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Old 08-19-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscomac View Post
I knew I had read this, but it took me a while to find it again.

Do humans have instincts?
Certainly. Some we are born with, some we learn.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Certainly. Some we are born with, some we learn.
I have to disagree. You don't learn instincts. I do agree that humans are born with some instincts.


Instinct vs Learned Behavior - YouTube
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:56 PM
 
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I think we do. We acquire instincts. We flinch when someone pokes at our eye. Nobody taught us that; it is an evolved instinct that we are born with, passed on genetically.

We learn to tie our tie or shoelaces and eventually do it without thinking. It becomes an instinct. Indeed, if we stop to think how to do it, we often find we can't and we can only do it on 'instinct'.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You are using the word sense as in the product of a reasonable plan and that does not describe evolution, there is no plan, only the product of serial accidents, some of which produced survival utility, and some of which did not. Evolution isn't a thinking entity with an end goal, it is natural law.

You could ask "Wouldn't it make more sense if all weather on Earth was moderate rather than featuring periodic destructive extremes?" And yeah, that would make sense in terms of human convenience, but human convenience is not a concern of the forces which generate weather patterns.
you misunderstood. I'm not using the word 'sense' as in the product of a reasonable plan. i know that there isn't a plan, and i understand the general concept of evolution. It is however reasonable to state that living things have evolved and adapted to best survive under the given circumstances....given that, as i stated earlier, it would make more evolutionary sense for us (or any other animal for that matter) to need as little as possible upon being born. Why does it make more evolutionary 'sense'? because that way, the chances of survival are increased, and therefore the specie as a whole as a better chance of moving forwards as opposed to being extinct. So, in an evolutionary sense, it would have been more beneficial for our ancestors to evolve into self sufficient, independently functioning animals...similar to turtles for instance. So my question again is....what led to us not having those instincts, at least not having as many of them as many other animals?
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
hello friends....
i was thinking this morning about a topic and i wasn't able to figure out a possible answer to it......thought i'd try my educated friends on here.....

Why do some animals have "Animal instincts" when they're born (like hunting, fighting predators, flying, walking, etc.) while other animals (ie. humans) do not? (Strictly from an evolutionary standpoint.)
All of us animals are born with instincts.

Maybe Thinking-man needs to do a little more thinking.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
you misunderstood. I'm not using the word 'sense' as in the product of a reasonable plan. i know that there isn't a plan, and i understand the general concept of evolution. It is however reasonable to state that living things have evolved and adapted to best survive under the given circumstances....given that, as i stated earlier, it would make more evolutionary sense for us (or any other animal for that matter) to need as little as possible upon being born. Why does it make more evolutionary 'sense'? because that way, the chances of survival are increased, and therefore the specie as a whole as a better chance of moving forwards as opposed to being extinct. So, in an evolutionary sense, it would have been more beneficial for our ancestors to evolve into self sufficient, independently functioning animals...similar to turtles for instance. So my question again is....what led to us not having those instincts, at least not having as many of them as many other animals?
Despite your denial, you are still treating the word sense in the manner I previously described and that is inappropriate when addressing evolution.

Evolution does not a have a goal of any kind, no agenda, no purpose it is trying to fulfill, no desire to produce any sort of uberman, or any sort of anything for that matter. Evolution represents a series of genetic accidents that have an impact on life because the results of those accidents yielded creatures with features better adapted to surviving the Earth's environment. The notion that it would make better sense for evolution to have produced anything better or worse than what it has produced, is a non starter because there never was an end product in mind...there never was a mind at work at all.

You may as well ask...why hasn't evolution turned us all into Superman.? Why don't we have wings to fly and gills to breath underwater? Why can't we run as fast as a cheetah and be as strong as apes? The terribly unsatisfying answer to that is.....because it hasn't. What you are doing is applying a human concept, the modification of humans to fit a goal which you have in mind, to a completely random process. I understand what you are asking, but I'm trying to explain that such a question has no real application here.

Finally, evolution is an ongoing dynamic. The improvements which you suggest may be on the menu in the future, although neither of us will be around to see.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:53 AM
 
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I certainly agree that we wouldn't evolve what we didn't need and these days I am thinking that we don't have anything, physical, emotional or mental that wasn't evolved and thus has some survival purpose (is it any wonder that faith in religion or any other cause is often linked with one's feeling of being worth something?)

But, while evolution may be parsimonious, it isn't always efficient and very often the results can be the best it could do with what it had (our back -problems are due to an originally four -legged creature taking up an upright stance, or so I read) and a degree of perfect adaptation so elaborate and involved that one can see why the only explanation is a designer, that, if anything changes, the species goes extinct, because it is too specialized to be able to adapt to the changed ecological conditions.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Despite your denial, you are still treating the word sense in the manner I previously described and that is inappropriate when addressing evolution.

Evolution does not a have a goal of any kind, no agenda, no purpose it is trying to fulfill, no desire to produce any sort of uberman, or any sort of anything for that matter. Evolution represents a series of genetic accidents that have an impact on life because the results of those accidents yielded creatures with features better adapted to surviving the Earth's environment. The notion that it would make better sense for evolution to have produced anything better or worse than what it has produced, is a non starter because there never was an end product in mind...there never was a mind at work at all.

