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The evolution of intelligent life

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The evolution of intelligent life
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SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

....

Continued


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Thirdly, you have to establish why it is that an ant, a bird, or any other animal would need control over fire or airplanes in the first place. You're assuming that because X is useful for a human, it's absolutely useful to all species. Clearly, that's nonsense. Fish simply don't need bicycles, so I don't think we need wring our hands as to why fish seem a little slack in the wheeled-transport area.


I didn't say that other animals would need control over fire, aircraft, or wheeled transportation.


Your argument is fundamentally premised on this. You don't need to say it out loud - not least because I am sure you would immediately note what a silly notion it was - but that is exactly what your argument entails.


Myrtonos wrote: And even non-human land animals are also "a little slack in the wheeled-transport area".


As are the majority of humans. What percentage of people would you estimate could make a bike from scratch? Barely any of the culturally heritable skills are held universally, but remain specialist occupations that could be largely wiped out by a relatively small disaster. Lucky we write stuff down in books.


Myrtonos wrote: I'm saying that control over fire does put us at a great advantage over other land animals,...


And I am saying that's completely the wrong way of looking at it for the reasons I've given.


Myrtonos wrote:a single human with flint stick can burn down a whole forest in less than a day.


Yes, you're repeating yourself, and repeating the idea that being able to intentionally burn shit down equates to human exceptionalism. I told you why I don't find this very persuasive, so you're either going to need to address the reason WHY I don't find it persuasive, or opt for some other point. Repeating it, unsurprisingly just invokes the same lack of persuasion on my part.


Myrtonos wrote: And only sapiens can build or design any wheeled vehicles or any aircraft, many of which can go faster than any animal naturally can, and have a greater carrying capacity than what any animal can naturally carry.


Repetition, and already addressed in spades.


Myrtonos wrote:Fish may be better swimmers than, well, any land animal, including sapiens, but sapiens can design, build and pilot submarines which can carry people and are not such clumsy swimmers.


And are dramatically more expensive at doing it than fish.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:You need to understand the missing paradigm here: it's within the field of evolutionary biology, and it's not something that Harari has any expertise in, which is presumably why he gave only the most basic details without plumbing any of the requisite complexity, and you have followed suit through repeating his ideas in your words. You need to consider what evolution actually means.


I thought he was one of the smartest and wisest people on the planet.


I noticed. The content you've offered so far reminds me of Ken Ham saying 'see there's this book'. The actual fact is that there are many books, and they may offer deeper, broader or more comprehensive insight than Harari's brief synopsis of other people's work he employs towards a particular argument or perspective.

More importantly, because his treatment is often brief, it's also often not exactly right. I enjoyed his books and course very much, and thought some of his ideas were genuinely novel and worth considering, but there were still plenty of parts I was dubious about, or which I knew he was over-simplifying to the point of being misleading.

Perhaps most importantly, you should remember that only about 5% of Harari's books are his own ideas. The vast preponderance of content is him taking other people's work and employing it towards a particular argument. So aside from that meaning he may not be accurately rendering that original work, there's also the question of whether his argument actually holds water.

Maybe I can phrase this a different way: I clearly took something very different from his books than you did.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:There are many interesting idiomatic attempts at explaining it. One is the concept of the Red Queen Hypothesis, where competitors run and run and run as fast as they can just to stay equal. All species on the planet at all times are constantly undergoing competing and contradictory selection from a huge number of sources. If an organism cannot navigate these selections while doing the vital 3 F's: cannot feed, cannot flee or fight, or cannot fuck, then it loses the race for all eternity. Assuming the other competitors (species) can do these things, they're all 'winning'. They're all successful, whether they're 'advanced' in some aspect, or 'behind' in some other. There are no relative components here; it's absolute. They're either winning, or they're extinct.


As as humans, we are very good at navigating these selections.


No, we're not exceptional in the slightest in that regard. All extant species have successfully navigated those selection pressures. That's what it means to be an extant species.


Myrtonos wrote: Not only can we feed, but we can cook food, and so spend less time chewing it, and can digest it with less effort.


And yet we don't have two stomachs, have no built in rumen to pre-digest our food, and suffer deaths from a combined trachea and oesophagus.

Cherrypicking's fun when you're just after cherries, but if you want to make claims about the distribution of fruit in a landscape, you can't just look at one tree.


Myrtonos wrote: And we have prevented many other animals from doing at least one of the three vital F's and thus making them extinct.


The same could be said for all other animals ever.


Myrtonos wrote: For example, other animals can't fight against human hunters because we can hunt them from a distance, they can't hunt us, in order to do so, they would have to come right up to us, and many humans either flee from them or shoot them before they get too close.


And then hunters still die every year through failing to kill from a distance and being torn to shreds from an animal that gets in close. Dem cherries!

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/p ... 64096.html

'Poacher hunting big cats' mauled to death by lions in South Africa

Police are investigating if a man killed and eaten by a pride of lions at a private game reserve in South Africa was a poacher who had been hunting big cats.

His screams for help raised the alarm but the lions quickly killed the man and devoured most of his body before being chased off.

The head was left untouched and is the only means available to police of identifying the man who was carrying no documents.

It comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn in nearby Namibia.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:So yeah, it's a trivial observation that humans can build amazing stuff that lets us do things our bodies never evolved for, but that doesn't actually make us 'more successful' on some undefined hodgepodge of ideas intimating an absolute scale.


It has allowed us to hunt so many animals to (near) extinction, no other animal can hunt humans to extinction. Yes many people have been killed or even been eaten by wild animals. But a human with a weapon such as an arrow or especially a gun will beat many four legged animals, even if they can run faster.


Allowed us to hunt so many animals to extinction = 'rule over animals'

This is what I mean. You refuse to revise your arguments even when they're challenged, and simply restate them as before.

Give an average person a bow or a gun and set them on a tiger. Who do you think wins?

In reality, the individual human needs to be reasonably exceptional even among HUMANS to be able to kill a predator even with a gun. Whereas, all mature lions are individually capable of killing a typical human who lacks the requisite skills or is too stressed or just plain unlucky with their one shot.

But these discussions are really silly, I am going to stop replying to them from now on, just striking through to show what they're worth in my estimation. If I want to talk about who wins a fight between an X and Y, I'll do so with my 5 year old son.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water, and other necessities available in the environment. In population biology, carrying capacity is defined as the environment's maximal load...


I wasn't asking what carrying capacity means, I just wasn't sure about something else you mean that mentions carrying capacity.


Well, you kind of did ask what it meant - first you misused the term, then I explained the mistake, then you said you didn't understand what I meant.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:They don't need to carry food. They're flying about collecting it as and when. What else were they supposed to be doing?


Apparently some birds do carry food.


And?

It's becoming something like an argumentative version of whack-a-mole. Error pops up, it gets knocked down, then another pops up in its place. What exactly do you think albatrosses are flying about for?


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Balderdash, we've evolved dramatically. Evolution doesn't stop. If you think it does, you need to understand that evolution is about the distribution of alleles in a population, not some Great Chain of Being.


In the past 10,000 years or so, we haven't evolved that much,...


Please don't assert bullshit as fact at me in my own discipline. You're wrong. Not slightly wrong, just plain wrong. Go learn what evolution is. Evolution hasn't stopped or slowed down one iota. We've evolved plenty, thanks all the same.


Myrtonos wrote:but lifestyle has changed alot, think of the rise of farming and later cities. In fact, we hardly evolved at all between the rise of farming and the rise of cities.


Yes, you said all this before and I responded to it.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:I want to hear you tell me that sapiens rules the world next time you finally manage to pull yourself out of bed after 5 days of the effects of influenza.


It seems you are thinking about the individual level, what about the collective level?


Collectively, influenza kills up to 750,000 people a year globally. So tell me again how sapiens über alles. Considering it is literally your argument - that humans shooting shit and burning stuff down equates to being dominant - then it's funny how you suddenly refuse to apply it when it doesn't serve your position.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Hair nets and watches have exactly the same thing to do with 'it' as airplanes, constitutions, and moon-landings.


Airplanes can achieve much greater speeds than any animate being can naturally accomplish,...


Repeated errors make for poor arguments.

1) You only started talking about speed when your previous absolutist argument was shown to be trivially wrong.
2) Humans are animate beings.
3) Humans accomplish design and production of airplanes with wholly natural means.

Or are you trying to claim that magic is involved in the workings of aircraft? Because that's the opposite of 'natural'.


Myrtonos wrote:... and at such speeds can achieve heights well in excess of what any land animal (including humans) can naturally accomplish.


It's like playing Top Trumps with banal observations.

Humans are exceptional because we can fly higher than anything else! :lol:


Myrtonos wrote: Commercial jet planes can even fly higher than any flying animal.


Because flying animals were trying to fly higher.... and because flying animals needed to fly higher... and because.... because all the things that have already been explained to you about the banality and bizarreness of your arguments.


Myrtonos wrote: Hair net and watches are neither weapons, nor conveyance devices.


Dat wet water again.


Myrtonos wrote: Constitutions might not be weapons nor conveyance devices but they do help with co-operation with coutless strangers, for the very reason(s) that Dr. Harari says in his book, I know his book is quite simplified, but that doesn't mean that's not quite the case.


