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Old 10-20-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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I have always wander if Dawin thought tha man could split and some regress from lack of using his brain to learn new kills and revert to instnncts like animals.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:44 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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Originally Posted by allah truth View Post
i would actually think we are evolving backwards. it seems to me that people of lower iqs and traits that would make them less able to survive are actually having alot more babies then people with more ideal traits thanks to our great advancements in technology and health care.
Ever seen the movie "Idiocracy"? It illustrates exactly that.
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Originally Posted by allforcats View Post
One of the most interesting, I think, and least reported evidences of the continuing evolution of homo sapiens is the development of the prefrontal cortex of the human brain.

In the last half of the 20th century, physicians and scientists began seeing for the first time in infrequent infants and toddlers the presence of prefrontal cortex skull capacities of a size slightly but observably and measurably larger than has been usual in humans.

The prefrontal lobe is the location of the final brain development in humans, and usually takes 22 years to complete. It is the seat of the most complex "executive" functions, from the formidable interpreting of reality to "planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, and moderating correct social behavior ... orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals", differentiating "among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities" and "prediction of outcomes" (concise description from Wikipedia; emphases mine, pointing out that teenagers are incapable of determining consequences and outcomes, no matter how often parents tell them they must).

Perhaps the most important and summarized description of the "use" of the prefrontal cortex is the integration of the personality. This occurs in many ways, but ultimately in all humans is a spiritual event, involving the most esoteric and difficult theoretical pursuits -- the integration of energy and matter, of observation and value, of intention and attention, of self and other and all, in other words, creating personal definition of and interweaving of Consciousness in its many expressions. Dozens of young children of different walks of life and ethnicities observed and tested with slightly enlarged prefrontal cortex skull capacities prove to be more peaceful, merry, kind, intelligent and perceptive than usual

Over 5 million years, the human brain has tripled in size, but the prefrontal cortex has increased sixfold in size.

If you'd like to read about this, you might enjoy The Biology of Transcendence by Joseph Chilton Pearce, and The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.
I was just wondering if there is a kind of feedback involved. As tools were invented, as language has evolved, as people learned to cultivate plants and to manage herds, and to further adapt to their environmental pressures such as snow, heat, and so forth, these developments increased the lifespans of the people who adopted them. Those who didn't adapt, were weeded out. The healthier people became, the longer they lived, and the longer they lived, their greater wisdom was passed on more frequently which further increased Man's ability to survive and to multiply.

I remember reading that around WWI, the average soldier was a few inches shorter than soldiers in WWII. Since then we've gotten still taller. Tall people like George Washington (around 6'3") were probably quite a rarity in his time.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
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I am wondering if too much emphasis is being put on an "Intelligence Quotient" that cannot possbily be the only litmus test of intelligence? I would also say that an increase in size can be readily attributable to the levels of hormones injected into our food supply that does not fully break down before being ingested into our bodies. Economics proscribes the need for certain animals to grow larger, faster to keep up with demand - vegetables too, to be fair.

There are also a number of different elements to consider when trying to understand evolution. Is our physiology evolving? What about our intelligence, or consciousness? I would have to say that as a species we have not grown much in spiritual awareness - clinging to a perception of an entity creating all existence and ignoring the need for cultural tolerance. Not all things are equal, but I would have to say that all life evolves. Consider language; if it is not used it ceases to change. An animal that has no appreciable changes in its behaviors of physiology may just need more time to be observed. Truly, only the absence of life prevents evolution.

Devolving is a form of evolving, is it not? Some may pay the price for a sedentary lifestyle or poor dietary habits. Who will benefit from this remains to be seen. Personally, I am waiting with baited anticipation to see if artificial intelligence will become sentient. There are a lot of people out there encouraging the development of ever greater and greater capacity for computer programs to learn and function on their own. It's no joke.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Originally Posted by Brian.Pearson View Post
I was just wondering if there is a kind of feedback involved. As tools were invented, as language has evolved, as people learned to cultivate plants and to manage herds, and to further adapt to their environmental pressures such as snow, heat, and so forth, these developments increased the lifespans of the people who adopted them. Those who didn't adapt, were weeded out. The healthier people became, the longer they lived, and the longer they lived, their greater wisdom was passed on more frequently which further increased Man's ability to survive and to multiply.

