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Author Topic:   An evolution paradox
Peter
Member (Idle past 750 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 16 of 31 (13398)
07-12-2002 3:11 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by John
07-11-2002 9:47 AM


I think I see what you mean.

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techristian
Member (Idle past 3374 days)
Posts: 60
Joined: 04-03-2002


Message 17 of 31 (158706)
11-12-2004 11:31 AM


The point that I was trying to make at the top of this thread was this. The very thing (our intelligence) that has "evolved" us to this point and helped mankind to survive , up to this point, could ultimately be the thing that causes our extinction.

And yes, our brains are a BIOLOGICAL organ.

Dan

http://teachmedrums.com/forum/


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 18 of 31 (158710)
11-12-2004 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by techristian
11-12-2004 11:31 AM


The very thing (our intelligence) that has "evolved" us to this point and helped mankind to survive , up to this point, could ultimately be the thing that causes our extinction.

Yeah, that happens all the time. It wouldn't really be surprising; the Homo genus hasn't been a very successful evolutionary branch. There's only one existing species in it, after all.

In an objective sense, human kind is an evolutionary failure (of, if not a failure yet, then an incipient one), not a success. If you want to see evolutionary successes, check out rats, bats, and antelope.


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happy_atheist
Member (Idle past 4185 days)
Posts: 326
Joined: 08-21-2004


Message 19 of 31 (158762)
11-12-2004 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by techristian
11-12-2004 11:31 AM


Well evolution can't factor for what if's or maybes, it only takes into account the here and now. As it is humans are reproducing quite adequately so we survive. If we inadvertantly make the earth unlivable for us then we'll go extinct, but as of yet we haven't quite done that.

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thgar
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 31 (160832)
11-18-2004 12:58 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by techristian
11-12-2004 11:31 AM


Our brain is not the only matter that might make us fail. There is the overpopulation of our species. That is a cause for concern as well. Also in evolution, survival of the species is success. But can we consider mere survival a success? Sure we will evolve over time, but what if we were to evolve smaller brain sizes as we progress further along into future species? That may have occurred before in our Genus in a small population species "Flores Man" (so named for the island in Indonesia). Would that be success for humankind? I would say not. So even evolution becomes a threat to "humans."

I found a moral in these lines of thinking. Evolution can be scary if taken as a whatif with respect to the future.


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Whirlwind
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 31 (163878)
11-29-2004 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by techristian
04-22-2002 11:36 PM


Imagine...
It is very important to remember that there is one thing that really seperates humans from animals: the power of imagination. To cut a long story short, from this power we eventually worked out how to breed ourselves and other animals. If we keep doing this, it is unlikely that we will ever truly "evolve" into another species. Even so, a change like this would likely take millions of years, so we wouldn't be around to witness it!

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3366 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 22 of 31 (163884)
11-29-2004 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Whirlwind
11-29-2004 10:53 AM


Re: Imagine...
What is the evidence that other animals lack an imagination? How developed would an animals theory of mind need to be to allow imagination, or do you not consider them to be related. Is an animal which can predict the behaviour or even understand the motivation of another animal using imagination?

TTFN,

WK


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3366 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 23 of 31 (163886)
11-29-2004 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by thgar
11-18-2004 12:58 AM


But can we consider mere survival a success? Sure we will evolve over time, but what if we were to evolve smaller brain sizes as we progress further along into future species?

Oh my god!! I can see it happening already, Homo republicansis americanus.

TTFN,

WK

P.S. This post is for attemptedly humorous purposes only and should not be viewed as a personal attack by all American republicans.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 24 of 31 (163891)
11-29-2004 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Wounded King
11-29-2004 11:12 AM


Re: Imagine...
Is an animal which can predict the behaviour or even understand the motivation of another animal using imagination?

Oo, good question. One might also ask:

Is an animal that displays introspective problem-solving using imagination?

Is an animal that can find a real-world location when it's analog is pointed out on a map using imagination?


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3366 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 25 of 31 (163902)
11-29-2004 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by crashfrog
11-29-2004 11:38 AM


Re: Imagine...
Is an animal that can find a real-world location when it's analog is pointed out on a map using imagination?

And of course the natural corollary of that, should someone who can't find their ass with both hands and a map really be allowed behind the wheel of a car? A question for our time I feel.

Yours (imagining my incipient road rage on the commute home),

WK


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3366 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 26 of 31 (163907)
11-29-2004 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by crashfrog
11-29-2004 11:38 AM


Re: Imagine...
But seriously.

Is an animal that can find a real-world location when it's analog is pointed out on a map using imagination?

Is this something you know to have been attempted or a purely hypothetical scenario? I can certainly imagine a mouse learning that if a certain part of a map was highlighted it would find food in a corresponding area, while still having no concept that the map itself is an abstract representation of the maze it was navigating.