Doesn't mean it IS the case either. That's why arguments need to be made, rather than irrelevant observations stacked together with an irrelevant solution being nominally derived from them.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Millions of years, radical departure. These two concepts are in contradiction.


What I mean is that the way hominids lived diverged greatly from the way all other animals have ever lived. Walking upright on two legs, and pretty much all the time, more often than any of the great apes.


Ostriches want a word with you, as do all the other bipedal animals which somehow fail to become special even though they're bipedal too.

As I said to you many times. If you want to make an argument for human exceptionalism, perhaps don't choose traits which aren't unique to humans?

Of course, one wonders what the utility would be for a crocodile to walk on two legs, but as I think we've firmly established now, such not-even-nuance will simply be dismissed as the pea moves to another shell.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:In reality, it's not Homo sapiens that learned to use fire, it was over a million years ago with erectus. Over generations and species, our lineage slowly developed control over fire. Ergo, not a radical departure, but a progression.
While sapiens can certainly build more sophisticated tools than their forebears, so their forebears could build more sophisticated tools than theirs, and so on for quite some time. Ergo, progression, no departure.


I didn't say it was sapiens that learned to use fire.


You said 'humans' and every other time you used humans, you've used it in context of Homo sapiens.


Myrtonos wrote: It may be a progression, but being able to use more sophisticated tools than any other animal ever has was part of the radical departure.


Contradiction in terms: more of something is not a radical departure by definition.


Myrtonos wrote:Among those tools were flint sticks, which could be used to light fire, something no other animal could ever do. Developing control of fire did lead to a radical departure, due to a dependable source of heat and light, and powerful weapon against other animals such as lions.


More repetition.


Myrtonos wrote:What is radical about this is that species of genus homo, over time, diverged greatly from all other animals ever lived in lifestyle.


As did all other animals. Another pointlessly banal observation.


Myrtonos wrote:To illustrate the success of sapiens, consider the fact that the great apes most closely related to us are confined to sub-Saharan Africa, like zebras, giraffes and the larger of the two extant Elephants, the latter being the largest extant land animals. Elephants are the last surviving megafauna, unless giraffes count, I'm not sure if they do.


Wut?

Firstly, orangutans want a word with you, as do the massively geographically distributed hominoid ancestors of today's extant species.

Secondly, zebras are equids and are distributed all over the world.

Thirdly, elephants - as even you note - are not confined to sub-Saharan Africa, and until relatively recently were found across Eurasia and the Americas.

Fourthly, megafauna is typically defined in biological terms as an animal over 40kg, and consequently there are hundreds of species of extant megafauna, and I am surprised after talking about whales that you'd forget them considering the blue whale is the largest animal ever to live.

Finally, there's that word 'success' again. Why are you defining success in humans as distinct from other animals which are successful in exactly the same terms? I predict shell game response.


Myrtonos wrote:But for 40,000 years sapiens have long inhabited every continent north of the Antarctica, by the way, Antarctica was only discovered comparatively recently.


40,000 years is the evolutionary equivalent of a gnat's fart.
Ants have inhabited all the continents bar Antarctica for over 100 million years.
Penguins 'discovered' Antarctica 40 million years ago, as did thousands of other species. But we only care when humans did it, right?


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:With agriculture, human nomadic groups roved around seasonally available crops, first adding to their dispersal unintentionally, then cultivating them to increase their ranges, then finally settling down near those sources, then eking out a meager existence farming them, then generationally improving techniques and tools in a progression sometimes lost through human or natural activities until we arrive at mechanical automation and chemistry, coopted for agriculture.


This is something that sapiens has achieved that no other animal has ever done.


Another absolutist declaration made in confidence, but sadly also in ignorance of relevant facts.


Myrtonos wrote: No other kind of animal has ever produced its own food, as far as we know, even other species of genus homo never did.


As far as YOU know, perhaps... but as far as factual reality knows, there are plenty of examples wholly in contradiction to your confident assertion. Ants again, for example, started farming 50 million years ago. That's around the time basal primates evolved. Ants also rear and nurture aphids. In fact, there are symbiotic relationships between ants and dozens of species stretching back millions of years.

Bluntly, if you don't know this, why are you so confident in the formulation of your assertions? Is it as Darwin suggested?

Darwin wrote:Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge



Myrtonos wrote: By the way, farms are a system of human co-operation.


By the way, they're not. See ant farms. Also, see subsistence farming practiced by humans - the majority of human farming throughout history.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Radical change is not something measured across millions of years or multiple generations. Radical departure is about fundamental, structural changes occurring almost without precedent. That isn't the human story for the most part. Rather, there's a fairly slow progression throughout thousands of generations which has sped up in recent centuries.


The evolution of the ability to walk upright on two feet and use more sophisticated tools than any other animal may have happened over millions of years but was certainly without precedent, I mean tools like spears that could be used to hunt animals from a distance. Tools that could control fire (including lighting and extinguishing them) were also historically unprecedented.


Certainly, but wrong again.

How can you be so certain and wrong at the same time?

That's where I am at in this discussion now. All I am intrigued by is how you read one book then appear to consider yourself a guru on a range of topics even when exhibiting very shallow knowledge of the topic matter.


Myrtonos wrote:And finally, cooking, the best thing that fire did, made way for shorter intestines and smaller jaws,...


Repetition again, and yet more just-so fairy tales.

Factually, the gut and jaw had been getting smaller, and the human brain getting larger for millions of years in human ancestors prior to the use of fire. Ergo, your story is factually in error.


Myrtonos wrote:... and for larger brains than any other animal (at least other land animals or any flying animals) has ever had,...


And you are, once again, repeating an error that was already corrected.

Humans don't have the largest brains by any measure. You even engaged in this correction and moved your goalposts when shown wrong before, but now you've moved them back again.

No matter how confidently you state something, bullshit remains bullshit.


Myrtonos wrote: and (it seems) more flexible tongues than any other animal ever lived,...


Ooh look! A new claim!

Sadly, it's wrong too.

Giraffe, okapi, sunbears, chameleons, hummingbirds, pangolin, ant-eaters, tamandua and a host of other animals want a curly tongued word with you.

Unless, of course, you can stick your tongue down a twisty hole to slurp up ants, or use your tongue to stretch past long spines and strip leaves off a tree?


Myrtonos wrote:so we could develop a spoken language with a wider range of sounds than pretty much any other animal can produce.


1) Banal, only humans have a spoken language that would be considered as such by humans
2) Many other animals can make a vastly wider range of sounds than humans. Go have a sing-off with a lyrebird. Bet you can't make 1% of the sounds it can make.

You keep making statements that are patently false.


Myrtonos wrote: Yes, I know parrots can be trained to talk like humans, but our kind still has an communicative advantage over the that isn't vocal.


Yes, I know I am wrong, but I am still right if you just ignore the bits which are wrong.


Myrtonos wrote:A non-human primate may be able to vocalise a call to fellow band members warnings of dangers like eagles and lions, say if an eagle or lion is coming. But a modern human can tell friends and relatives something like that they can see an Eagle flying over the river, or a cheetah tracking a herd of wilderbeast. They can describe the specific location and paths leading to that area and together, a band or tribe of humans can discuss what to do, whether to chase away the cheetah and hunt the wilderbeast.


It's funny because I am now beginning to see the bits of Harari's book you are rehashing. This was a section about cognition, not about language. Obviously, because language cannot exist without the cognitive apparatus to understand it.


Myrtonos wrote:Human language can also describe things that aren't even objective realities, like gods, myths, legends, religious beliefs.


Humans can make up shit. Therefore, humans über alles! :D


Myrtonos wrote:And the rise of farming and later cities, this was indeed radical change relative to the rate of evolution.


No it wasn't. Please provide a credible citation of a study from a peer-reviewed journal to support your claim, or cease stating falsehoods as fact. Harari didn't make this claim: this one is wholly on you and it's because you don't understand that evolution doesn't operate like Pokemon.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:As I've already complained: the term 'successful' here is perfectly opaque. What does success mean? Are you going to apply human centric metrics of success to compare against other animals again? Or are you going to acknowledge now that you need to be thinking about what paradigm you're operating under?


What I mean is that sapiens dominate every long inhabited continent and keep animals of many other kinds on farms and lock yet other kinds up in zoos and laboratories


How is it you can repeatedly fail to define a term you keep using?

Success isn't 'can dominate continents' (whatever that is supposed to mean) or 'keep other animals on farms' any more than success means 'can juggle and play the xylophone'. At best, you're question-begging.

Thus, please define what success means or actually acknowledge that success in terms of biology is nothing like the same meaning you're using it for.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Please cite a peer-reviewed article in a science journal showing that 'our hands are completely adapted to tool use'.


To what else would our hands be adapted?!?


:lol:

Such replies should indicate to you why you need to stop ad hoc rationalizing and start listening, because you are sorely lacking in a suite of requisite information and knowledge.

The reason why I asked you was to show that you just made this up wholesale. Your reply is sneaky, I'll give you that, but it's also transparent to someone who knows what they're talking about.

Human hands are no more 'completely evolved for tool use' than noses are 'completely evolved to wear glasses'. Amusingly, you are once again engaging in religious teleological argumentation that is wholly antithetical to science, and even more amusingly, such nonsensical gum-flapping was parodied hundreds of years ago by Voltaire.

Dr Pangloss wrote:It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles — thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings — and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles — therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Pigs were made to be eaten — therefore we eat pork all the year round.


