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McGruff
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Going with your logic, if it helped our species survive longer, it would be best for us to evolve into mindless cockroaches or bacteria.


Evolution is pretty random and value-less. Anything which improves survival is an evolutionary advance, whether that be a bigger, McGruff-style brain and a correspondingly larger energy requirement, or a smaller, Bonekracker-like empty cavity with no energy requirements at all.

Large, resonant cavities can be a positive advantage in some environments, such as OTW.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
Going with your logic, if it helped our species survive longer, it would be best for us to evolve into mindless cockroaches or bacteria.


Evolution is pretty random and value-less. Anything which improves survival is an evolutionary advance, whether that be a bigger, McGruff-style brain and a correspondingly larger energy requirement, or a smaller, Bonekracker-like empty cavity with no energy requirements at all.

Large, resonant cavities can be a positive advantage in some environments, such as OTW.

How about I force a laugh at your apparent attempt at humor (cough... red herring), and you address the point. :lol:
Quote:
Going with your logic, if it helped our species survive longer, it would be best for us to evolve into mindless cockroaches or bacteria.

You are arbitrarily selecting evolution as the totality of your value framework, presuming that which is selected by evolution to be "best". You are, in effect, saying "continuation of the genetic line in some form is everything; nothing else is of any importance". Are you sure that's what you believe, cockroach-man?
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McGruff
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

big dave wrote:
mcgruff wrote:
If we genuinely don't need bits of our brain, it is evolutionarily advantageous to get rid of them. They'd just be a cost without a compensatory benefit.

Exactly. That's why humans don't have toes.


You think you don't need toes...? How are you going to get from the Montecito ocean front all the way up the hill to visit Al Gore?

big dave wrote:
If I go back to bio class, I'm pretty sure that's not how evolution works. If a trait is negligible as a factor on reproduction over numerous reproduction cycles, it's unlikely that the trait will flourish or subside in the species.


Brains need lots of energy. Some of them.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, in an environment of "social justice", where everybody is cared for and made happy no matter what, we will evolve into weak, slug-like morons, no? Socialism --> Idiocracy? And, anybody who thinks this is a bad thing is to be harangued and denigrated as a supporter of teh Evil "Social Darwinism". This is the position of you leftist authoritarians, is it not?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
So, in an environment of "social justice", where everybody is cared for and made happy no matter what...


No matter what what? You think some people don't deserve to have anything?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
You think some people don't deserve to have anything?

Where did I say that, Captiain Strawman, and why would you quote a sentence about people being "made happy" and then interpret it as a statement about what people "have"? Captain Strawman strikes again!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.
I don't think it would be that difficult. They did have a very good understanding of mathematics. Then people became dumb because religion and only started to think after the Renaissance.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

runningwithscissors wrote:
aidanjt wrote:
Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.
I don't think it would be that difficult. They did have a very good understanding of mathematics. Then people became dumb because religion and only started to think after the Renaissance.


++

I actually think that athenians had more "elastic" mindset, at least if you read how their philosophers were thinking without multitude of information that we take for granted. Today, even well educated people are stuck in rigid christianity mindset and cannot even comprehend what thinking outside the box would be like.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Second (@AidanJT), what's the logic in measuring what the average person of a society can be taught. The accumulated knowledge of mankind is not a measure of any given generation.

That's the point.

BoneKracker wrote:
With nothing to build upon at all, the Ancient Greeks came up with the same basic atomic theory we rely upon today (that matter is comprised of basic elements and extraordinarily tiny particles, which can be subdivided to a point, and upon reaching some point, the most basic particles are indivisible).

There's a reason for that, the atomicist's basis of understanding was that that the tiny particles were dust of the Earth element (among the other 3, Fire, Water, and Air) that gathers on your table, it was a very crude philosophical argument without any evidence to back it up, and it wasn't even the philosphy which ever gained traction. And that was ancient Greece in a nutshell, throwing bare assertions back and forth, and whichever idea instinctual resonated with philosophers stuck. In fairness to them, it was the best they could do with what they had at their disposal. But they were still way off the mark, and it took thousands of years before a real atomic theory could be established.

BoneKracker wrote:
It's one thing for you to eat your microwaved breakfast, ride to your socialist public school in a bus, be taught this by a teacher and then given an a B for managing to regurgitate most of it. It's another thing entirely for a sandal-wearing man in a tiny culture that hasn't even invented money yet to create such a theory himself.

Easy to do when you just create an opposing argument to argue. It's one thing to pull an idea out of your ass, it's another thing entirely to show it to be true. That's what we actually do these days. And that's what put man on the moon.

BoneKracker wrote:
Third, I don't anyone with an average understanding of ancient Athenian culture is equipped to make such a judgment. Read something like Thucydides and it becomes quite apparent that the average ancient Athenian was socially superior to the average member of our societies. Granted, it was merely a city-state, but they merged the concepts of private and public life, with every citizen actively participating in the public debate. If one did not, they were referred to by a new, purpose-invented word: idiotes (a selfish person only interested in their private life), and they were often literally ostracized (voted out of town for a few years) as a result. Some member of modern Western culture not aware of such details of the nature of ancient Athenian culture cannot possibly pass judgment on some other educated person's comparison of the two.