I think this is something which would be very hard to test, but it certainly is an interesting question.

I think that what this really boils down to is, is there really any clear distinction between the capacity for abstract thought and the capacity for imagination and if so what?

TTFN,

WK


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 27 of 31 (163943)
11-29-2004 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Wounded King
11-29-2004 12:12 PM


Is this something you know to have been attempted or a purely hypothetical scenario?

Something I saw on TV once. They had a room with cupboards and drawers, etc, and a small model of the room which they showed to a gorilla, who watched them hide a model of a treat in one of the model cupboards. When they let the gorilla into the room she immediately went to the analagous cupboard for the treat, even when it wasn't actually there (so she wasn't smelling it, etc.)

I don't, offhand, have the exact details of the experiment. I'm sure we could look it up.

I can certainly imagine a mouse learning that if a certain part of a map was highlighted it would find food in a corresponding area, while still having no concept that the map itself is an abstract representation of the maze it was navigating.

Fair enough. Suppose, though, that a section of the map was highlighted for the mouse for the first time, and that it was for a section of the area that the mouse had never been fed in. If the mouse heads right to that area for the reward, can we then propose that the mouse is actually doing some mental mapping? It seems the most reasonable explanation to me.


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FliesOnly
Member (Idle past 3416 days)
Posts: 797
From: Michigan
Joined: 12-01-2003


Message 28 of 31 (163964)
11-29-2004 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by crashfrog
11-29-2004 2:35 PM


Hello Crashfrog

crashfrog writes:

Something I saw on TV once. They had a room with cupboards and drawers, etc, and a small model of the room which they showed to a gorilla, who watched them hide a model of a treat in one of the model cupboards. When they let the gorilla into the room she immediately went to the analagous cupboard for the treat, even when it wasn't actually there (so she wasn't smelling it, etc.)

I recall seeing that on the tube as well. I think it may have been an episode of Scientific American Frontiers. And I also believe that on the particular show they had a chimp in a rather larger cage that allowed him to see a second chimp AND a door through which "the vet" could enter and not be seen by this 2nd chimp. When the vet entered into view of chimp number one, he seemed to be trying to "warn" the second chimp that something "bad" was about to happen, which raises some interesting ideas as well.
Anyway, not of any real contribution, but I just thought I'd mention it if for no other reason than to simply support your idea.


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3366 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 29 of 31 (164058)
11-30-2004 5:03 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by crashfrog
11-29-2004 2:35 PM


I'm pretty sure that I saw that as well, but there is a further level of abstraction between a scale model and a map. A scale model of a room is considerably more like the room itself than a plan of the room is.

One recent similar scale model based experiment with chimpanzees is documented in

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) recognize spatial and object correspondences between a scale model and its referent.
Kuhlmeier VA, Boysen ST.
Psychol Sci. 2002 Jan;13(1):60-3.

n the present study, the contributions of spatial and object features to chimpanzees' comprehension of scale models were examined. Seven chimpanzees that previously demonstrated the ability to use a scale model as an information source for the location of a hidden item were tested under conditions manipulating the feature correspondence and spatial-relational correspondence between objects in the model and an outdoor enclosure. In Experiment 1, subjects solved the task under two conditions in which one object cue (color or shape) was unavailable, but positional cues remained. Additionally, performance was above chance under a third condition in which both types of object cues, but not position cues, were available. In Experiment 2, 2 subjects solved the task under a condition in which shape and color object cues were simultaneously unavailable. The results suggest that, much like young children, chimpanzees are sensitive to both object and spatial-relational correspondences between a model and its referent.

I would agree that if the mouse behaved as you described it would suggest that it was effectively interpreting the map. Perhaps a mouse in a maze situation would makes it harder than it needs to be though, mazes are pretty tricky to negotiate anyway.

TTFN,

WK


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zephyr
Member (Idle past 3821 days)
Posts: 821
From: FOB Taji, Iraq
Joined: 04-22-2003


Message 30 of 31 (164064)
11-30-2004 5:45 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by techristian
11-12-2004 11:31 AM


LTFOL!!!
TWO AND A HALF YEARS, you wait to respond to the critiques. Where have you been, suspended animation?

I think you're absolutely right in principle. Traits that allow a species to effectively utilize the resources on which it depends are often the same traits that result in over-exploitation of those resources, overpopulation, and catastrophic die-off. This principle can be seen in things as simple as a bacterial population inside a sealed bottle or on an island grazed by non-native livestock. It would also seem to apply to humankind. Many believe we have passed a sustainable population yet we continue to grow by exploiting nonrenewable resources. At some point, things will get a lot less happy on this planet.

Even if we were to utterly destroy ourselves, how is this a problem for biological evolution? Most of the species that have existed are now extinct because their environments changed and they could not adapt. The cause of the change - be it climate, invaders, or the species itself - is not really a factor. Dead is dead.


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