As I already educated you before in the very post you're supposedly replying to: all primates use their hands to forage and eat - remember the 3 F's? - and that long evolutionary heritage was co-opted by humans, together with the dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and relevant cognitive processes in the making of tools many tens of thousands of years after the modern human hand's anatomy evolved.

Rather, what actually happened, albeit ambiguously in details, is that human ancestors used their hands in much the same way as their other primate ancestors. To pick up food and place it in their mouths, to move obstacles out of the way, to wrestle with their fellows, to carry objects about, to hit out when attacked and so on... this suite of behaviors was already in place and coopted by early tool users then manufacturers. The fact that other primate species use tools should give you a clue that using tools does not a 'perfectly evolved for tool use hand' make.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Incidentally, one of the earlier errors you made but which I left considering the number I already had to deal with is the notion that other apes are 'completely adapted to knuckle-walking'. They're not. Our common ancestor was already at least partially bipedal, and this is hardly surprising given that all primates readily stand on their hind legs and use their front legs for foraging. It's a characteristic vastly more ancient than sapiens or even Homo.


The great apes don't stand on their hindlegs as often as humans.


Here we go again. Absolute claim made. Claim challenged on factual grounds. Claim recapitulated in relative fashion. I am not sure why you find this form of argument so compelling, but I have to tell you that it's not compelling for me.


Myrtonos wrote:Okay, I didn't say that apes are completely adapted to knuckle walking but still partly adapted to it and less adapted to tool making and tool use.


You're misusing terms because you're operating under a faulty paradigm. I've tried to explain this to you, but you're not interested in learning why you're producing so many errors.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:And the point therein of this banal observation is...?


The ability to control fires set humans apart from other animals because of power of fire, as explained above.


And the use of exothermic chemical reactions for defense systems sets bombadier beetles apart.
And the use of a water-soluble mucus sac which can last through years of drought set Pyxie frogs apart.
And the use of toughened inner mouth tissue and robust digestive system which allow peccaries to eat spiny cactuses set them apart.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Cherries are only exceptional if only cherry characteristics are permitted to be exceptional.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:The only way the usage of this word would have any semantic sense is if you're comparing the skills of human and other animals when it comes to employing ranged weapons.


No other animal is capable of making their own spears, let alone bows and arrows. Most aren't even capable of throwing spears or arrows.


Porcupines. Next.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:And, imagine for a moment that I gave you several hours with any material you liked to whip yourself up a weapon. Then you faced off against a hungry lion. How do you see that going? Would you expect to 'outperform' the lion?


I'm not sure what you mean.


Funny how you suddenly don't know what I mean when you can't think of a way to evade acknowledging an error.

What's so difficult here. Your claim was that because humans can manufacture weapons, they can 'outperform' anything that runs on four legs (your wording).

So I give you the opportunity to prepare for hours with all the materials you like, then you stroll into an arena with a lion.

What's the outcome, would you say?

I would suggest you'd be taken down before you knew what hit you.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:You have a strange notion that 'rule' means 'capable of [defecating] on things'. I don't understand the word 'rule' the same way as you use it.


No I don't.


Or the way other people use it.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Well, to clarify what? I don't have the vaguest idea what your argument is. At present it seems to be something like humans are the most successful because we can intentionall burn down local environments with fire and other animals can't, also we're good at stabbing them.


This is indeed sort of what I am am saying and Dr. Harari has too, especially in one of his books.


I've read the two relevant books, and I don't recall it. Fancy finding it and citing it? Otherwise, I think I'll withhold belief on that contention and just consider it you who said it.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Otherwise, excuse me saying, but aren't you just repeating what you read in Harari's book? While I am not saying he's wrong, many of the topics he sweeps over aren't plumbed very deeply they're more just an overview for non-experts employed in the service of making a particular argument.


While I don't entirely get what you are saying, but yes, it is based on what is mentioned in sapiens.


Do you see any problem with reading just one book, written by a non-specialist, for a non-specialist audience being the solitary source you have for all the information you appear to want to expound to others?

For example, wouldn't it be even slightly necessary to read the original peer-reviewed scientific articles and studies that Harari references in his book to verify they support what he is saying?

Similarly, if you had read A Brief History of Time by Hawking, do you think it would furnish you with sufficient knowledge to argue about cosmology and physics with a professional physicist? Do you think a book written for non-specialists would furnish you sufficiently to contend on the subject matter with specialists who haven't just read one book, but have spent their lives studying the subject?



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:So perhaps you might want to mention your source in the original post, because it really seems like a list of statements without anything underlying them. Harari had a coherent argument running throughout his book: an agenda to explain aspects of human history in what he considers to be a useful framework for a non-specialist audience.


But I'm saying something like he says, yet you claim I'm wrong, how could he not be?


Something like he says =/= what he actually said.
Also, what he said is complex - on the one hand, he's using simple synopses of other people's work towards his own argument. You're then taking his simplified synopses and making another argument. Are you sure that works? On the other hand, Harari spends thousands of words setting out the remit of meaning, on explaining why he does what he does and acknowledging the limits and flaws in his approach. You don't make any such admissions yet you're basing literally everything you say on your memory of his book.

Finally, he is wrong, or at least not right, in many cases. It's very rare even for a specialist to make no errors whatsoever in a long book in their own subject. Harari's subject is history, not palaeoanthropology, not early hominid sociobehavior, not comparative anatomy, not the dozens of fields you have wandered through here, so he's not a legitimate source, and I can assure you, he wouldn't claim to be.

That's why his book is published for non-specialists. He has the will and ability to write well. He's fascinated by all the stuff leading up to history. And he has an opinion, a perspective he wants to share. But none of this means he's right, neither his argument nor his premises, and your rendition of even his work is not comprehensive or accurate. So there are plenty of ways in which you can be wrong while he's not, and both of you can be wrong, and even more ways in which both of you can be not quite right.

I've studied humans my entire adult life. I wouldn't be able to easily run out a book trying to convey the entire sweep of human evolutionary and pre-history. I also expect I'd make numerous errors and would need to brush up in so many topics, the project would take me years to complete. But you seem to think just by reading one book your knowledge is sufficient to exhibit such confidence even when confronted with contradictory facts. I will inevitably find that permanently perplexing.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:What do you mean 'what intelligent life' - are you under the outlandish notion that only Homo sapiens exhibit intelligence?


No, it is just common knowledge that homo sapiens exhibit greater intelligence than any other animal ever has.


And again. The challenged absolute pea gets shuffled around until it's under the relative shell.

Let's watch it in isolation:

It can't be related to the topic thread question because, as mentioned already, the evolution of intelligent life predates humanity by hundreds of millions of years, so focusing on humans seems odd content in a thread so titled.

What intelligent life

What do you mean 'what intelligent life' - are you under the outlandish notion that only Homo sapiens exhibit intelligence?

No, just 'more'.

It's perfectly binary.

Either a) you contend that humans are the only intelligent life
or b) you acknowledge that non-human animals also exhibit intelligence

If b, then when did intelligence evolve? Assuming you acknowledge that other species haven't evolved from humans, then logically human intelligence is retained from evolutionary forebears which also possessed intelligence.

Assuming the latter, your response to my initial question should have been something like "I wasn't clear before, I meant 'the evolution of human intelligence'" or somesuch acknowledgement of the obfuscatory nature of your initial statement.

Instead, you've changed your argument again to a comparative: 'more'. Worse, that argument was already challenged and you didn't sufficiently address it before.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Because pyramids suddenly became a yard-stick in something? Intelligence?

Ants, as we've already seen assuming that links have been read, have built structures hundreds of miles long - considerably bigger than the pyramids. The Argentine ant, as we have already seen, is essentially a globe-spanning mega-colony comprising the most populous recorded society ever on Earth, be it human or otherwise.


Then how could Dr. Harari not be wrong?


I am not sure. Does Harari claim that pyramids are a yard-stick in intelligence? Does he say that only species which build pyramids are intelligent?

If not, then that's how he could not be wrong while your previous contention would remain so.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:The point, of course, is that even if every single thing you said was true (which it factually isn't) there's still little rhyme or reason underpinning it. Wouldn't it work out better if you just made a kind of thesis statement? Topic & Controlling Idea. Then, define what you mean by woolly terms like 'successful' and, while I'm giving advice, modify your argument when you find out that your propositions are wrong.


I didn't realise that 'successful' was such a "woolly" term.


Well, it assuredly is the way you've used it. As I've explained to you, there's a paradigm here under which your claims are operating. That paradigm is comparative evolution. Considering we're talking about biology, then success is measured in survival. All species play the same game, we just have different strategies. Those which went extinct were unsuccessful (often purely by bad luck rather than by actually being deficient), while those which have survived are 'successful'.

In those terms, perhaps an argument could be made about success in terms of how long a species remains on the planet, especially given the fact that 99.9 percent of all species in planet Earth's history have gone extinct. That means we 0.1% are all successful by definition.

You could approach this in a number of different ways, for example looking at efficiency - or how many resources a population relies on for its survival and consequently how exposed to risk it is - or you could look at what degree its genes remain stable, or you could look at the diversity of daughter species that evolve from it... there could be many definitions applicable for 'success', but the one you're using, aside from not being defined at all, is just a begged question. List stuff humans do, call it unique to humans, then claim that as indicative of humans being most successful.