I remember reading that around WWI, the average soldier was a few inches shorter than soldiers in WWII. Since then we've gotten still taller. Tall people like George Washington (around 6'3") were probably quite a rarity in his time.

We did not "evolve" a few inches of height between WWI and WWII. First off, WWI was late 1910s and WWII was in the late 1930s. This is 20 years apart, at most there was time for 1 generation. Many young soliders in WWI were still around to fight in WWII. Evolution in most organisms takes much longer than 1 generation even if there was intense selective pressure for that 1 trait.

More likely is that the environment drastically changed in this time. We had a pretty good economic time in the US and most of western Europe. This improved the diet of the average citizen, increasing things like height. In fact, simple changes like using iodized salt has been found to increase average IQ in a population by 10-15 points. So while genetics is important, we can not forget how important than environment is on many of these traits.

Thats like saying that since 1950 to 2000 American's have "evolved" genes to be overweight. Its the change in our environment... more access to high fat foods (fast food) and less active work (office cubicles instead of factories) has led to a change in phenotype with roughly the same genotype.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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Yes. Humans in the Western world are getting fatter and dumber, hooked on a bunch of pharmaceutical poisons that are not playing nicely with Mother Nature. Ending the welfare handouts may solve much of this, and it will probably happen once people are tired of supporting it. I foresee several generations of a downward spiral before the masses again progress.

The movie Idiocracy is set in year 2505, yet nearly every day I see or experience a "2505" moment. Mike Judge was too generous.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
I am wondering if too much emphasis is being put on an "Intelligence Quotient" that cannot possbily be the only litmus test of intelligence? I would also say that an increase in size can be readily attributable to the levels of hormones injected into our food supply that does not fully break down before being ingested into our bodies. Economics proscribes the need for certain animals to grow larger, faster to keep up with demand - vegetables too, to be fair.

There have been many studies showing that IQ alone is not a good measure of intelligence. There are other tests as well, that gauge different facets of this. For example, is an abstract artist more or less intelligent than a nuclear engineer? I guess it depends on what you are measuring. Is it mathimatical reasoning or is it something else? Our culture placed an emphasis on certain things, leading to the use of the IQ test as a standard.

Hormones in our food as well as the quantity and quality of food we eat does affect us. Many of the physical changes to humanity in the last 200 years (and you can say even 4000 years with agriculture and tools) is likely influenced heavily by our environment and not just our genetics. With optimal diets people grow taller, stronger and more intelligent. Not having proper nutrition while in the womb or during childhood leads to all sorts of problems, regardless of genes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
There are also a number of different elements to consider when trying to understand evolution. Is our physiology evolving? What about our intelligence, or consciousness? I would have to say that as a species we have not grown much in spiritual awareness - clinging to a perception of an entity creating all existence and ignoring the need for cultural tolerance. Not all things are equal, but I would have to say that all life evolves. Consider language; if it is not used it ceases to change. An animal that has no appreciable changes in its behaviors of physiology may just need more time to be observed. Truly, only the absence of life prevents evolution.
You are implying that cultural tolerance is the more "evolved" form and that religion is "less evolved". That is not the case. Evolution is about natural selection and propagation of genes that confer a survival benefit. These genes determin aspects of our physiology in combination with our environment.

There is a huge difference in how languages evolve and how genes evolve. Languages, technology and such involve choice and planning. Evolution does not plan for what the world will be like in 100 years.... it reacts to what the world is now. But you are right, evolution is slow and only the absence of life prevents evolution. Whenever there is life, there is either natural selection occuring or there is the potential for it to occur. Humans might be under low selective pressures now, but imagine if there was a nuclear war, disease, climate change, etc...

