The multiple evolution of intelligence

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The multiple evolution of intelligence

There's a great article in Scientific American about the multiple intdependent evolution of intelligence.

Sample quote:

Paul Patten in the linked article wrote:

Even more amazingly, Clayton showed that the birds can anticipate unique future events. She allowed jays to observe others of their kind cache food and then permitted them to pilfer the caches. Later these birds cached their own food, either alone or in the presence of another jay. Birds that had acted as thieves took great precautions to conceal their food-caching activities when in the presence of another jay. Although the jays had experienced food theft only in the role of thief, they nonetheless were able to imagine themselves in the role of victim. The ability to recall specific episodes in the past and to predict future occurrences is known as mental time travel [see “Intelligence Evolved,” by Ursula Dicke and Gerhard Roth; Scientific American Mind, August/September 2008]. Before Clayton’s work, this cognitive ability was thought to be unique to humans.

Colour me unsurprised. I've seen other corvids (specifically ravens) act intelligently. Yet another way in which humans are not special.

The article isn't specifically about birds, though a lot is given over to them. It's a general article about how intelligence has evolved independently on several separate occasions. I guess this is a surprising find, even though we've witnessed intelligent behaviour is cephalopods, and we would've split from them long before growing a spine, let alone developing intelligence.

Very interesting read.

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Interesting articles Nigel,

Interesting articles Nigel, thanks for posting.

NigeltheBold wrote:

I guess this is a surprising find, even though we've witnessed intelligent behaviour is cephalopods,

What makes this case especially surprising is the presumable complexity of the mental 'time travel' cognisance. It would seem that having an ability to project ones conscious awareness in time requires one to construct thought in pure abstract, that is, because the future "doesn't yet exist" it falls then to the conscious being to construct an assumption of 'future' symbolically.

Now I love all this interesting evolutionary research as much as the next person here, but what this is really asking us to do is assume mental time travel into the future is something the brain achieves in the absence of external stimulus - we cannot sense tomorrow externally, because it "doesn't exist" externally therefore, sensing tomorrow is a product of complex abstract reasoning.

It then follows that since Birds do not display abstract reasoning at the same level as humans yet they can do things which require high levels of abstract reasoning.... the brain is a mystery, consciousness is special and emergent and blah blah blah....

Lets rewind that to the hidden premise - The future doesn't yet exist. How does this one slip by relativity? Seriously. It's a fallacy of contradiction.

On the one hand time and space are a fabric which bends in the presence of mass, on the other hand a substantial percentage of this so called fabric doesn't actually exist in reality and the mass which literally pushes it around has no direct means of interaction with it.... stop me when you see my point, won't you.

Try understanding this research without the faulty premise and the mystery just vanishes. Mental time travel is just another feedback loop of sensory awareness.

It may be that because the "extraordinariness" of human consciousness pales a bit in the light of such an idea vanity won't let us believe it.

 

I have a little beef with the second article too - where it says:

Quote:

Of course, intelligence must emerge from the workings of the three-pound mass of wetware packed inside our skulls

Uh, what the? let us try this gendanken then shall we...

 

Imagine that you:

1. put a brain in a bowl of warm water, observe the intelligence.

2. observe a brain connected to a system of nerves or nerve like transmitters housed in a functioning sensory environment which is supported by and connected to a unique universe of data.

compare 2 to 1... which displays intelligence? 

Okay, so this is just one careless line spoken by an otherwise hardworking and knowledgable scientist, I know. But it's also more than that, unfortunately it's one example of a widespread propagation of minor error marring the progress of our universal understanding through evolutionary research.

Forgive me for making a fuss but if I had one wish it would be that evolutionary scientists would do two things for me, be more cautious in their understanding of time and the isolation of thermodynamic systems. It would just be really cool.... and productive, I daresay.

 

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I have no real problem with

I have no real problem with either of those phrases - well maybe a slight quibble with the second.

"Mental time travel" is clearly (to me) a metaphor for the predictive extrapolation of experience forward. It is totally off-the-wall to talk about relativity, etc.

My only quibble with the statement that intelligence "emerge[s] from the workings of the three-pound mass of wetware" is that there is quite a bit of evidence that the rest of the body does contribute significantly to the processing, including the phenomenon of intelligence/awareness/consciousness. But it is obviously where the most concentrated processing occurs.

The comment about observing intelligence in an isolated brain really doesn't quite make sense to me, even as a thought-experiment, except perhaps with reference to my 'quibble'.

One could even get pedantic and say put the brain-in-a-bowl inside a fMRI machine and hook up some stimulatory probes and then see if you can observe some 'intelligence' - that would make more sense than the unqualified "observe the intelligence". Of course you couldn't "observe the intelligence" of a naked brain, without instrumentation, whether or not one expected something meaningfully corresponding to "intelligence", or more properly "intelligent information processing" to be still taking place.

That seems at least as careless as anything in the article, if not more so.

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BobSpence1 wrote:I have no

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have no real problem with either of those phrases - well maybe a slight quibble with the second.

"Mental time travel" is clearly (to me) a metaphor for the predictive extrapolation of experience forward. It is totally off-the-wall to talk about relativity, etc.