It's just not convincing.
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Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:37 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Dragan Glas wrote:Cats have twice as many neurons as dogs, despite having a overall smaller brain than dogs.


And to plumb the subjectivity being employed throughout this thread, I expect most humans would consider dogs more intelligent simply because they do what humans tell them more often than cats.


Dragan Glas wrote: Also, Neanderthals had bigger brains than us but probably weren't any more intelligent.


Or could have been intelligent in ways we aren't, or even in ways we can't imagine. That's not to say it's the case, but comparative intelligence is an extremely difficult question to address even among H. sapiens.


Dragan Glas wrote:As regards who "rules the world", given that bacteria comprise 80% of life on Earth, it's mostly likely they who "rule".


All Hail the Mighty Streptococcus!


And it should be noted that for every human cell in our body, there are nine microorganisms, which form the microbiome that helps guide our behaviour, amongst other things [Collen 2015; Yong 2016]. More recently, scientists have discovered an "exposome" - a "cloud" of bacteria, viruses, pollen, etc, - that surrounds us.

So, who's in control - the human or the microbiome/exposome?


I need an emoticon with an animated eye-brow raise here.


Dragan Glas wrote:And then there's the deleterious effect of modern medicine on our microbiome, which can leave us susceptible to illness due to the destabilizing of our internal ecosystem [Blaser 2015].

How "intelligent" does that make us?


The answer so far posited is: we smash stuff, we clever.
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Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:41 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Myrtonos

This video is very dear to me for reasons I won't go into right now.

However....



Do you think this video establishes that humans are faster at climbing trees than chimpanzees?
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Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:46 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

About that paradigm...

Adaptationism:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/adaptationism/

“Adaptationism” refers to a family of views about the importance of natural selection in the evolution of organisms, in the construction of evolutionary explanations, and in defining the goal of research on evolution. Advocates of adaptationism or “adaptationists” view natural selection among individuals within a population as the only important cause of the evolution of a trait; they also typically believe that the construction of explanations based solely on natural selection to be the most fruitful way of making progress in evolutionary biology and that this endeavor addresses the most important goal of evolutionary biology, which is to understand the evolution of adaptations. An important alternative approach, “pluralism”, invokes historical contingency and developmental and genetic constraints, in addition to natural selection, as important causes of the evolution of a trait. Advocates of pluralism, or “pluralists” often also argue that the attempt to construct a natural-selective explanation of a trait is not the most fruitful way to make explanatory progress and that understanding adaptation is just one of several important questions in evolutionary biology. The “debate” over adaptationism is commonly understood to be the back-and-forth between adaptationists and pluralists.



Teleology in evolutionary narratives:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology ... _evolution

Religious thinkers and biologists have repeatedly supposed that evolution was driven by some kind of life force, a philosophy known as vitalism, and have often supposed that it had some kind of goal or direction (towards which the life force was striving, if they also believed in that), known as orthogenesis or evolutionary progress. Such goal-directedness implies a long-term teleological force; some supporters of orthogenesis considered it to be a spiritual force, while others held that it was purely biological.



Problems with teleology in evolution:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology ... ry_biology

Apparent teleology is a recurring issue in evolutionary biology,[30] much to the consternation of some writers,[31] and as an explanatory style it remains controversial.[31] There are various reasons for discomfort with teleology among biologists.[1][32]

Firstly, the concept of adaptation is itself controversial, as it can be taken to imply, as the evolutionary biologists Stephen J. Gould and Richard Lewontin argued, that biologists agree with Voltaire's Doctor Pangloss in his 1759 satire Candide that this is "the best of all possible worlds", in other words that every trait is perfectly suited to its functions.[33] However, all that evolutionary biology requires is the weaker claim that one trait is at least slightly better in a certain context than another, and hence is selected for.

Secondly, teleology is linked to the pre-Darwinian idea of natural theology, that the natural world gives evidence of the conscious design and beneficent intentions of a creator, as in the writings of John Ray.[1] William Derham continued Ray's tradition with books such as his 1713 Physico-Theology and his 1714 Astro-Theology.[34] They in turn influenced William Paley who wrote a detailed teleological argument for God in 1802, Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature,[35] starting with the Watchmaker analogy.[36] Such creationism, along with a vitalist life-force and directed orthogenetic evolution, has been rejected by most biologists.[1]

Thirdly, attributing purposes to adaptations risks confusion with popular forms of Lamarckism where animals in particular have been supposed to influence their own evolution through their intentions, though Lamarck himself spoke rather of habits of use, and the belief that his thinking was teleological has been challenged.[37][38][39]

Fourthly, the teleological explanation of adaptation is uncomfortable because it seems to require backward causation, in which existing traits are explained by future outcomes; because it seems to attribute the action of a conscious mind when none is assumed to be present in an organism; and because, as a result, adaptation looks impossible to test empirically.[1]

A fifth reason concerns students rather than researchers: Gonzalez Galli argues that since people naturally imagine that evolution has a purpose or direction, then the use of teleological language by scientists may act as an obstacle to students when learning about natural selection. Such language, he argues, should be removed to make teaching more effective.[40]



Scala naturae:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_chain_of_being

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_cha ... _evolution

... Radical thinkers like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck saw a progression of life forms from the simplest creatures striving towards complexity and perfection, a schema accepted by zoologists like Henri de Blainville.[11] The very idea of an ordering of organisms, even if supposedly fixed, laid the basis for the idea of transmutation of species, for example Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.[12]

The Chain of Being continued to be part of metaphysics in 19th century education, and the concept was well known. The geologist Charles Lyell used it as a metaphor in his 1851 Elements of Geology description of the geological column, where he used the term "missing links" in relation to missing parts of the continuum. The term "missing link" later came to signify transitional fossils, particularly those bridging the gulf between man and beasts.[13]

The idea of the great chain as well as the derived "missing link" was abandoned in early 20th century science,[14] as the notion of modern animals representing ancestors of other modern animals was abandoned in biology.[15] The idea of a certain sequence from "lower" to "higher" however lingers on, as does the idea of progress in biology.



What evolution actually is:

In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.


- Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974
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Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:57 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3209Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Greetings,

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Cats have twice as many neurons as dogs, despite having a overall smaller brain than dogs.

And to plumb the subjectivity being employed throughout this thread, I expect most humans would consider dogs more intelligent simply because they do what humans tell them more often than cats.

Seung had made the comment about cat's neurons in his book, Connectome - but, in typical fashion, I can't find it now, and the index doesn't help, so I had to go with another source.

Also, a recent article pointed out - as you note - that we may put more store in dogs' intellegence because they do what we tell them. Again, can I find the article? Google is NOT your friend!

Edit: Found it!

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote: Also, Neanderthals had bigger brains than us but probably weren't any more intelligent.

Or could have been intelligent in ways we aren't, or even in ways we can't imagine. That's not to say it's the case, but comparative intelligence is an extremely difficult question to address even among H. sapiens.

If I remember correctly, Neanderthals Rediscovered noted that their visual cortex was more developed than ours - quite possibly to enable them to deal with the ice-covered terrain. Innuit in the Arctic tend to look behind on regular occasions to help them recognize landmarks on the return journey.

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:As regards who "rules the world", given that bacteria comprise 80% of life on Earth, it's mostly likely they who "rule".


All Hail the Mighty Streptococcus!

And it should be noted that for every human cell in our body, there are nine microorganisms, which form the microbiome that helps guide our behaviour, amongst other things [Collen 2015; Yong 2016]. More recently, scientists have discovered an "exposome" - a "cloud" of bacteria, viruses, pollen, etc, - that surrounds us.

So, who's in control - the human or the microbiome/exposome?

I need an emoticon with an animated eye-brow raise here.

You don't believe me... :sobs:

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:And then there's the deleterious effect of modern medicine on our microbiome, which can leave us susceptible to illness due to the destabilizing of our internal ecosystem [Blaser 2015].

How "intelligent" does that make us?

The answer so far posited is: we smash stuff, we clever.

"Hassan CHOP!!" - Looney Toons cartoon.

Sparhafoc wrote:What evolution actually is:

In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.


- Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974

So, you have to read nearly a thousand pages before they define evolution - no wonder Creationists don't accept it: they give up reading before they get to it! :lol:

Kindest regards,

James
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Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:48 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Dragan Glas wrote:Seung had made the comment about cat's neurons in his book, Connectome - but, in typical fashion, I can't find it now, and the index doesn't help, so I had to go with another source.

Also, a recent article pointed out - as you note - that we may put more store in dogs' intellegence because they do what we tell them. Again, can I find the article? Google is NOT your friend!

Edit: Found it!


Awesome!

Yep, this line is exactly what i was thinking about:

The study examined more than 300 papers on the intelligence of dogs and other animals, and found several cases of "over interpretation" in favour of dogs' abilities.


I have long believed, and this thread has confirmed it many times over, that humans over-interpret human behaviors too, not least by making us the measure by which to compare other species to us, and utterly fail to recognize the similarities existing throughout the natural world.


Dragan Glas wrote:You don't believe me... :sobs:


:lol: Noooo, wrong kind of eyebrow raise! I can't remember which site it was on, but I used to have a smiley to hand that conveyed a wonderful sense cheekily knowing appreciation.