There are only 2 things required for evolution, mutation and selective pressures in the environment. As long as we have that, one individual will be able to slightly outperform another and over time because of their genetic makeup and that will cause changes.

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Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
Devolving is a form of evolving, is it not? Some may pay the price for a sedentary lifestyle or poor dietary habits. Who will benefit from this remains to be seen. Personally, I am waiting with baited anticipation to see if artificial intelligence will become sentient. There are a lot of people out there encouraging the development of ever greater and greater capacity for computer programs to learn and function on their own. It's no joke.

There is no such thing as devolving or devloution! This is another common misconception. Everything is moving forward through time. To say there is evolution and devolution implies there is a "plan" and an "optimal state" that we are moving towards. This is not the case.

Time does not run backwords. If you break a cup and fix it, you didn't un-break it back to its original state. You applied an external force to put it into a new form, just happens that it is similiar to its prior form becuase that was the optimal use you had for it. The same with evolution, selective pressures can change and there are plenty of example were traits are lost (blind cave-fish are the prime example) but there is no devolution.

I think AI is a really interesting topic. So many possible options... will we get the terminator, battlestar gallactica, matrix or 2001 option . I am sure there are more, but it seems most stories that start with AI gaining awareness ends with trouble for humans. There there is the potential for human/machine hybrids, but that usually ends badly as well.

It will be interesting to see just what is sentience. Can a machine, even one made far more complex than a human brain (which is still a bit off) gain awareness? Or is it more than just a matter of neurons/circuits firing together? Its probably going to involve a cary complex balance of software and hardware and I think we have a lot to learn about ourselves in the process.
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
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Originally Posted by rcarrillo View Post
You are implying that cultural tolerance is the more "evolved" form and that religion is "less evolved". That is not the case. Evolution is about natural selection and propagation of genes that confer a survival benefit. These genes determin aspects of our physiology in combination with our environment.
It seems that we are defining the difference between biological evolution and the evolution of systems that are not based on biology. I agree that biological evolution is linear and incapable of digressing, only changing. I should have been more specific in distinguishing between the two.

I also disagree that the evolution of ethereal systems like language, or tangible technologies for that matter, involve planning and choice. The teenager who starts changing the meaning of a word for the purposes of being original, exclusive, or whatever reason, has no idea that their particular use of a word will expand or change the direction of the language. And technological advances are often the product of mistakes, just as spontaneous mutation in genes are responsible for the evolution of successful manifestations of a previous version.



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Originally Posted by rcarrillo View Post
There is no such thing as devolving or devloution! This is another common misconception. Everything is moving forward through time. To say there is evolution and devolution implies there is a "plan" and an "optimal state" that we are moving towards. This is not the case.
Again, the difference between biological evolution and other forms of evolution nothwithstanding, I would be interested in hearing your opinion of the difference between the cultural identity and civil advancement of the Greek society (circa BCE) and the state of European culture that evenutally grew out of it and eventually conquered it, spawning its own cultural identity - in other words, the state of the western mind as it "evolved" (devolved, sic) from the golden age of the Greeks to the Dark Ages of Europe.

Is this not an example of the deevolution of culture and certain forms of civilization/culture?

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Originally Posted by rcarrillo View Post
There there is the potential for human/machine hybrids, but that usually ends badly as well.
How can anyone know this until it happens? Different is not necessarily bad. Thankfully, the processing power of computers is many powers of magnitude behind the capacity of our own brains, not that that is what it will take to gain sentience. However, I don't see science or engineers ever taking a break from pushing the envelope of what is possible. I only hope that some form of positive intent can be instilled in the creation of a form of sentience that may someday become reality. That may be the ghost in the machine that prevents the clashing of two distinct forms of self-aware beings
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:52 AM
 
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some people are immune to aids and others have no appendix

Humans evolve but civilization devolves that because the lower educated and people who are poor have the most children. Sooner or later we will collapse and start back up again and those people in the future will scratch their heads trying to figure out how we did things in the past. Kind of like we are still having trouble figuring out the pyramids,stonehedge,etc
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
It seems that we are defining the difference between biological evolution and the evolution of systems that are not based on biology. I agree that biological evolution is linear and incapable of digressing, only changing. I should have been more specific in distinguishing between the two.

