2000 signs. She's been rewarded when she she gets it right and as a result has apparently achieved the language IQ level of a sub-normal human.

Unfortuantely, the team 'publish' most of their findings via the mass media - there are a few peer reviewed papers but I haven't seen any. I do know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding what she actually understands and what she's merely been conditioned respond to.

However, I did see a documentary on Koko a couple of years and I was very impressed; from watching it I'd say that she definately understood some things and is fairly obviously not clueless.

But really, she's not even on the same page as us. Not even close.

Translation: "yeah, you're right. But I'm gonna keep making my same false claim."

And its funny that you're nitpicking the fact that Koko was trained while failing to account for the fact that humans can't invent the technology you herald them for having without their own training.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by Tangle, posted 12-07-2011 3:43 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 1323 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 95 of 142 (643535)
12-07-2011 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Tangle
12-07-2011 2:21 PM


Re: Irritating
Tangle writes:

This sort of remark really doesn't help.

So you are not enjoying having your mistakes pointed out.
Perhaps you could try not being wrong.

Tangle writes:

Aristotle, is likely to be more inteligent than both you and me added together. Just because he lived a long time ago or if he had lived today in a primitive environment like the tribal photo shown earlier - he, and all his society, would still be described, without dispute, as being intelligent, really intelligent.

Well - normal people would describe him as intelligent.
You, on the other hand, would gauge his intelligence by his technology and claim that you are more intelligent because you have an iPad.
quote:
Technology is an excellent measure of intelligence - obviously.
quote:
I'm writing this with an iPad from the other side of the world to a machine I've never seen, by radio. So yes, technology is one method of establishing the intelligence of a species...
According to you: chimpanzees are not intelligent even if they use pointy sticks, but Amazonian tribesmen are intelligent even though they use pointy sticks.
You seem to be very confused about what you think.

Tangle writes:

In short he had real intelligence that would be recognised by a visiting alien. Name me another species that could pass that test.

You are asking me to provide an example that passes a 'What would aliens think?' test.
Maybe you could first explain how you are performing this test and which aliens are you using?
Please be specific.

Every single mammal has real intelligence.
The only person having trouble recognising it is you.
Real intelligence has evolved many many times.


If I were you
And I wish that I were you
All the things I'd do
To make myself turn blue

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Tangle, posted 12-07-2011 2:21 PM Tangle has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 6:46 PM Panda has responded

  
Moon-Ra
Junior Member (Idle past 2074 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 12-01-2011


(1)
Message 96 of 142 (643539)
12-07-2011 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Panda
12-07-2011 5:51 PM


You guys are confusing things again. You have to remember that natural selection (and therefore brain evolution) stopped in humans thousands of years ago, but the brain that we have today is the same that Homo sapiens had hundreds of thousands of years ago, note the different time scales. So brain power came way before technology (which seems to be at least part of your measure of intelligence).

Now, the appearance that we are light years ahead of every animal out there in terms of intelligence is completely due to technology and cultural evolution (and not brain power). So, if you compare a hominid hundreds of thousands of years ago (but with the exact same brain that we have today) to a Gorila or Chimp you won't find that much difference in "intelligence".

What sets us apart is that we learned to store and share information like no other species. It is a simple behavioral character that revolutionized the course of our species evolution.

Now here is some food for thought, we understand very little about our brain. Some people with mental "disorders" like autism sometimes demonstrate extraordinary math skills to a point where they resolved extremely advanced math tasks without ever being taught how to.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by Panda, posted 12-07-2011 5:51 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by Wounded King, posted 12-07-2011 7:10 PM Moon-Ra has responded
 Message 99 by Panda, posted 12-07-2011 7:46 PM Moon-Ra has responded
 Message 100 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-07-2011 7:49 PM Moon-Ra has responded
 Message 108 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-09-2011 10:31 AM Moon-Ra has not yet responded

    
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1705 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 97 of 142 (643542)
12-07-2011 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Moon-Ra
12-07-2011 6:46 PM


No more human evolution
You have to remember that natural selection (and therefore brain evolution) stopped in humans thousands of years ago

This seems like a pretty contentious point to simply treat as a given. Care to provide some rationale for the claim that natural selection has stopped operating on humans?