How is it off the wall, Bob? Support that assertion. Can you support it or are you just in a knee jerk defense of an arbitrary mental comfort zone.

Put it this way, is relativity physics, or not? Is gravity real or isn't it?  Am I really to suspend my belief in the evidence of physics just to accommodate the presuppositions of biology? That's a big ask, Bob, and you'll have to give me more than "off the wall" if you really want me to accept it.

 

BobSpence wrote:

My only quibble with the statement that intelligence "emerge[s] from the workings of the three-pound mass of wetware" is that there is quite a bit of evidence that the rest of the body does contribute significantly to the processing, including the phenomenon of intelligence/awareness/consciousness.

This is almost the same as what I said.

 

BobSpence wrote:

But it is obviously where the most concentrated processing occurs.

No it's not obvious that the most concentrated processing occurs in the skull, that much is hypothesised. "Processing" itself is an hypothesis. Now I'm not saying it's wrong or unsupported, but it's not "obvious" and to say as much is to risk making an argument from circular logic.

BobSpence wrote:

The comment about observing intelligence in an isolated brain really doesn't quite make sense to me, even as a thought-experiment, except perhaps with reference to my 'quibble'.

That was given tongue-in-cheek, I was going for overly simplistic and dismissive. I suppose you're right to say that it wasn't the most appropriate tack given the circumstances but I did it to reflect my feeling on the matter more than anything. There is just way to much careless localising of systems in the literature, and no it's not just a matter of scientists dumbing down the concepts for the lay reader because the faulty premise is evident in the interpretation of the results too, it's being carried over again and again.

 

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Eloise wrote:How is it off

Eloise wrote:
How is it off the wall, Bob? Support that assertion. Can you support it or are you just in a knee jerk defense of an arbitrary mental comfort zone.

Put it this way, is relativity physics, or not? Is gravity real or isn't it?  Am I really to suspend my belief in the evidence of physics just to accommodate the presuppositions of biology? That's a big ask, Bob, and you'll have to give me more than "off the wall" if you really want me to accept it.

As I've suggested before: A better understanding of neurophysiology would probably clear up your objections.

I figure this because a great deal of your arguments on the subject spur from the terminology rather than the evidence.

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JillSwift wrote:Eloise

JillSwift wrote:

Eloise wrote:
How is it off the wall, Bob? Support that assertion. Can you support it or are you just in a knee jerk defense of an arbitrary mental comfort zone.

Put it this way, is relativity physics, or not? Is gravity real or isn't it?  Am I really to suspend my belief in the evidence of physics just to accommodate the presuppositions of biology? That's a big ask, Bob, and you'll have to give me more than "off the wall" if you really want me to accept it.

As I've suggested before: A better understanding of neurophysiology would probably clear up your objections.

I figure this because a great deal of your arguments on the subject spur from the terminology rather than the evidence.

Could you be more specific Jill. What, that I don't understand, exempts neurophysiology from the laws of physics? What evidence in neurophysiology proves that an "x"class of relative masses, exceptionally, do not extend in time?

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Eloise wrote:Put it

Eloise wrote:
Put it this way, is relativity physics, or not? Is gravity real or isn't it? Am I really to suspend my belief in the evidence of physics just to accommodate the presuppositions of biology? That's a big ask, Bob, and you'll have to give me more than "off the wall" if you really want me to accept it.

 

Eloise, I don't think that anyone in here is going to question relativity. It is real. However, I think that your understanding of it is not quite right. Allow me to explain:

 

Let's say that you and I meet over lunch and agree to go see a movie that begins at 7:50 tonight. So I suggest that you meet me at the theater at 7:30. I must assume that you have no problem with that much.

 

Now, the directive “meet me at the theater at 7:30” is a valid set of coordinates in four dimensions. We can both agree on where the theater is and we can both agree on when 7:30 is.

 

Eloise wrote:
Lets rewind that to the hidden premise - The future doesn't yet exist. How does this one slip by relativity? Seriously. It's a fallacy of contradiction.

 

Here is where you are mistaken. 7:30 does exist as a coordinate in the fourth dimension. The fact that we have yet to arrive there does not make it not a valid location. To say otherwise would require that you also believe that the movie theater does not exist because neither of us is there yet.

 

As far as your “brain in a bowl”example, how do you test for the presence of intelligence in such a system?

 

Let me assume that the brain is connected to a functioning biological system so that it is not, in fact, dead. To not do that removes intelligence from the system and thus, there would be nothing to test. However, you have set up a system where the brain is blind, deaf and dumb. It has no ability to perceive the outside world nor does it have an ability to interact with the outside world. It is nothing more than a brain in a bowl.

 

Put that way, how do you test for intelligence? Basically,what you have set up is a black box where it is simply not possible to know what happens to be inside. You can't test for intelligence there, however, that does not mean that the brain is not intelligent.

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Eloise wrote:Could you be

Eloise wrote:
Could you be more specific Jill. What, that I don't understand, exempts neurophysiology from the laws of physics? What evidence in neurophysiology proves that an "x"class of relative masses, exceptionally, do not extend in time?
I hate discussing this with you because you so enjoy being obtuse about it. I've not made any claims that any exemptions need be made. I have claimed that you appear to get hung up on the terminology.