I also disagree that the evolution of ethereal systems like language, or tangible technologies for that matter, involve planning and choice. The teenager who starts changing the meaning of a word for the purposes of being original, exclusive, or whatever reason, has no idea that their particular use of a word will expand or change the direction of the language. And technological advances are often the product of mistakes, just as spontaneous mutation in genes are responsible for the evolution of successful manifestations of a previous version.

Yes, we were. There is a huge difference and I was just going off thread which was going on biological evolution mostly. My arguments only apply to that area of evolution, not cultural or technological. I think the biggest problem discussing biological evolution in common terms is the fact that in our language, the word evolution implies a purpose and advancement to a superior form. In biological evolution, there is no planning or direction towards an end goal. There is random mutation selected upon by environmental pressures leading to an optional phenotype under those conditions. Once conditions change, so do the selective pressures and the population. That is another point, evolution is really a macroscopic effect in a population and not an individual.

The "evolution" of language and technology involve some choice and some random events. We can try to plan their development (as opposed to evolution) but nature and society tend to result in different outcomes than we expected. I have read a few books on the evolution and extinction of languages (which is sadly occuring way too often right now) and its a really cool topic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
Again, the difference between biological evolution and other forms of evolution nothwithstanding, I would be interested in hearing your opinion of the difference between the cultural identity and civil advancement of the Greek society (circa BCE) and the state of European culture that evenutally grew out of it and eventually conquered it, spawning its own cultural identity - in other words, the state of the western mind as it "evolved" (devolved, sic) from the golden age of the Greeks to the Dark Ages of Europe.

Is this not an example of the deevolution of culture and certain forms of civilization/culture?
I think its hard to pin down "evolved" and "devolvled" in terms of culture as well. Because it is 100% dependent on the cultural values, same as biological evolution is dependent on the environment. Evolution is not a state of progression.

While we might feel our western culture and technology is the pinnacle of evolution, not everyone would. I am sure many monks in the Dark Ages would consider us beyond salvation and deplore how lost our society has become with its bent on materialism. So would many current cultures that value nature and spirituality.

Are we more "advanced" because we value science/technology or are they more "advanced" because they value spirit/soul and reject our attachment to the physical world? Which one evolved from the 1800s and which one devlolved? You can't really anwer that question without bsaing it on your ideals of society. Much like biological evolution can't say what is more "advanced", all it does is select what is optimal for the current environment.

By current western standards, we would probably say that the Greeks in teh Golden Age with their views of reason, the basis on math, medicine, science, philosophy and other technology was advanced. Then we "devolved" into the Dark Ages after the Roman Empire... losing our way to superstition and losing a lot of what we had learned. Then we got back on track by focusing on art and science and eventually the industrial revolution to our current "advanced/evolved" society. As mentioned, this depends on what we value and consider progress....


Quote:
Originally Posted by manquaman View Post
How can anyone know this until it happens? Different is not necessarily bad. Thankfully, the processing power of computers is many powers of magnitude behind the capacity of our own brains, not that that is what it will take to gain sentience. However, I don't see science or engineers ever taking a break from pushing the envelope of what is possible. I only hope that some form of positive intent can be instilled in the creation of a form of sentience that may someday become reality. That may be the ghost in the machine that prevents the clashing of two distinct forms of self-aware beings
Im all for technology and think AI would be very interesting... just saying that mainstream culture per our movies, stories and common talk seems pretty afraid of it. Of course it makes a better story than "mankind creates AI, nothing remarkable happens".

Im all for change and developing new technologies with computers and genetic engineering. Different is not necessarily bad as you said, but neither is it good. Technology and science are neutral, how we use them are not.

Last edited by rcarrillo; 01-02-2009 at 10:18 AM..
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