Dragan Glas wrote:So, you have to read nearly a thousand pages before they define evolution - no wonder Creationists don't accept it: they give up reading before they get to it! :lol:


:D



Out of chronological order, but this topic is interesting:

If I remember correctly, Neanderthals Rediscovered noted that their visual cortex was more developed than ours - quite possibly to enable them to deal with the ice-covered terrain. Innuit in the Arctic tend to look behind on regular occasions to help them recognize landmarks on the return journey.


I don't have time to go into this right at the moment, but there are plenty of indications that Neanderthals had a subtle mind capable of complex cognitive behaviors. Unfortunately, it took nigh on a century before even experts stopped conceiving of them as dumb beasts.
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Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:33 am
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Myrtonos wrote:This sounds like one human versus one tiger. But put a few thousand humans against a few thousand tigers and humans would win.


I am torn in amusement between the juvenile conceit underpinning this notion, and the ourtageous absurdity of it.

One tiger beats one human, but one hundred tigers don't beat one hundred humans? :lol:

Even if every single human there all somehow instantly banded together, developed a leadership structure, a strategy and could somehow communicate tactics and orders across their thousands, they still won't beat the tigers. Tigers, you see, have these sharp bits on them that are really quite good at crunching, smushing, squishing, ravaging, and disemboweling.

Humans don't. Humans are quite good at social grooming, and could probably out-gossip the tigers given time, but it's unlikely they'd have the time.

In this hilariously dopey scenario, the WIN condition for humans is to not get killed, not to beat up all the kitty cats with their super-duper power of cooperating.

In fact, it's more than likely that any tigers that do actually die would have been killed by other tigers, because although you didn't specify much about your fantasy arena match, I can be pretty sure you want to stack absolutely everything in favour of the humans (like all sharing the same language, being idyllically agreeable and like-minded, and all superb physical specimens), and have the tigers all be unfamiliar male rivals and probably the arena floor sprayed with estrus-laden female tiger urine just for good measure.

So let's see, my estimation in a arena brawl between 1000 tigers and 1000 humans would be:

Homo sapiens: Deaths 1000, kills 1 (one tiger was momentarily distracted by the flailing human it was chowing down on that it didn't notice another tiger going for its jugular - so let's give that one to humans)

Tigers: Deaths 100, kills 1099.


Ahhh, you say, but humans make bazookas and tanks, so obviously the humans should all have bazookas and tanks! It's only fair: that's what makes humans special, after all!

What do you mean they don't have the keys to the tanks, know how to drive tanks or use bazookas...?

Ahhhh, but with their exemplary powers combined, they can have someone Google it. Humans, you'll tell me, made Google... but tigers don't know how to use Google, and they couldn't press the keys anyway lacking those exemplary human fingers! And anyway, you will assure me, tigers simply don't buy smartphones.

And that would suddenly have been your point all along: Tigers don't operate retail facilities, therefore Homo sapiens über alles!
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Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:09 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3209Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Greetings,

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Seung had made the comment about cat's neurons in his book, Connectome - but, in typical fashion, I can't find it now, and the index doesn't help, so I had to go with another source.

Also, a recent article pointed out - as you note - that we may put more store in dogs' intelligence because they do what we tell them. Again, can I find the article? Google is NOT your friend!

Edit: Found it!

Awesome!

Yep, this line is exactly what i was thinking about:

The study examined more than 300 papers on the intelligence of dogs and other animals, and found several cases of "over interpretation" in favour of dogs' abilities.


I have long believed, and this thread has confirmed it many times over, that humans over-interpret human behaviors too, not least by making us the measure by which to compare other species to us, and utterly fail to recognize the similarities existing throughout the natural world.

Indeed - speaking of which:

Humans not smarter than animals, just different, experts say

;)

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:You don't believe me... :sobs:

:lol: Noooo, wrong kind of eyebrow raise! I can't remember which site it was on, but I used to have a smiley to hand that conveyed a wonderful sense cheekily knowing appreciation.

Ah, that's a relief!

Sparhafoc wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:So, you have to read nearly a thousand pages before they define evolution - no wonder Creationists don't accept it: they give up reading before they get to it! :lol:


:D

Out of chronological order, but this topic is interesting:

If I remember correctly, Neanderthals Rediscovered noted that their visual cortex was more developed than ours - quite possibly to enable them to deal with the ice-covered terrain. Innuit in the Arctic tend to look behind on regular occasions to help them recognize landmarks on the return journey.


I don't have time to go into this right at the moment, but there are plenty of indications that Neanderthals had a subtle mind capable of complex cognitive behaviors. Unfortunately, it took nigh on a century before even experts stopped conceiving of them as dumb beasts.

Regarding the visual cortex:

Neanderthal brawn lost out to social human brain

A more recent study:

Scientists set eyes on Neanderthal 'brain'

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:17 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Dragan Glas wrote:Indeed - speaking of which:

Humans not smarter than animals, just different, experts say

;)


Aye, indeed...

Henneberg wrote:The fact that they do not build houses is irrelevant to the gibbons.


:lol:

It's almost like Prof Henneberg was replying to this thread.

Sadly, in a way, he was. This is far from the first time I've run through the human exceptionalism spiel. I've heard it even from extremely well educated people. It's no different than American Exceptionalism, or Christian Exceptionalism: ignore all comparative similarities, employ subjective contrived metrics, never acknowledge falsehoods. I don't know why some people find this intellectual chauvinism so compelling; perhaps it's just something we humans are exceptional at! ;)



Dragan Glas wrote:Regarding the visual cortex:

Neanderthal brawn lost out to social human brain

A more recent study:

Scientists set eyes on Neanderthal 'brain'



I will try and come back to this when I have time as it's basically the topic of my master's thesis so I have a lot to say, and so much new evidence of Neanderthal cognitive abilities have come to light in the intervening decades.
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Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:00 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3491Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Dragan Glas wrote:And it should be noted that for every human cell in our body, there are nine microorganisms, which form the microbiome that helps guide our behaviour, amongst other things [Collen 2015; Yong 2016]. More recently, scientists have discovered an "exposome" - a "cloud" of bacteria, viruses, pollen, etc, - that surrounds us.


Actually, that is probably not right. It is more like one-to-one, which is still really impressive.
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SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

A 'reference man' (one who is 70 kilograms, 20–30 years old and 1.7 metres tall) contains on average about 30 trillion human cells and 39 trillion bacteria....

“The numbers are similar enough that each defecation event may flip the ratio to favour human cells over bacteria,”


A 9 trillion cell dump? :lol:
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Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:00 am
MyrtonosPosts: 86Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

I'll try to clarify how humans have, over time, diverged from all other animals, and quite radically so. Only humans walk upright on two legs virtually every time they walk, the only fully bipedal mammals, apart from hopping ones. And only humans have hands fully adapted to tool use and not knuckle walking. And only humans have control over forces as obedient and potentially powerful as fire. Finally, only humans are adapted to eating cooked food, with shorter intestines (at least in relative length) and smaller jaws in relative size than other herbivorous or omnivorous mammals. And in turn, Sapiens have bigger brain capacity in relative size than any other animal.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:31 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3209Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Greetings,

he_who_is_nobody wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:And it should be noted that for every human cell in our body, there are nine microorganisms, which form the microbiome that helps guide our behaviour, amongst other things [Collen 2015; Yong 2016]. More recently, scientists have discovered an "exposome" - a "cloud" of bacteria, viruses, pollen, etc, - that surrounds us.

Actually, that is probably not right. It is more like one-to-one, which is still really impressive.

Interesting - pity it was just published after the books!

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:52 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Myrtonos wrote:I'll try to clarify how humans have, over time, diverged from all other animals, and quite radically so.


No. You'll try to make a case, not clarify.

I want to be clear here, Myrtonos. You're just repeating things you read in a single book; you're not a source of reliable knowledge or authority.

One reason why you can't be taken as reliable is because you're unwilling to acknowledge errors and amend claims based on that.


Myrtonos wrote: Only humans walk upright on two legs virtually every time they walk,...


False, and you're repeating a mistake you already made and had corrected.

Ostriches, as with all birds, are also bipedal. All flightless birds are bipedal.


Myrtonos wrote:... the only fully bipedal mammals, apart from hopping ones.


:lol:

Why is hopping important? Of course, it's so you can pick your cherries.

So humans are NOT the only fully bipedal animals, because dozens of species of macropodiformes and many rodents are also bipedal. Hopping or not is completely irrelevant.


Myrtonos wrote: And only humans have hands fully adapted to tool use...


You claimed this before.

I challenged it asking you to cite relevant scientific articles, you failed to do so, and I believe you appealed to some kind of 'everyone knows' form of argument.

You then changed your argument to be a little more cautious, as usual, by claiming sapiens hands are 'better' or 'more' adapted to tool use than other animals.

I still pursued it because it's teleological hogwash contradicting biological evolution but you failed to address any of that, instead appealing to ignorance even though we're not actually ignorant.

Now you're back making the same erroneous absolutist claim.

No, you're wrong. Human hands are not 'fully adapted to tool use'; your Panglossian just-so stories notwithstanding. Science isn't a religious enterprise, so your declarations' value is measured by how accurately they correspond to evidence.



Myrtonos wrote: and not knuckle walking.


You wouldn't even be able to show that gorillas or chimpanzees' hands are adapted to knuckle-walking.