 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Lets rewind that to the hidden premise - The future doesn't yet exist. How does this one slip by relativity? Seriously. It's a fallacy of contradiction.

 

Here is where you are mistaken. 7:30 does exist as a coordinate in the fourth dimension. The fact that we have yet to arrive there does not make it not a valid location. To say otherwise would require that you also believe that the movie theater does not exist because neither of us is there yet.

I'm confused, what are you saying? Are you arguing that the future is a valid physical location or that it isn't?

If you're saying it isn't then:

A. THE Theory of Gravity dictates that it IS a valid location into which mass extends. You can't just make hand-wavy references to some mysterious immaterial "fourth dimension" that exists only in our minds and call it relativity! Not Cool!!!!!

And if you're saying it is then:

2. What part of "the future does not exist" is a faulty premise carried over and propagated in error, don't you understand. Lets clear this up - you don't have an argument with me you have the same argument as me.

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JillSwift wrote:Eloise

JillSwift wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Could you be more specific Jill. What, that I don't understand, exempts neurophysiology from the laws of physics? What evidence in neurophysiology proves that an "x"class of relative masses, exceptionally, do not extend in time?
I hate discussing this with you because you so enjoy being obtuse about it. I've not made any claims that any exemptions need be made.

On the contrary Jill, you have claimed that there is something I can understand which will clear up my objections, and well... that is my objection my objection is that the premise excepts itself from physics, so how will neurophysiology clear that up for me?

 

 

JillSwift wrote:

I have claimed that you appear to get hung up on the terminology.

Okay, fair call, you did say that, as well, but I wasn't directly replying to that comment. Still, I would ask you to be more specific about this too.

 

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JillSwift wrote:I hate

JillSwift wrote:

I hate discussing this with you because you so enjoy being obtuse about it.

Just to be fair, about being obtuse, okay I will not be obtuse, I will admit - I don't believe my eyes, I don't believe my own flawed basic perceptions and conceptualisations of reality, I mean, I don't take them for granted when the objective evidence tells me they are wrong. I figure that is what you mean by being obtuse about this. I think you mean that I will stoicly deny what by simple appearances is to be taken for granted. Yes. I'll admit freely that I do that, not without reason, but I do.

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Eloise wrote:On the contrary

Eloise wrote:
On the contrary Jill, you have claimed that there is something I can understand which will clear up my objections, and well...

that is my objection

my objection

is

that the premise excepts itself from physics, so how will neurophysiology clear that up for me?


 

JillSwift wrote:
I have claimed that you appear to get hung up on the terminology.
Okay, fair call, you did say that, as well, but I wasn't directly replying to that comment. Still, I would ask you to be more specific about this too.

 

Just to be fair, about being obtuse, okay I will not be obtuse, I will admit - I don't believe my eyes, I don't believe my own flawed basic perceptions and conceptualisations of reality, I mean, I don't take them for granted when the objective evidence tells me they are wrong. I figure that is what you mean by being obtuse about this. I think you mean that I will stoicly deny what by simple appearances is to be taken for granted. Yes. I'll admit freely that I do that, not without reason, but I do.

No, no, and no. This is what I mean by obtuse: You set your sights on one argument and just fail to see others, of any stripe.

I do not belive there is actually any call, from anyone, that physics needs to exempt anything. I suspect that your understanding of biology, neurophysiology and the terms used therein make it appear that excemtions need be made.

At the very, very least a hightened understanding of the feilds would help you more clearly state the problem, if there is one.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Eloise wrote:I'm

Eloise wrote:
I'm confused, what are you saying? Are you arguing that the future is a valid physical location or that it isn't?

 

Well, in the sense that we can agree on what 7:30 means, then yes, 7:30 is real even if we are not there yet.

 

Eloise wrote:
If you're saying it isn't then:

 

A. THE Theory of Gravity dictates that it IS a valid location into which mass extends. You can't just make hand-wavy references to some mysterious immaterial "fourth dimension" that exists only in our minds and call it relativity! Not Cool!!!!!

 

I see that you are still confused. I am willing to help you but I simply must understand what you have in mind as “THE Theory of Gravity”.

 

The fact is that there are many theories of gravity and I don't know with any certainty which one you have in mind. When you speak of mass having existence in the time dimension, that does suggest Newtonian gravity.

 

The problem here would be that the Newtonian theory of gravity is an approximation of the theory presented by Einstein (which I assume you are trying to get to since you speak of relativity). The Newtonian theory is not wrong, it just is not good enough for what I suspect you are trying to get at.

 

Seriously, I am not trying to wave my hand and say “So it is written, so shall it be done.” However, I don't see how I can explain things to you if you want there to be some “THE Theory of Gravity” that exists in an absolute sense.

 

Eloise wrote:
And if you're saying it is then:

 

What part of "the future does not exist" is a faulty premise carried over and propagated in error, don't you understand. Lets clear this up - you don't have an argument with me you have the same argument as me.

 

Again, the difference he is that you are not using the terminology the way that I am.

 

Dallas, next Tuesday is a place in four dimensions.

 

Houston, next Thursday is a place in four dimensions.

 

Texas, next week in a place in four dimensions.

 

If you want to deny the fourth dimension, that is fine. However, in so doing, you deny relativity and you may not appeal to relativity.