You may as well ask...why hasn't evolution turned us all into Superman.? Why don't we have wings to fly and gills to breath underwater? Why can't we run as fast as a cheetah and be as strong as apes? The terribly unsatisfying answer to that is.....because it hasn't. What you are doing is applying a human concept, the modification of humans to fit a goal which you have in mind, to a completely random process. I understand what you are asking, but I'm trying to explain that such a question has no real application here.

Finally, evolution is an ongoing dynamic. The improvements which you suggest may be on the menu in the future, although neither of us will be around to see.
Again, I understand that there is not a 'goal' of any kind.....i also understand there isn't a purpose.
Although i agree generally with what you're saying, i don't agree with the 'unsatisfying answer" you provided to the question of why didn't evolution make us all superman, or give us wings, or breath underwater. The answer is not "because it hasn't", it's that our social way of life, the way we migrated and lived, didn't provide a need for those things. I guess, similarly, although we are born with some essential instincts such as breathing, blinking, crying, etc., we don't have the 'instinct' to walk and feed ourselves (like dolphins can swim and feed), because our ancestors were born into social groups, with parents or guardians that took care of the young and provided the essentials like mobility and feeding; that in turn resulted in the 'instincts' i mentioned to not develop....simply due to a lack of 'need'.

thoughts?
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:04 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
Again, I understand that there is not a 'goal' of any kind.....i also understand there isn't a purpose.
Although i agree generally with what you're saying, i don't agree with the 'unsatisfying answer" you provided to the question of why didn't evolution make us all superman, or give us wings, or breath underwater. The answer is not "because it hasn't", it's that our social way of life, the way we migrated and lived, didn't provide a need for those things. I guess, similarly, although we are born with some essential instincts such as breathing, blinking, crying, etc., we don't have the 'instinct' to walk and feed ourselves (like dolphins can swim and feed), because our ancestors were born into social groups, with parents or guardians that took care of the young and provided the essentials like mobility and feeding; that in turn resulted in the 'instincts' i mentioned to not develop....simply due to a lack of 'need'.

thoughts?
To approach this topic from a different direction, one might take a peek at genetic algorithms. There is a branch of research devoted to optimization problems that use the evolutionary model for arbitrary optimization problems. Basically they mimic genetic inheritance, crossbreeding, and natural selection mathematically to attempt to find an optimal solution for a given "environment" or fitness function.

There appear to be some inherent mathematical limitations to this kind of optimisations. To pull from wikipedia:
In many problems, GAs may have a tendency to converge towards local optima or even arbitrary points rather than the global optimum of the problem. This means that it does not "know how" to sacrifice short-term fitness to gain longer-term fitness. The likelihood of this occurring depends on the shape of the fitness landscape: certain problems may provide an easy ascent towards a global optimum, others may make it easier for the function to find the local optima.
So it seem unsurprising that not all species have evolved to have the same traits, the same solution for optimization. This is just something inherent in the underlying mathematics of evolution. The algorithm makes optimal short term selections, based on current environmental conditions, and has a tendency to 'get stuck' if you will on sub optimal "designs" because it has backed it self into a corner from which there are no small local optimizations available

I do realize that this post is loaded with terms of will and intent, but that is mostly because I am looking at this from the perspective of a design engineer who attempts to manipulate the fitness function or environment to produce an optimal result, sort of the opposite of the way evolution occurs in nature.

I feel like this post is a bit disjointed. I didn't get enough sleep I think, but my point is that these "sub optimal" adaptations are just part and parcel of the underlying mathematics of evolution and natural selection.

-NoCapo
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,867 posts, read 3,791,335 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
you misunderstood. I'm not using the word 'sense' as in the product of a reasonable plan. i know that there isn't a plan, and i understand the general concept of evolution. It is however reasonable to state that living things have evolved and adapted to best survive under the given circumstances....given that, as i stated earlier, it would make more evolutionary sense for us (or any other animal for that matter) to need as little as possible upon being born. Why does it make more evolutionary 'sense'? because that way, the chances of survival are increased, and therefore the specie as a whole as a better chance of moving forwards as opposed to being extinct. So, in an evolutionary sense, it would have been more beneficial for our ancestors to evolve into self sufficient, independently functioning animals...similar to turtles for instance. So my question again is....what led to us not having those instincts, at least not having as many of them as many other animals?
I'm beginning to understand what you are getting at. I think what you are asking is why are human babies born so helpless and reliant on their mothers in comparison to other species.

I think the answer is down to our physiology, our anatomy and our social development.

Here's one article which explains offers an explanation about the anatomical reasons why this may be:
Why are human babies so helpless? | CHONPS

Basically a human female gives birth after 9 month gestation because that is as much as her metabolism and anatomy can take.


But I think in addition the reason has to be social. A baby born fully developed would perhaps be a very different kind of species - a far less social species than the one that evolved.
The interaction between an human mother and her child necessitates a long period of nurture and bond between the two. Social interaction is the foundation of human society.
As hunter- gatherers our success lay in our ability to collaborate in unified groups. We are less adapted than most other animals to survive alone in the wild. We have no natural weapons or protection - claws, sharp teeth, armour etc like other animals so our survival depended on our ability to think, communicate and interact with others.
The long period of nurture after birth establishes a strong human bond and time to teach complex interaction between individuals.

Last edited by Cruithne; 08-20-2013 at 09:50 AM..
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