In reality, both are partially bipedal and share a common ancestor with humans that was itself bipedal.

But do keep talking hogwash at someone who's studied this all their lives.


Myrtonos wrote:And only humans have control over forces as obedient and potentially powerful as fire.


More repetition, and more repetition of previously challenged errors.

All manner of animals have control over various elements of the natural world, whether it be venom, fluid or aero-dynamics, or exothermic chemical reactions produced in their own bodies.

Fire, far from being obedient, has already been shown in this thread to be responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand people a year - and that's in the modern world!

Do you think repeating errors will magically make them become true?


Myrtonos wrote: Finally, only humans are adapted to eating cooked food,...


No, we're not. The entire point of cooking food is that it takes less digestive effort than non-cooked food. Any animal can eat cooked food, no adaptation required.

You have, once again, got the wrong end of the stick.


Myrtonos wrote:... with shorter intestines (at least in relative length) and smaller jaws in relative size than other herbivorous or omnivorous mammals.


Citation, please.

Of course, factually, I already know this is completely false, but you being unable to furnish a source for it may achieve something that I apparently can't - getting through to you that you are making repetitive errors and refusing to acknowledge reality.

As an interesting aside, humans and elephants actually have the same ratio of digestive tract length to body length; about seven times the length of our bodies. Factually, we're somewhere in the middle of the group of omnivores, average when it comes to intestine to body size. Outliers are extremely different with treeshrews having intestines only slightly longer than their bodies, and orangutan intestines being about 10 times their body length.

There's reality obstructing your head long dash. Are you planning to run face first into it again? Interested to see how you wiggle out of this false declaration.

Same goes for comparative jaws, but as jaws perform a much wider range of tasks in different species than intestines do, there's a lot more reason for diversity.


Myrtonos wrote:And in turn, Sapiens have bigger brain capacity in relative size than any other animal.


If you want to repeat this claim again, you should first learn what you're talking about so that you make sense when you write your better-informed ideas down. We don't have a bigger brain capacity relative to anything than any other animal. I already explained this to you before, but here you are making the same mistake again.

The Expensive Tissue hypothesis, the encephalization quotient is about brain MASS to body MASS (i.e, measured in kilograms), not brain capacity (cm3), nor size (centimetres).


Go learn stuff: stuff good.
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Last edited by Sparhafoc on Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:10 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Harari must have missed all the many papers dealing with the problems of extrapolating E.Q. out beyond primates, and certainly beyond mammals... understandable, as he's not an expert in the field.

But he's still wrong if he gives the suggestion that one can employ E.Q. ratios comparatively between a mammal and a non-mammal.

There are dozens of papers on the topic, and they started being published 3 decades ago, so it's not like this is new information or anything.


Allometry in primates with emphasis on scaling and the evolution of the brain. Gould, S. J., 1975

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/803425


Human brain evolution: II. Embryology and brain allometry. Deacon, T. W. Intelligence and Evolutionary Biology, 1988.

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.10 ... 70877-0_20


Fallacies of progression in theories of brain-size evolution. Deacon, T. W., 1990

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02192869


Given sufficient time and incentive, I would hazard a guess I could come up with over a hundred papers discussing this topic, and none of them would support your contention.


Of course, one could also familiarize oneself with allometry; what it can and can't do, how it works, and what its most powerful tools have proven to be. Then one would truly be in a position of knowledge to evaluate claims without uncritically accepting assertions as gospel truths.


Regardless, this error reinforces why one should always be prepared to fact-check even wise and scholarly authors, particularly when they are writing far outside their field of expertise.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:19 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 86Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Sparhafoc wrote:Ostriches, as with all birds, are also bipedal. All flightless birds are bipedal.

I noted that, but they are not upright.

Sparhafoc wrote:Human hands are not 'fully adapted to tool use'; your Panglossian just-so stories notwithstanding. Science isn't a religious enterprise, so your declarations' value is measured by how accurately they correspond to evidence.

Then to what else are human hands adapted?

Sparhafoc wrote:You wouldn't even be able to show that gorillas or chimpanzees' hands are adapted to knuckle-walking.

But I heard on a documentary called the Human Body that their hands are a compromise, good for knuckle walking but not tool making.The key here is thumb length, the human thumb is longer, which is advantageous for tool making and disadvantageous for knuckle-walking.

And the vast majority of four-legged animals don't make tools at all, let alone use them.

Sparhafoc wrote:In reality, both are partially bipedal and share a common ancestor with humans that was itself bipedal.

Nearly all humans are on two legs when walking, crawling on all fours is what babies do before they learn to walk on two feet.

Sparhafoc wrote:All manner of animals have control over various elements of the natural world, whether it be venom, fluid or aero-dynamics, or exothermic chemical reactions produced in their own bodies.

But humans simply have more such control than any other animal. And those chemical reactions are produced by their own bodies, but a fire lit by humans is not produced by the human bodies.

Sparhafoc wrote:Fire, far from being obedient, has already been shown in this thread to be responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand people a year - and that's in the modern world!

First of all, not all fires are lit by humans. But humans can control the location of fires lit by them, and can keep them going by putting wood on them, and can extinguish them. But other animals cannot control fire at all.

Sparhafoc wrote:The entire point of cooking food is that it takes less digestive effort than non-cooked food. Any animal can eat cooked food, no adaptation required.

But apparently, the great apes do have longer intestines as well as larger jaws. If less energy goes into digestive effort more can go into something else, such as running a bigger brain.

Sparhafoc wrote:As an interesting aside, humans and elephants actually have the same ratio of digestive tract length to body length; about seven times the length of our bodies. Factually, we're somewhere in the middle of the group of omnivores, average when it comes to intestine to body size. Outliers are extremely different with treeshrews having intestines only slightly longer than their bodies, and orangutan intestines being about 10 times their body length.

And elephants aren't very efficient at digesting the raw food they eat and need to eat a real lot every day. By the way, elephants are basically the only four legged animal with an organ of manipulation their trunks, they only have one each, it has no fingers, let alone opposable thumbs. It can pick up things but isn't suitable for making tools.

No, I am not judging other species simply by a standard only humans evolved to meet. I know other animals have been able to survive and survive well without hands or tools, and on a raw food diet. The simple fact is that there is a long list of things Sapiens are capable of doing that no other species have even been able to do, especially on the collective level.
First of all, consider the fact that Sapiens inhabit more of the world than any other land animal, apart from land animals domesticated by humans.
Also, there is farming, followed by building towns and cities. I'm not saying that we stopped evolving in that time, but the rise of farming and the rise of cities was certainly a case of lifestyle changing more within a time-frame that humans evolved within that same time-frame. The first human farmers were already homo sapiens sapiens.

It was Sapiens that built boats and later ships that could cross bodies of water no other land animal is remotely capable of crossing, unless it is put on-board by humans.

By the way, the first organism to leave the earth's atmosphere was a domestic dog called Laika. She was put on a human made satellite, and of course put there by humans. And the first organisms to ever land on the moon were human beings.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:16 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3209Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Greetings,

Just to pick up on one point:

But I heard on a documentary called the Human Body that their hands are a compromise, good for knuckle walking but not tool making.The key here is thumb length, the human thumb is longer, which is advantageous for tool making and disadvantageous for knuckle-walking.

The key difference is that we have opposable thumbs - we can touch each of our fingers with our thumb - other apes can't because they don't have this trait.

But I'm sure Sparhafoc will address this and all your other points.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:45 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Ostriches, as with all birds, are also bipedal. All flightless birds are bipedal.


I noted that, but they are not upright.


See?

As soon as one claim is knocked down, you simply add a new property, a new definition, a different argument.

Tell me this: at what point does an argument become untenable? I would strongly suggest that it does when even one premise is untrue, but to protect so many from empirical evidence is eternally perplexing.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Human hands are not 'fully adapted to tool use'; your Panglossian just-so stories notwithstanding. Science isn't a religious enterprise, so your declarations' value is measured by how accurately they correspond to evidence.


Then to what else are human hands adapted?


I cited several links above for you to understand what you are asking.

Read up on adaptationism and the problem with trying to assign explanatory narratives to every form.

Go look at the hands of other primates and see how similar they are. What their hands are adapted for are basically the same as what human hands are adapted for: picking up stuff and putting it in our mouths. Grasping. Pulling. Holding. Stuff that all primates do. ALL primates.

Our opposable thumbs are slightly longer comparative to our other digits, and are comparatively more mobile than other primates, but opposable thumbs aren't special to us. We have slightly shorter fingers, comparatively. We have slightly smaller fingertip pads comparative to finger size. We have slightly denser whorls and ridges on our fingerprints, but other primates tends to have more total ridges. We have slightly flatter nails.

With respect to knuckle-walking, you'd want to be looking at the wrist bones, not the hands. Knuckle-walking cousins have more robust wrist bones which also result in less mobility of the wrist than humans.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:You wouldn't even be able to show that gorillas or chimpanzees' hands are adapted to knuckle-walking.


But I heard on a documentary called the Human Body that their hands are a compromise, good for knuckle walking but not tool making.


Documentaries are entertainment shows, not science. There are documentaries on living megalodon, mermaids, and ancient aliens having directed human history.

But it comes back to the same point: you can't place so much faith in a single source.