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JillSwift wrote:I do not

JillSwift wrote:

I do not belive there is actually any call, from anyone, that physics needs to exempt anything. I suspect that your understanding of biology, neurophysiology and the terms used therein make it appear that excemtions need be made.

Okay, so you're saying either that the premise "the future does not exist" does not exempt itself from relativity which is just wrong, or you're saying that "the future does not exist" is not a premise behind the "mental time travel" hypothesis.

So lets start at the beginning. do you agree or disagree with this:

Eloise wrote:

what this is really asking us to do is assume mental time travel into the future is something the brain achieves in the absence of external stimulus - we cannot sense tomorrow externally, because it "doesn't exist" externally therefore, sensing tomorrow is a product of complex abstract reasoning.

It then follows that since Birds do not display abstract reasoning at the same level as humans yet they can do things which require high levels of abstract reasoning....

And if you would, please be specific and reasonably detailed in your counterpoints.

 

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Before I start can I just

Before I start can I just say WTF? Please, AIGene, if I may call you that, can you read a bit more carefully. You don't seem to be absorbing anything I''ve said at all.

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Eloise wrote:
I'm confused, what are you saying? Are you arguing that the future is a valid physical location or that it isn't?

 

Well, in the sense that we can agree on what 7:30 means, then yes, 7:30 is real even if we are not there yet.

Well that's just hand-waving, AIGene, you've said nothing at all.

 

 

 

AnswersinGeneSimmons wrote:

Eloise wrote:
If you're saying it isn't then:

 

A. THE Theory of Gravity dictates that it IS a valid location into which mass extends. You can't just make hand-wavy references to some mysterious immaterial "fourth dimension" that exists only in our minds and call it relativity! Not Cool!!!!!

 

I see that you are still confused. I am willing to help you but I simply must understand what you have in mind as “THE Theory of Gravity”.

I was going to write "the Best theory of gravity" maybe I should have done. By THE theory of gravity I mean relativity. It's really the only one, anyway, Newtons theory of gravity, if you could even call it that at all, is far from what you'd call "the theory". Really Newton's gravity is an axiom not a theory. Einstein's is the one best and virtually only attempt at actually explaining it.

 

AnswersinGeneSimmons wrote:

The fact is that there are many theories of gravity and I don't know with any certainty which one you have in mind. When you speak of mass having existence in the time dimension, that does suggest Newtonian gravity.

It does ????

 

 

 

AnswersinGeneSimmons wrote:

Eloise wrote:
And if you're saying it is then:

 

What part of "the future does not exist" is a faulty premise carried over and propagated in error, don't you understand. Lets clear this up - you don't have an argument with me you have the same argument as me.

 

Again, the difference he is that you are not using the terminology the way that I am.

 

Dallas, next Tuesday is a place in four dimensions.

 

Houston, next Thursday is a place in four dimensions.

 

Texas, next week in a place in four dimensions.

 

If you want to deny the fourth dimension, that is fine. However, in so doing, you deny relativity and you may not appeal to relativity.

 

Okay, this is a real What The... ? moment, you just don't seem to be getting what I am saying. I've already charged you with denying the fourth dimension with your handwavy "it's just a dot in your mind" description of it. Don't just return the favour, I'd like an actual answer.

 

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Eloise wrote:wordsForget I

Eloise wrote:
words
Forget I said anything. All I was trying to do was clear up misunderstandings, not defend any points in any arguments. And thanks for making me feel sorry for having tried.


 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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JillSwift wrote:Eloise

JillSwift wrote:

Eloise wrote:
words
Forget I said anything. All I was trying to do was clear up misunderstandings, not defend any points in any arguments. And thanks for making me feel sorry for having tried.

 

 

Please don't take any of this personally, Jill, I should tell you I have heaps of respect for you. I like you and I've always enjoyed our exchanges. Hardly anyone I've ever met is open to taking relativity as seriously as I am suggesting we should, here, so your responses weren't of an unexpected kind, I'm so used to answering them that I guess I do so just flatly now. I'm sorry if I came across cold to you, hope you'll forgive.

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Eloise wrote:BobSpence1

Eloise wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have no real problem with either of those phrases - well maybe a slight quibble with the second.

"Mental time travel" is clearly (to me) a metaphor for the predictive extrapolation of experience forward. It is totally off-the-wall to talk about relativity, etc.

How is it off the wall, Bob? Support that assertion. Can you support it or are you just in a knee jerk defense of an arbitrary mental comfort zone.

Put it this way, is relativity physics, or not? Is gravity real or isn't it?  Am I really to suspend my belief in the evidence of physics just to accommodate the presuppositions of biology? That's a big ask, Bob, and you'll have to give me more than "off the wall" if you really want me to accept it.

Nothing in the story is really addressing questions of physics - let alone anything involving relativity. Its about mental processes involving expectation, anticipation, modelling a possible course of subsequent events, etc. Obviously the underlying processes ultimately involve physics, but no more so than something as simple and present as a reflex reaction.

Relativity is an aspect of physics, but only becomes relevant when we are contemplating relative velocities or gravitational fields where the temporal effects are of such a magnitude as to significantly impact the process under consideration. For the situation here, this hardly applies.