That's the point, it was a mere city state. It's easy to toy with civic ideas when you're a tiny speck of dust. I'd like to see more direct democracy, but doing that on a continental scale in a manner hundreds of millions can be happy with is decidedly non-trivial.

BoneKracker wrote:
Fourth, I'd take it farther and say it's been all downhill since H. neanderthalensis and that H. sapiens sapiens is the inferior species. Okay, I'm only half serious about that, but half-serious I am.

Still wasn't bright enough to not go extinct.
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you experience political reality dilation when travelling at american political speeds. it's in einstein's formulas. it's not their fault.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
The article argues that it if you take an athenian baby it would outperform modern day baby. Not that we have iphones, and athenians didn't. It argues that there is genetic difference, not simply quantitative gap.

The argument amounts to a bare assertion. We have no ancient Athenian babies to place into a modern home and educational environment.
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you experience political reality dilation when travelling at american political speeds. it's in einstein's formulas. it's not their fault.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

runningwithscissors wrote:
I don't think it would be that difficult. They did have a very good understanding of mathematics. Then people became dumb because religion and only started to think after the Renaissance.

Eh? They didn't even come up with algebra or calculus. So no, they didn't have the sound understanding of mathematics to understand the mathematical models, and more importantly, they didn't have the mental conceptualisation for *any* of our current scientific knowledge, the scope and scale is well beyond anything they could have imagined.
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you experience political reality dilation when travelling at american political speeds. it's in einstein's formulas. it's not their fault.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Prenj wrote:
The article argues that it if you take an athenian baby it would outperform modern day baby. Not that we have iphones, and athenians didn't. It argues that there is genetic difference, not simply quantitative gap.

The argument amounts to a bare assertion. We have no ancient Athenian babies to place into a modern home and educational environment.


There is genetic evidence tho.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
Second (@AidanJT), what's the logic in measuring what the average person of a society can be taught. The accumulated knowledge of mankind is not a measure of any given generation.

That's the point.

I don't think it is. If you take the Athenian out of that environment and bring them here (which is what the author was talking about), they have access to all the same information and would quickly come up to speed. Keep in mind he wasn't talking about one of them jumping into a role as a biochemist or aerospace engineer; if you spend some time studying that age it's pretty shocking how, other than technology, very little has changed. The social, economic, political, and military issues are all the same, and we are no more advanced than they were. Our average "citizens" function on about the same level as their slaves did, largely ignorant of these things. The fact that some scientists, engineers, and others have greater knowledge of technology is to the credit of our average citizens, who merely use and dispose of things without ever understanding how they really work. You and I couldn't come any closer to building a TV from scratch than a cave man, and that fact that we watch them doesn't make us special.

The author didn't say that if you plopped an ancient Athenian down here now they'd come up with the Grand Unifying Theory of Physics, or that they'd even be able to grasp Quantum Mechanics without great difficulty, but neither can you or I. He said one "would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companies, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues." I'd add the corollary that if you plopped one of our average citizens down back there, they'd probably be unable to make it as anything but a slave (and be glad of that, because on their own, they'd just die).

aidanjt wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
With nothing to build upon at all, the Ancient Greeks came up with the same basic atomic theory we rely upon today (that matter is comprised of basic elements and extraordinarily tiny particles, which can be subdivided to a point, and upon reaching some point, the most basic particles are indivisible).

There's a reason for that, the atomicist's basis of understanding was that that the tiny particles were dust of the Earth element (among the other 3, Fire, Water, and Air) that gathers on your table, it was a very crude philosophical argument without any evidence to back it up, and it wasn't even the philosphy which ever gained traction. And that was ancient Greece in a nutshell, throwing bare assertions back and forth, and whichever idea instinctual resonated with philosophers stuck. In fairness to them, it was the best they could do with what they had at their disposal. But they were still way off the mark, and it took thousands of years before a real atomic theory could be established.

Actually that's incorrect. They first believed that everything was comprised of water (which is not far off, if you are focused mostly on living things). Then they believed that everything was comprised of "fire" (i.e. energy), which is probably closer to reality than our current theories, which are still struggling with wave-particle duality (this was the Miletians, by the way, who were the great philosophers of Ionian culture before the Persians wiped them off the Anatolian peninsula). The idea of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air came along later.

But they invented metaphysics, out of nothing. What they had to build upon was animals being sacrificed to gods on altars and their entrails being read. It was a real paradigm shift in thought. What of comparison have we come up with? Nothing. Psychology, perhaps, but it's weaksauce by comparison. Everything else has been mere incremental advancement, mostly limited to technology.

aidanjt wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
It's one thing for you to eat your microwaved breakfast, ride to your socialist public school in a bus, be taught this by a teacher and then given an a B for managing to regurgitate most of it. It's another thing entirely for a sandal-wearing man in a tiny culture that hasn't even invented money yet to create such a theory himself.