There is no 'compromise' in this, and the language and notion behind it is, once again, teleological. It's erroneously positing absolutes which traits can be working towards or striking a balance between. That's just not how evolution works.

Human hands may well be better at making tools, but it's not like there's a gene for tool-making undergoing selection pressure. Rather, there's a suite of cognitive, behavioral, and manual dexterity that could potentially offer survival benefits, and these different traits are employed by humans to make tools as well as pick bogeys, jiggle around in your pockets for keys, scratch your butt and so much more. Tools are an outcome, not a selection because there's no one gene or set of genes for tool-making (not least because it's totally arbitrary as to what constitutes a tool from an evolutionary perspective), which is exactly why I asked you to try looking up a paper to evidence your claim.

Finally, of course other primates also use tools.


Myrtonos wrote:The key here is thumb length, the human thumb is longer, which is advantageous for tool making and disadvantageous for knuckle-walking.


That's not a key: it's a wall.

As you won't listen to reason, let me turn the question back to you so that you can show yourself that it's a nonsensical claim. How does evolution 'see' the tool to select for making it? Walk me through how you imagine that works.


Myrtonos wrote:And the vast majority of four-legged animals don't make tools at all, let alone use them.


And that's because.... quadrupeds have four feet, no hands, no dexterity for fine detail coordination in their digits, not least because their digits are not extended and are more robust and stumpy, nor are their front feet used to pick up food, nor to put food in mouths. Nor are they used to grapple, pull, hold etc.

So why would you expect them to make tools to use them as a comparison?

It is, once again, exactly like saying that humans don't have wings, or gills, or 8 appendages. Everyone knows this. It isn't a meaty point towards an argument, it's a nothing.

As explained, they have evolved along a different strategy: speedy terrestrial (or aquatic) locomotion, and they're better than us at those things.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:In reality, both are partially bipedal and share a common ancestor with humans that was itself bipedal.


Nearly all humans are on two legs when walking, crawling on all fours is what babies do before they learn to walk on two feet.


:roll:

And what is wet? Water. Water is wet. All water is wet. Water is wetty wet wet wet.

It takes human babies more than 6 months to even totter about ineffectively in the preferred human mode of perambulation. Most herbivorous quadruped infants can do that in an hour, and have a chance of outrunning a fully grown lion the day after they're born.

That should tell you a lot, if you're not wearing blinkers. If humans had to run away from predators a day after they were born, regardless of how amazing their cognitive faculties and hand-eye coordination might later become, they'd be dead, all of us would be.

Evolutionary strategies, Myrtonos. Opportunity costs. Cost-benefit ratios. And simple contingency. Understanding these would give you a dramatically greater insight than stacking banal observations one atop the other.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:All manner of animals have control over various elements of the natural world, whether it be venom, fluid or aero-dynamics, or exothermic chemical reactions produced in their own bodies.


But humans simply have more such control than any other animal.


There it is again. From absolute to relative in one short step.


Myrtonos wrote: And those chemical reactions are produced by their own bodies, but a fire lit by humans is not produced by the human bodies.


Then that fire is not produced by any human I know. What do they use? Their minds? :lol:



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Fire, far from being obedient, has already been shown in this thread to be responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand people a year - and that's in the modern world!


First of all, not all fires are lit by humans.


Wet water.


Myrtonos wrote:But humans can control the location of fires lit by them,...


Humans can sometimes control the location of fires lit by them, and other times they fail dramatically resulting in those hundred thousand dead people annually.

But again, you're changing your argument. Your previous iteration declared fire 'obedient' to humanity.


Myrtonos wrote:... and can keep them going by putting wood on them, and can extinguish them. But other animals cannot control fire at all.





Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:The entire point of cooking food is that it takes less digestive effort than non-cooked food. Any animal can eat cooked food, no adaptation required.


But apparently, the great apes do have longer intestines as well as larger jaws. If less energy goes into digestive effort more can go into something else, such as running a bigger brain.


It's both amusing and perplexing that you still can't read the article I cited for you, even placed a link to it right on your lap, that is the original article talking about the trade-off between intestinal length and brain size. The fact is that cooking has very little to do with it - in reality, it's about exploiting a wide variety of high calorie food sources. In reality, the expensive tissue hypothesis is concerned with the transition from predominantly plant-matter based omnirvory, to capturing carcasses and having large sources of meat (i.e. we already employed highly social strategies and used tools with all the cognitive necessities long before we cooked food). That's where the majority of the trade-off occurs both physically and in human history. We captured and ate higher quantities of meat long before we set about barbecuing steaks.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:As an interesting aside, humans and elephants actually have the same ratio of digestive tract length to body length; about seven times the length of our bodies. Factually, we're somewhere in the middle of the group of omnivores, average when it comes to intestine to body size. Outliers are extremely different with treeshrews having intestines only slightly longer than their bodies, and orangutan intestines being about 10 times their body length.


And elephants aren't very efficient at digesting the raw food they eat...


Citation, please.

Again, in reality, it's the food that they eat which is nutritionally poor; they're actually very efficient at processing it. Go and try eating some leafy twigs and tell me how it goes.


Myrtonos wrote:... and need to eat a real lot every day.


As do ALL herbivores, even human ones.


Myrtonos wrote: By the way, elephants are basically the only four legged animal with an organ of manipulation their trunks, they only have one each, it has no fingers, let alone opposable thumbs. It can pick up things but isn't suitable for making tools.


Fuck me sideways, another utterly inane nothing declamation.


Myrtonos wrote: No, I am not judging other species simply by a standard only humans evolved to meet.


This thread shows otherwise.


Myrtonos wrote: I know other animals have been able to survive and survive well without hands or tools, and on a raw food diet. The simple fact is that there is a long list of things Sapiens are capable of doing that no other species have even been able to do, especially on the collective level.


Every single time you've used the expression 'simple fact' it's turned out either not to be simple, or not to be a fact.

The same goes here.


Myrtonos wrote: First of all, consider the fact that Sapiens inhabit more of the world than any other land animal,...


Consider the fact that you're, once again, just making up bullshit and pretending it's fact. Ants. End of.


Myrtonos wrote: apart from land animals domesticated by humans.


I enjoy it when you finish a sentence by contradicting your own sentence, but still call it a fact.


Myrtonos wrote: Also, there is farming,...


Which predates humans by tens of millions of years.


Myrtonos wrote:.... followed by building towns and cities.


Preceded by tens of millions of years by building hives, nests, dams, reefs etc.


Myrtonos wrote:I'm not saying that we stopped evolving in that time,...


You're not now? Great, apparently one rebuttal got through.


Myrtonos wrote:.... but the rise of farming and the rise of cities was certainly a case of lifestyle changing more within a time-frame that humans evolved within that same time-frame.


Great, so please provide the evidence and explain the metrics you're using to quantify these components. I assume your certainty is based on empirical evidence, right?


Myrtonos wrote:The first human farmers were already homo sapiens sapiens.


:lol:

And the first ant farmers were already ants.


Myrtonos wrote:It was Sapiens that built boats and later ships that could cross bodies of water no other land animal is remotely capable of crossing, unless it is put on-board by humans.


Animals cross bodies of water all the time. As ants are proving such a bugbear for you, go watch them make living rafts to escape flooding.



Guaranteed, you will toss out yet another diversion here.

Also, of course, plenty of animals can simply swim, or fly over the body of water.

Finally, there's some evidence to suggest that neanderthals had some way to cross large bodies of water.


Myrtonos wrote:By the way, the first organism to leave the earth's atmosphere was a domestic dog called Laika. She was put on a human made satellite, and of course put there by humans. And the first organisms to ever land on the moon were human beings.


By the way, you're not having a conversation with someone from Alpha Centauri. I know all these trivial details just as well as you, just as well as everyone does. But merely stating something banal doesn't actually offer any support for your argument.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Last edited by Sparhafoc on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:32 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2607Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Dragan Glas wrote:The key difference is that we have opposable thumbs - we can touch each of our fingers with our thumb - other apes can't because they don't have this trait.


Other primates have opposable thumbs too.

You can divide primates into 4 groups based on opposability of thumbs:

Opposable - hominids like chimps and gorilla, cercopithecids, i.e. all the Old World monkeys like baboons
Pseudo-opposable - strepsirrhines like lemurs, and the cebidae new world monkeys like capuchins
Non-opposable - tarsiers and marmosets

And then there's gibbons, whose opposable thumbs are longer, comparatively, than our own. Bet that doesn't make them special, though! :D

Essentially all primates have opposable thumbs, and in fact, you can find this trait in other animals too, like phyllomedusa frogs, koalas, and opposums. An argument could even be made that birds have opposable digits on their feet, and this was true of many ancient theropods.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:44 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 86Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: The evolution of intelligent life

Sparhafoc wrote:See?

As soon as one claim is knocked down, you simply add a new property, a new definition, a different argument.

Tell me this: at what point does an argument become untenable? I would strongly suggest that it does when even one premise is untrue, but to protect so many from empirical evidence is eternally perplexing.

No, right in the first post in this thread I did say "First was the evolution of the ability to stand and walk upright on two feet, which first of all made it easier to scan for enemies and game in the wild.[emphasis added]" Upright is the key word. Yet you accuse me of modifying my argument.

Sparhafoc wrote:Go look at the hands of other primates and see how similar they are. What their hands are adapted for are basically the same as what human hands are adapted for: picking up stuff and putting it in our mouths. Grasping. Pulling. Holding. Stuff that all primates do. ALL primates.