It would be like me raising issues of relativity when I am planning what I will do tomorrow, or how I handle some specific event if it happens.

Quote:

BobSpence wrote:

My only quibble with the statement that intelligence "emerge[s] from the workings of the three-pound mass of wetware" is that there is quite a bit of evidence that the rest of the body does contribute significantly to the processing, including the phenomenon of intelligence/awareness/consciousness.

This is almost the same as what I said.

Ok, I figured that.

Quote:

BobSpence wrote:

But it is obviously where the most concentrated processing occurs.

No it's not obvious that the most concentrated processing occurs in the skull, that much is hypothesised. "Processing" itself is an hypothesis. Now I'm not saying it's wrong or unsupported, but it's not "obvious" and to say as much is to risk making an argument from circular logic.

Now that is a pedantic quibble. The evidence is rather overwhelming.

The decentralised processing seems mostly closely associated with issues about bodily perception, most clearly identified in such phenomena as 'phantom limb' in amputees., but almost certainly contributes to the background perception of 'self', among other things.

Quote:

BobSpence wrote:

The comment about observing intelligence in an isolated brain really doesn't quite make sense to me, even as a thought-experiment, except perhaps with reference to my 'quibble'.

That was given tongue-in-cheek, I was going for overly simplistic and dismissive. I suppose you're right to say that it wasn't the most appropriate tack given the circumstances but I did it to reflect my feeling on the matter more than anything. There is just way to much careless localising of systems in the literature, and no it's not just a matter of scientists dumbing down the concepts for the lay reader because the faulty premise is evident in the interpretation of the results too, it's being carried over again and again.

What do you have issue with in the interpretation of the results in this specific case, or is that a general observation?

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BobSpence1 wrote:Nothing in

BobSpence1 wrote:

Nothing in the story is really addressing questions of physics - let alone anything involving relativity.

Time. Bob. The story makes an assumption about the nature of time. You see this just frustrates me. How do you get away with saying that Bob? How does anyone get away with saying Time has nothing to do with relativity. The impertinence makes me want to punch something.

BobSpence wrote:

Its about mental processes involving expectation, anticipation, modelling a possible course of subsequent events, etc. Obviously the underlying processes ultimately involve physics, but no more so than something as simple and present as a reflex reaction.

No, I am not appealing to underlying processes here, even though I believe they are important and wouldn't dismiss them the way you are either. I am rejecting the notion that projecting thoughts in time needs be any more complex than basic sensory perception of physical reality.   I'm defying that there needs to be any complex "projection" at all in "mental time travel" because relativity gives us reason to believe there is a physically real interaction between the present and the future.

 

BobSpence wrote:

The comment about observing intelligence in an isolated brain really doesn't quite make sense to me, even as a thought-experiment, except perhaps with reference to my 'quibble'.

Eloise wrote:

That was given tongue-in-cheek, I was going for overly simplistic and dismissive. I suppose you're right to say that it wasn't the most appropriate tack given the circumstances but I did it to reflect my feeling on the matter more than anything. There is just way to much careless localising of systems in the literature, and no it's not just a matter of scientists dumbing down the concepts for the lay reader because the faulty premise is evident in the interpretation of the results too, it's being carried over again and again.

What do you have issue with in the interpretation of the results in this specific case, or is that a general observation?

Well, yeah essentially my issue is a general observation but in this specific case "they nonetheless were able to imagine themselves in the role of victim" was what set me off, what need is there for imagining a future if in fact there is reason to believe that "future" is a physically present reality -- maybe it's merely perceptible.

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OK I've now read through the

OK I've now read through the discussion since the post I last responded to.

I read the phrase 'mental time-travel' as purely metaphorical, in that the subjects seemed to be displaying an ability to imagine the future, or at least anticipate specific events or experiences which have not happened yet, but which match similar ones which have been incorporated into memory. This has zero significant implications re 'relativity', and nothing whatsoever to do with gravity.

Could someone interpret this phrase as implying some literal ability to project awareness into the future, a la some Sci-Fi scenario?

I presume someone could, and that maybe a legitimate criticism of the style of writing.

The whole discussion following from Eloise's comments is totally bizarre and irrelevant to the actual issues flowing from the OP.

 

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I just thought it was an

I just thought it was an interesting article concerning intelligence, and homo sapien's uniqueness with respect to it.

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Quote:Now I love all this

Quote:
Now I love all this interesting evolutionary research as much as the next person here, but what this is really asking us to do is assume mental time travel into the future is something the brain achieves in the absence of external stimulus - we cannot sense tomorrow externally, because it "doesn't exist" externally therefore, sensing tomorrow is a product of complex abstract reasoning.

Eloise, you've twisted an analogy into a literal interpretation. That's a non sequitor.

The bird is not 'seeing into the future'; it's using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings. There's nothing unusual about this at all - even my computer does this. I don't have to be able to see into the future (or even understand physics), for example, to know that walking into the path of an oncoming locomotive isn't a good idea, and I know it for the same reason - interacting with my surroundings and observing the world has led me to the awareness that large objects moving at great speed will harm me if I'm struck by them.