I know that Steve Jones has been making arguments along these lines for the past decade or more but those themselves have been highly tendentious.

Certainly there is a case to be made that modern technological advances have alleviated certain selective pressures, particularly in the west. You are putting the point where natural selection stopped operating much further back, by thousands of years (possibly hundreds of thousands), so I'd be interested in what the evidence is supporting this claim.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 6:46 PM Moon-Ra has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 7:38 PM Wounded King has responded

    
Moon-Ra
Junior Member (Idle past 2074 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 12-01-2011


Message 98 of 142 (643543)
12-07-2011 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Wounded King
12-07-2011 7:10 PM


Re: No more human evolution
Just thousands, to be precise the last two thousand.

The population increase that humans went through in the last 2-3 thousand years has few parallels in nature, and there is plenty of evidence showing that selection does not operate in expanding populations, I can dig up refs if you want. But to put it simply, natural selection operates under the premise that some of your progeny will die (and with it presumably your "weak" genes), so in order for natural selection to operate, a certain percentage of the population has to perish. But in today's society this is not happening anymore, or in other words, both the fittest and the weakest are surviving. If both are surviving there is no selection.

Don't take me wrong, this is not a bad thing, as it allow us (as a species) to have anomalies like Einstein or Hawking, but I assure you a person with a much lower IQ left many more descendants than those two individuals somewhere else in the planet.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Panda
Member (Idle past 1323 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 99 of 142 (643544)
12-07-2011 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Moon-Ra
12-07-2011 6:46 PM


Hi Moon-Ra
Moon-Ra writes:

So brain power came way before technology (which seems to be at least part of your measure of intelligence).

It is definitely not how I measure intelligence. You are preaching to the choir.
But perhaps you could try to convince Tangle...

Moon-Ra writes:

What sets us apart is that we learned to store and share information like no other species.

This seems to be as flawed as the 'technology' argument.
In fact, the way we store and share information is mainly by using technology.
But for most of mankind's existence we have taught our young in exactly the same way that other animals do.
We may currently have very clever ways to store information, but those methods are very recent compared to the existence of humans.

Moon-Ra writes:

Now here is some food for thought, we understand very little about our brain. Some people with mental "disorders" like autism sometimes demonstrate extraordinary math skills to a point where they resolved extremely advanced math tasks without ever being taught how to.

An interesting point.
It could almost seem to be connected to Straggler and Rahvin's discussion in 'Time and Beginning' here.

If I were you
And I wish that I were you
All the things I'd do
To make myself turn blue

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 6:46 PM Moon-Ra has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 8:00 PM Panda has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1761
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 100 of 142 (643545)
12-07-2011 7:49 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Moon-Ra
12-07-2011 6:46 PM


You have to remember that natural selection (and therefore brain evolution) stopped in humans thousands of years ago,

What about the next big asteroid or if Yellowstone blows again? What about the next plague or massive crop failures? I don't think that you measure much evolution in terms of thousands of years.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 6:46 PM Moon-Ra has responded

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Moon-Ra
Junior Member (Idle past 2074 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 12-01-2011


Message 101 of 142 (643546)
12-07-2011 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by ProtoTypical
12-07-2011 7:49 PM


You are absolutely correct here, and we agree, I am measuring "evolution" here in the present. We know it is acting in many species as we speak, and it is not on humans now (because we are all reproducing before we die). It might very well start again in the very near future, but for now it seems not to be acting, and that is my point... Our raw "brain power" is not different from that of a cave man
This message is a reply to:
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Moon-Ra
Junior Member (Idle past 2074 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 12-01-2011


Message 102 of 142 (643547)
12-07-2011 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Panda
12-07-2011 7:46 PM


I'm sorry I have yet to learn how to properly quote and respond messages. I meant to direct my post to Tangle

Panda writes:

This seems to be as flawed as the 'technology' argument.
In fact, the way we store and share information is mainly by using technology.
But for most of mankind's existence we have taught our young in exactly the same way that other animals do.
We may currently have very clever ways to store information, but those methods are very recent compared to the existence of humans.