Yes they are similar, but one difference is thumb length.

Sparhafoc wrote:Our opposable thumbs are slightly longer comparative to our other digits, and are comparatively more mobile than other primates, but opposable thumbs aren't special to us. We have slightly shorter fingers, comparatively. We have slightly smaller fingertip pads comparative to finger size. We have slightly denser whorls and ridges on our fingerprints, but other primates tends to have more total ridges. We have slightly flatter nails.

I didn't say opposable thumbs are special to us, I said that about fully opposable thumbs, that is long enough that thumb pads can touch fingertip pads.


Sparhafoc wrote:There is no 'compromise' in this, and the language and notion behind it is, once again, teleological. It's erroneously positing absolutes which traits can be working towards or striking a balance between. That's just not how evolution works.

I'm not sure what this means.

Sparhafoc wrote:Human hands may well be better at making tools, but it's not like there's a gene for tool-making undergoing selection pressure. Rather, there's a suite of cognitive, behavioral, and manual dexterity that could potentially offer survival benefits, and these different traits are employed by humans to make tools as well as pick bogeys, jiggle around in your pockets for keys, scratch your butt and so much more. Tools are an outcome, not a selection because there's no one gene or set of genes for tool-making (not least because it's totally arbitrary as to what constitutes a tool from an evolutionary perspective), which is exactly why I asked you to try looking up a paper to evidence your claim.

But there may have been natural selection in favour of those who are better at making and using tools.

Sparhafoc wrote:Finally, of course other primates also use tools.

I never said they didn't, I just said that human tools are more sophisticated.

Sparhafoc wrote:That's not a key: it's a wall.

What is the difference?

Sparhafoc wrote:And that's because.... quadrupeds have four feet, no hands, no dexterity for fine detail coordination in their digits, not least because their digits are not extended and are more robust and stumpy, nor are their front feet used to pick up food, nor to put food in mouths. Nor are they used to grapple, pull, hold etc.

So why would you expect them to make tools to use them as a comparison?

Well, yes, you wouldn't expect them to make tools. Sure, they might be able to survive and survive well without tool making, but humans can hunt them much more easily than any of them can hunt us, especially now since we have guns.

Sparhafoc wrote:It is, once again, exactly like saying that humans don't have wings, or gills, or 8 appendages. Everyone knows this. It isn't a meaty point towards an argument, it's a nothing.

I have tried to explain why it is different from saying it. Our tool use ability has allowed us, even as hunter gatherers, to have such great impact on the environment. I'm not sure even Homo erectus could have even left Africa without being able to use such sophisticated tools.

Sparhafoc wrote:As explained, they have evolved along a different strategy: speedy terrestrial (or aquatic) locomotion, and they're better than us at those things.

Well, their bodies are better than our bodies at naturally accomplishing these things, but given technology developed by humans, that doesn't mean that those animals are still better at it.

Sparhafoc wrote:It takes human babies more than 6 months to even totter about ineffectively in the preferred human mode of perambulation. Most herbivorous quadruped infants can do that in an hour, and have a chance of outrunning a fully grown lion the day after they're born.


That should tell you a lot, if you're not wearing blinkers. If humans had to run away from predators a day after they were born, regardless of how amazing their cognitive faculties and hand-eye coordination might later become, they'd be dead, all of us would be.

Evolutionary strategies, Myrtonos. Opportunity costs. Cost-benefit ratios. And simple contingency. Understanding these would give you a dramatically greater insight than stacking banal observations one atop the other.


Sparhafoc wrote:There it is again. From absolute to relative in one short step.
I'm referring to control of an obedient and potentially limitless force.

Sparhafoc wrote:Then that fire is not produced by any human I know. What do they use? Their minds? :lol:

Okay, what I mean is that the fire is lit by humans but not powered by the human body.

Sparhafoc wrote:Humans can sometimes control the location of fires lit by them, and other times they fail dramatically resulting in those hundred thousand dead people annually.

And pretty much all other animals never control location of fires.

Sparhafoc wrote:But again, you're changing your argument. Your previous iteration declared fire 'obedient' to humanity.

Every time I clarify my reasoning or explain more clearly what I mean, you accuse me of modifying my argument. I did mean that about fires lit by humans, not ones caused by thing like lightning striking on a forest.

By the way, that video clearly shows a captive Bonobo lighting a fire, he is using a human made lighter. Also, the cooking pots used are clearly human made.

Sparhafoc wrote:It's both amusing and perplexing that you still can't read the article I cited for you, even placed a link to it right on your lap, that is the original article talking about the trade-off between intestinal length and brain size. The fact is that cooking has very little to do with it - in reality, it's about exploiting a wide variety of high calorie food sources. In reality, the expensive tissue hypothesis is concerned with the transition from predominantly plant-matter based omnirvory, to capturing carcasses and having large sources of meat (i.e. we already employed highly social strategies and used tools with all the cognitive necessities long before we cooked food). That's where the majority of the trade-off occurs both physically and in human history. We captured and ate higher quantities of meat long before we set about barbecuing steaks.

Well, cooked food is easier to digest, and surely it is no coincidence that humans, who have long cooked their food, have shorter intestines than our closest relatives, these still eating only raw food, at least in the wild. Surely it takes a greater intestine length to digest raw rood that cooked food. Yes, there is a trade-off between intestinal length and brain size, but that other article, from the Scientific American, suggests than adaption to cooked food is also linked to shorter intestines.

Sparhafoc wrote:Again, in reality, it's the food that they eat which is nutritionally poor; they're actually very efficient at processing it. Go and try eating some leafy twigs and tell me how it goes.

See this document that mentions the efficiency of elephant digestion, and another document that mentions the same thing.

Speaking of Elephants, there are two genera of them, in one of them is only one species, elephas maximums of Asia and in Africa there is genus Loxodonta with the bush Elephant (L. Africana) and the forest elephant (L. cyclotis).

Also, how many different species of ant are there? When I said that humans inhabit more of the world than any other land animal that humans have never domesticated, what I mean is the homo sapiens inhabits more of the world than any other single species of land animal (not flying animals and not marine animals) that sapiens have never domesticated.

Sparhafoc wrote:And the first ant farmers were already ants.

A farm is where humans grow crops or raise animals for food. You don't seems to hear of birds, reptiles, non-human land mammals, or marine animals do this sort of thing.

Sparhafoc wrote:Animals cross bodies of water all the time. As ants are proving such a bugbear for you, go watch them make living rafts to escape flooding.

I didn't say animals don't cross bodies of water, just that boats people build can cross bodies of water that no other land animal is remotely capable of crossing.

And those rafts built by ants, while I didn't know about them, they only built that one to escape flooding. And if it really is a raft, they are not propelling it, like humans paddling a canoe with oars. And the certainly aren't sailing vessels or engine driven.

Sparhafoc wrote:Also, of course, plenty of animals can simply swim, or fly over the body of water.

Only flying animals can fly, including over any water, I didn't say anything about their ability to cross water. I didn't say no animal can simply swim, even people can simply swim. But human made boats can cross bodies of water large enough that no land animal can swim across them.

Sparhafoc wrote:Finally, there's some evidence to suggest that neanderthals had some way to cross large bodies of water.

And they were of course humans, and what evidence is there? Maybe they too built boats.

Sparhafoc wrote:By the way, you're not having a conversation with someone from Alpha Centauri. I know all these trivial details just as well as you, just as well as everyone does. But merely stating something banal doesn't actually offer any support for your argument.

I get the word 'banal' over and over again. No non-human organism could have left the earth's atmosphere being taken out of it by humans. This is an big example of something Sapiens have accomplished that no other species did before, as was the moon landing, not so long later.

Let's go through how Sapiens got there. They originated in Africa, the same continent as the first humans of all. And they first spread to Eurasia, displacing Neanderthals (I know about debates as to whether there was interbreeding) and even spreading further north than them, thanks to things like clothing. They also displaced all the other kinds of human inhabiting Afro-Eurasia. Having spread across more of Eurasia, they got to cross the Bering Strait ice bridge and it is believed this is how Sapiens got to North America and spread across the Americas over time.

Mind you, there are some landmasses, such as those of Australasia, including on continent (mainland Australia), that humans could not reach without boats. There are many seas too wide for people, or any other land animal, to simply swim across it. It's the same with the Pacific Islands. And in order to build these boats, they needed quite sophisticated tools and maybe quite a bit of co-operation.

Look at the native land animals on these landmasses, and I really means ones not introduced there by humans. I can't think of a single land animal native to Australia or Papua New Guinea that belongs to the same genus as any land native to Afro-Eurasia or the Americas. Most mammals native to these landmasses are species of a different subclass altogether, monotremes or marsupials. Just remember than Dingoes are decedents of wolves which were introduced by sapiens.

And look at Aotearoa, that was home to the Maori people before European settlement. But Polynesian people settled there only about 500 years before then, and obviously had to arrive by boat. They have only a few native mammals, and they are all capable of powered flight. But there are lots of flightless birds under the cloud. So how come Sapiens were the first species of land animal (this excludes anything capable of powered flight) to settle these islands (New Zealand's north and south Islands)?
They boldly went where no mammal but bats had ever gone before.
Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:00 pm
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