 

EDIT: You'll also note that the bird, while acting intuitively, may not be correct in it's assumptions. It's probable that some of the birds who went to the trouble of hiding their food wouldn't have had their food stolen regardless. You'll also note that none of the birds in the study acted with any kind of weird apparent precognition; only after they had a social model that realized the existence of theft did they react to such circumstances.

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Eloise wrote:Well, yeah

Eloise wrote:

Well, yeah essentially my issue is a general observation but in this specific case "they nonetheless were able to imagine themselves in the role of victim" was what set me off, what need is there for imagining a future if in fact there is reason to believe that "future" is a physically present reality -- maybe it's merely perceptible.

 

 

In psychology there's  'counter-factual thinking' in which you imagine what could have happened.

 

The example in my social psych book is the Olympic winners. The Silver can easily picture themselves winning the Gold if they did something different.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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BobSpence1 wrote:Could

BobSpence1 wrote:

Could someone interpret this phrase as implying some literal ability to project awareness into the future, a la some Sci-Fi scenario?

No, and I most certainly did not even nearly do that. Moreover if what you're implying here, is that I did you're just being obnoxious and ignorant. I've said nothing of the sort.

I interpreted that phrase as implying complex reasoning, nothing more, and certainly nothing that alludes to Science Fiction. It is the notion that the reasoning is complex which I am rejecting, hell, I'll reject that there is even reasoning involved. The future is physically interacting with present mass, ergo an hypothesis of reasoning underlying the sensing of future probability could just be extraneous in and of itself, forget calling it complex.

 

BobSpence wrote:

The whole discussion following from Eloise's comments is totally bizarre and irrelevant to the actual issues flowing from the OP.

 

 

I know it's not relevant to the issues the OP leads to, I've been very clear that my intent is to show those issues completely undermined by the physical reality they presuppose.

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Kevin R Brown

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Quote:
Now I love all this interesting evolutionary research as much as the next person here, but what this is really asking us to do is assume mental time travel into the future is something the brain achieves in the absence of external stimulus - we cannot sense tomorrow externally, because it "doesn't exist" externally therefore, sensing tomorrow is a product of complex abstract reasoning.

Eloise, you've twisted an analogy into a literal interpretation. That's a non sequitor.

The bird is not 'seeing into the future'; it's using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings.

Dammit Lets get this straight. please.

1. I am arguing that the bird is "seeing" , well, more accurately, in a data stimulus-response interaction with the real physical future! I am NOT I repeat NOT charging the article with having said anything of this nature -- I HAVE SAID THIS! Okay?

2. Everything I have written here is in the pursiut of resolution: the bird is using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings = FALSE!!!

Is that clear yet?

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Eloise wrote:BobSpence1

Eloise wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Nothing in the story is really addressing questions of physics - let alone anything involving relativity.

Time. Bob. The story makes an assumption about the nature of time. You see this just frustrates me. How do you get away with saying that Bob? How does anyone get away with saying Time has nothing to do with relativity. The impertinence makes me want to punch something.

Unless you insist on interpreting the offending phrase as implying real perception of future events rather than imagining or anticipating what may happen, the assumptions about the nature of time are no different to those behind virtually every reference to time in ordinary discussion, including virtually every other post on this board not specifically addressing such technical or scientific aspects of the nature of Time, or Space-Time, etc.

Newton's contributions were the hypothesis that gravity apples universally, and the law defining the way it effects the motion of bodies. Both are still more than accurate enough for all but extreme situations. His calculations, based mostly on planetary and lunar motions, supported the universality at least out to all the astronomical bodies for which he had adequate figures for, and allowed him to deduce the Law. True, that he didn't answer the question on an underlying mechanism. Einstein's General Relativity provided a mathematical model which did suggest an underlying relation between gravitational effects, space, and time, which was borne out by observations, but really still did not 'explain' what 'space-time' actually consists of.

If we are not in the regime of high velocity, high gravity, or extreme precision requirements, then the Newtonian model is still quite serviceable, and much simpler to calculate.

Both are actually just mathematical models, with Einstein's version covering a wider range of conditions more accurately, and unifying aspects of Time, Space, Mass and Energy.

Quote:

BobSpence wrote:

Its about mental processes involving expectation, anticipation, modelling a possible course of subsequent events, etc. Obviously the underlying processes ultimately involve physics, but no more so than something as simple and present as a reflex reaction.

No, I am not appealing to underlying processes here, even though I believe they are important and wouldn't dismiss them the way you are either. I am rejecting the notion that projecting thoughts in time needs be any more complex than basic sensory perception of physical reality.   I'm defying that there needs to be any complex "projection" at all in "mental time travel" because relativity gives us reason to believe there is a physically real interaction between the present and the future.

I don't think that is correct. Relativity shows that we cannot unambiguously define the 'present' where there is spatial separation.

I presume you are referring to the what will be perceived about the relative timing of events in different inertial frames of reference. I am pretty sure you will find that nowhere does this allow actual interaction with the future or past inside any one frame of reference.

Relativity actually limits our ability to interact with spatially separate objects, and if the spatial separation between us and some other object is increasing at or or above the speed of light, due to the expansion of the Universe, we cannot interact in any way, even to just observe it.

Anyway this is way off the subject of the OP.