So, we agree here, and this is exactly what I meant by "cultural evolution", it's a snowball effect, the better we get at transferring and storing information, the better our technology gets (and vice-versa).

Going back to Tangle's point, an interesting question would be if those aliens that he mentions arrived here not today, but 50 thousand years ago. We, as species, would have virtually the same brain (50k year old skulls are anatomically identical to ours), but would the aliens consider us any more intelligent than Gorillas and Chimps?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Panda, posted 12-07-2011 7:46 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by Panda, posted 12-07-2011 8:11 PM Moon-Ra has not yet responded
 Message 104 by Tangle, posted 12-08-2011 3:01 AM Moon-Ra has not yet responded

    
Panda
Member (Idle past 1323 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 103 of 142 (643548)
12-07-2011 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by Moon-Ra
12-07-2011 8:00 PM


M-R writes:

Going back to Tangle's point, an interesting question would be if those aliens that he mentions arrived here not today, but 50 thousand years ago. We, as species, would have virtually the same brain (50k year old skulls are anatomically identical to ours), but would the aliens consider us any more intelligent than Gorillas and Chimps?

Good point.
Dirty grunting humans hiding in caves does not give the impression of intelligence that Tangle demands from other animals.
But since Tangle's test is simply a version of the Common Sense fallacy, there is no actual need to address it.

If I were you
And I wish that I were you
All the things I'd do
To make myself turn blue

This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 8:00 PM Moon-Ra has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5232
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 104 of 142 (643551)
12-08-2011 3:01 AM
Reply to: Message 102 by Moon-Ra
12-07-2011 8:00 PM


Moon-Ra writes:

Going back to Tangle's point, an interesting question would be if those aliens that he mentions arrived here not today, but 50 thousand years ago. We, as species, would have virtually the same brain (50k year old skulls are anatomically identical to ours), but would the aliens consider us any more intelligent than Gorillas and Chimps?

Yes they would. Technology doesn't mean iPads. It means the manufacture and use of tools. They had axes, knives, spears, needles, fishing hooks and fire. They made leather and tents, huts, boats and houses. The lived and hunted in groups and they developed language.

As for having the same brain, that is probably not true. We had similar skulls but a lot was happening in them. They'd lost a large number of smell neurons and as language developed the part of the brain processing it had to increase. Sight and sound became more important. It seems that some parts of our brain began specialising quite early, probably as a result of language.

They would appear extreemly intelligent compared to other apes


Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Moon-Ra, posted 12-07-2011 8:00 PM Moon-Ra has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5232
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 105 of 142 (643553)
12-08-2011 4:33 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by New Cat's Eye
12-07-2011 3:05 PM


Re: Area 10
CS writes:

Which means that chimps have this same thing but ours is bigger. If that's not a difference in degree rather than kind then I don't what is.

The relative number of neurones is indeed a difference in quantity - around 400% more than the chimp. I suggest that an increase in brain size of that proportion in an area of the brain thought to be responsible for intelligence probably makes a material difference. (If you're a gibbon it's a difference of a factor of 30 - which sort of suggests we're not looking at everything that matters here, but that's another story.)

The FUNCTION of those neurones is a difference in KIND. Even from the crude sectioning that they did, they found several differences in how the neurones in humans were organised and connected, their density and what they were connected to.

If you look further into the prefrontal cortex in humans using fMRI you see that there are many areas that go to make up a neural moral network in people - a physical, moral sense. But that is yet another story which is being discussed elsewhere.

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
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