Easy to do when you just create an opposing argument to argue. It's one thing to pull an idea out of your ass, it's another thing entirely to show it to be true. That's what we actually do these days. And that's what put man on the moon.

And in their day, that's what enabled trade all the way to the Baltics and Egypt, classification of the species, the invention of professional medicine, and the very beginnings of the study of mathematics and all the sciences. It's pretty pathetic, when you think about it, that 2,500 years later that's as far as we've gone. If we were comparable to them, we've have terraformed and colonized Mars by now, invented FTL travel, put an end to warfare, and determined the meaning of life.

aidanjt wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
Third, I don't anyone with an average understanding of ancient Athenian culture is equipped to make such a judgment. Read something like Thucydides and it becomes quite apparent that the average ancient Athenian was socially superior to the average member of our societies. Granted, it was merely a city-state, but they merged the concepts of private and public life, with every citizen actively participating in the public debate. If one did not, they were referred to by a new, purpose-invented word: idiotes (a selfish person only interested in their private life), and they were often literally ostracized (voted out of town for a few years) as a result. Some member of modern Western culture not aware of such details of the nature of ancient Athenian culture cannot possibly pass judgment on some other educated person's comparison of the two.

That's the point, it was a mere city state. It's easy to toy with civic ideas when you're a tiny speck of dust. I'd like to see more direct democracy, but doing that on a continental scale in a manner hundreds of millions can be happy with is decidedly non-trivial.

You're quibbling. They came up with a working democracy where only tribalism and totalitarianism had existed, based on philosophical ideals they invented. We, the most advanced and civilized societies of the world, are still living by those ideals, having made only comparatively minor modifications. More to the point, our average citizens are slugs by comparison and our societies not only permit but enable it.

aidanjt wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
]Fourth, I'd take it farther and say it's been all downhill since H. neanderthalensis and that H. sapiens sapiens is the inferior species. Okay, I'm only half serious about that, but half-serious I am.

Still wasn't bright enough to not go extinct.

I say they're not extinct; they live on (to a small degree) in all the peoples of European descent, especially the people from up your way and from the Nordics. That knowledge is still emerging, though. :wink:
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Eh? They didn't even come up with algebra or calculus.
They had a good understanding of geometry and could express basic algebraic functions geometrically. They also could conceive of some rudimentary concepts of calculus.

I don't think it would be impossible for them to familiarize themselves with the basic fundamentals of modern mathematics. I'm talking of ancient Greek mathematicians btw, not the average chump from that time like the article seems to suggest. The average idiot from then wouldn't be significantly distinguishable from the idiots of our age.

Also, it is very possible to "de-evolve" intellectually. Evolution doesn't mean survival of the smartest, but of the "fittest".
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
If it presented a threat, we exterminated it with prejudice, even the big cats naturally know perfectly well humans are best avoided at all costs, not because we're extremely clever and inventive, at best in the early days we had crude stone tools, but simply because we are, and always have been, far too numerous, able to coordinate our efforts in large numbers very effectively, and were ruthlessly vicious against threats, and any species without extreme caution or non-aggression against humans, were simply wiped out.


I'm not a scientist, but I wonder if the humanity's penchant to wage war on itself is because of a primal instinct or need to act against an enemy and experience the victory of survival. Since we no longer have natural enemies, we've turned it inward without stopping to think ourselves out of it.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwfSENkvJXY
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old School wrote:
If one needs proof that people are stupid, look no further than both Bush and Obama each getting elected..... twice.


Romney would have ruined this country, moreso than it already has been. The last thing America needs is a backwards-thinking religious person. Especially a Mormon. Their entire subset of beliefs came from a 14-year old boy.

Not that Obama's perfect... he's been ineffective at bringing about all this hope and change he promised. But I'll take incompetence over malice any day.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
big dave wrote:
mcgruff wrote:
If we genuinely don't need bits of our brain, it is evolutionarily advantageous to get rid of them. They'd just be a cost without a compensatory benefit.

Exactly. That's why humans don't have toes.


You think you don't need toes...? How are you going to get from the Montecito ocean front all the way up the hill to visit Al Gore?

evolutionary biologists suggest we need that joint. i'm sure ussain bolt doesn't need 5 separate toes though to outrun you.

mcgruff wrote:
big dave wrote:
If I go back to bio class, I'm pretty sure that's not how evolution works. If a trait is negligible as a factor on reproduction over numerous reproduction cycles, it's unlikely that the trait will flourish or subside in the species.


Brains need lots of energy. Some of them.

yes, but why do you make the assumption that energy usage in the brain is a negative (or positive) factor on reproduction?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because you only have to think with your little head to reproduce, so everything going on upstairs is waste. That's why the Scots never evolved beyond kilts, stone-throwing, and drunken, red-faced blather.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Because you only have to think with your little head to reproduce, so everything going on upstairs is waste. That's why the Scots never evolved beyond kilts, stone-throwing, and drunken, red-faced blather.


One word. Balkans.

Tesla had to go elsewhere to do his brain stuff :)
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