Quote:

BobSpence wrote:

The comment about observing intelligence in an isolated brain really doesn't quite make sense to me, even as a thought-experiment, except perhaps with reference to my 'quibble'.

Eloise wrote:

That was given tongue-in-cheek, I was going for overly simplistic and dismissive. I suppose you're right to say that it wasn't the most appropriate tack given the circumstances but I did it to reflect my feeling on the matter more than anything. There is just way to much careless localising of systems in the literature, and no it's not just a matter of scientists dumbing down the concepts for the lay reader because the faulty premise is evident in the interpretation of the results too, it's being carried over again and again.

What do you have issue with in the interpretation of the results in this specific case, or is that a general observation?

Well, yeah essentially my issue is a general observation but in this specific case "they nonetheless were able to imagine themselves in the role of victim" was what set me off, what need is there for imagining a future if in fact there is reason to believe that "future" is a physically present reality -- maybe it's merely perceptible.

There is no evidence or justification within Relativity for such a proposition. The only theory that even hints at something like that is Quantum Theory which, ironically, currently doesn't quite fit with Relativity...

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BobSpence1 wrote:I presume

BobSpence1 wrote:

I presume you are referring to the what will be perceived about the relative timing of events in different inertial frames of reference.

No I'm not.

BobSpence wrote:

I am pretty sure you will find that nowhere does this allow actual interaction with the future or past inside any one frame of reference.

Yes it does. this is exactly what relativity describes as gravity. Gravity in relativity is an actual interaction with a manifold of time.

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nigelTheBold wrote:I just

nigelTheBold wrote:

I just thought it was an interesting article concerning intelligence, and homo sapien's uniqueness with respect to it.

I'm sorry for the massive derail, Nigel. Actually I thought you'd be interested in what I had to say, otherwise I'd have left your thread alone.. pardon the presumption, my bad.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Eloise

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Well, yeah essentially my issue is a general observation but in this specific case "they nonetheless were able to imagine themselves in the role of victim" was what set me off, what need is there for imagining a future if in fact there is reason to believe that "future" is a physically present reality -- maybe it's merely perceptible.

 

 

In psychology there's  'counter-factual thinking' in which you imagine what could have happened.

 

The example in my social psych book is the Olympic winners. The Silver can easily picture themselves winning the Gold if they did something different.

 

Yep, I'm aware of this. However, explaining the physical mechanism of psychological phenomenon is a different question altogether.

 

 

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Eloise wrote: Dammit Lets

Eloise wrote:

Dammit Lets get this straight. please.

1. I am arguing that the bird is "seeing" , well, more accurately, in a data stimulus-response interaction with the real physical future! I am NOT I repeat NOT charging the article with having said anything of this nature -- I HAVE SAID THIS! Okay?

2. Everything I have written here is in the pursiut of resolution: the bird is using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings = FALSE!!!

Is that clear yet?

If the birds can sense the future, and if the future is an actual destination can the bird alter this destination with the information that they sense?  If the birds can alter this destination does that mean that the awareness of these birds affects the dimension of time?

 Could you give me some links that talk about the theory of gravity you are discussing?  I’ve always been kind of curious about it.  Thank in advanced.  Sorry if my question is stupid.  I don’t really know that much about this subject. 
 


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RatDog wrote:Eloise wrote:

RatDog wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Dammit Lets get this straight. please.

1. I am arguing that the bird is "seeing" , well, more accurately, in a data stimulus-response interaction with the real physical future! I am NOT I repeat NOT charging the article with having said anything of this nature -- I HAVE SAID THIS! Okay?

2. Everything I have written here is in the pursiut of resolution: the bird is using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings = FALSE!!!

Is that clear yet?

If the birds can sense the future, and if the future is an actual destination can the bird alter this destination with the information that they sense?

Sorry Ratdog, I can't really answer this question with complete confidence. As you can see it's hard enough to get intelligent people to even consider the proposition that the physical interaction implied by relativity is qualitative beyond, as implied by Bob, the motions of planetary bodies, let alone hypothesise mechanisms within that framework.

That said, however, I would say that the answers to those questions would probably depend on what interpretation of Quantum Theory you're wont to believe.

Ratdog wrote:

If the birds can alter this destination does that mean that the awareness of these birds affects the dimension of time?

Energy curves space-time just as mass does and a perception is essentially an exchange of energy, thus the bird need not alter it's destination to affect the dimension of time, it will already have affected it by the exchanging of information.

 


RatDog wrote:

 Could you give me some links that talk about the theory of gravity you are discussing?  I’ve always been kind of curious about it.  Thank in advanced.  Sorry if my question is stupid.  I don’t really know that much about this subject. 
 

At this point I am only referring to the General Theory of Relativity, I'm not sure what style of learning about it would suit you so I recommend you google it and check out a few pages for yourself.

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Eloise wrote:Sorry Ratdog, I

Eloise wrote:

Sorry Ratdog, I can't really answer this question with complete confidence. As you can see it's hard enough to get intelligent people to even consider the proposition that the physical interaction implied by relativity is qualitative beyond, as implied by Bob, the motions of planetary bodies, let alone hypothesise mechanisms within that framework.

That said, however, I would say that the answers to those questions would probably depend on what interpretation of Quantum Theory you're wont to believe.


 

 

But Eloise, the Quantum events only happen at the Quantum level. (I'm assuming you're proposing some sort of Quantum entanglement..)

 

The events of the brain are caused by neurons. I don't know how big a neuron is, but I'm sure it's physical length is bigger than it's de-Broglie wavelength.

 

 

 


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The only mechanisms I have

The only mechanisms I have heard of that have been conceived to use relativistic effects to distort time to the extent that some sort of spatial movement might translate into some movement in time have been things like the Tipler Cylinder, an infinitely long cylinder spinning fast enough around its long axis to 'drag' space-time into a spiral which a space ship may use to go forward or back in time.

Other speculations involve wormholes, or exotic matter of some kind. Generally the scale and energies involved are somewaht beyond anything happening in the brain of a bird.

I was going to ask what references you had to support this conjecture, but failing that, I will have to fall back on the ideas of people like Stephen Hawking, who doesn't seem to be too optimistic on the idea of time effects of the sort implied by Eloise, AFAICS.

I realize Relativity applies at all levels, not just to the motions of the planetary bodies, but it is not going to produce significant effects at ordinary velocities and gravitational intensities. To justify anything different, you will have to produce some pretty intense maths, or at least point to someone with some background in the subject who has done the work.

I repeat, such totally off-the-wall speculations involving Relativity and Gravity is gonna need a helluva lot more justification as applicable to the topic of the OP that you have offered.

Yes, gravity distorts space-time, but there is zero evidence that it enables world-lines to loop back on themselves, which would be required to bridge two points in space-time with different time values. Except maybe under truly extreme conditions like the vicinity of a Tipler cylinder, or some arrangement involving black holes...

 

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Quote:1. I am arguing that

Quote:
1. I am arguing that the bird is "seeing" , well, more accurately, in a data stimulus-response interaction with the real physical future!

I'm aware. I'm claiming that this is unfalsifiable nonsense that you have no evidence for.

Quote:
2. Everything I have written here is in the pursiut of resolution: the bird is using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings = FALSE!!!

TRUE!!!

 

Do you really want to just trade bald assertions, Eloise? What evidence do you have that the animal is interacting with the real physical future on a 4th dimensional scale?

For my part, here's what actual scientists happen to think about this matter.

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Eloise wrote:nigelTheBold

Eloise wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

I just thought it was an interesting article concerning intelligence, and homo sapien's uniqueness with respect to it.

I'm sorry for the massive derail, Nigel. Actually I thought you'd be interested in what I had to say, otherwise I'd have left your thread alone.. pardon the presumption, my bad.

Oh, no! Not your bad at all. I was definitely interested in your post. I had no purpose of posting originally, except to excite discussion, which it has. So there was no derail.

I hadn't thought it would be such a contentious issue. That's all.

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I'm sure nobody's going to

I'm sure nobody's going to like this, but I don't understand what the fuss was about with Eloise's idea. It seems like light discussion.

Eloise wrote:
Lets rewind that to the hidden premise - The future doesn't yet exist. How does this one slip by relativity? Seriously. It's a fallacy of contradiction.

And yet, it happens, so it must be our understanding of the mechanism that has a flaw. What, in your estimation is "slipping by relativity"?

Eloise wrote:
On the one hand time and space are a fabric which bends in the presence of mass, on the other hand a substantial percentage of this so called fabric doesn't actually exist in reality and the mass which literally pushes it around has no direct means of interaction with it.... stop me when you see my point, won't you.

I think I'm missing it. The fabric is naturally a metaphor representing the force of gravity, which is the interaction between any mass. I'm not sure what you mean by saying it doesn't exist.

Eloise wrote:
Try understanding this research without the faulty premise and the mystery just vanishes. Mental time travel is just another feedback loop of sensory awareness.

Are you saying that sensory awareness begets mental time travel? I can see why you'd say the mystery vanishes. I think that's just another way of capping off the research (that is, concluding that sensory awareness could always result in what we would identify as emergent intelligence).

Eloise wrote:
Forgive me for making a fuss but if I had one wish it would be that evolutionary scientists would do two things for me, be more cautious in their understanding of time and the isolation of thermodynamic systems. It would just be really cool.... and productive, I daresay.

I'm having difficulty seeing where time or thermodynamics were offended here. You may have more of a problem with the speculative conclusions of the experiment rather than the results of the experiment itself.

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Eloise wrote:Energy curves

Eloise wrote:
Energy curves space-time just as mass does and a perception is essentially an exchange of energy, thus the bird need not alter it's destination to affect the dimension of time, it will already have affected it by the exchanging of information.

Mathematically speaking, though (as I believe is your forte), the amount of energy required to affect a weak force like gravity would be absolutely immense. I'm not sure you'd be able to find such an energy spike in a bird's brain.

Are you suggesting, though, that the bird's thought process actually affects time and space in some way? Or is it that in the time the information takes to reach the bird's brain, relativity is involved in a specific way? I'm having a hard time isolating your argument. You seem frustrated that you're being misunderstood, though, so that's probably not helping.

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Well,I have gone over

Well,I have gone over this thread like six times now and I still do not know what is going on here.

 

Let me make this perfectly clear:

 

The phrase “mental time travel”does not refer to a physical act. I do not expect that birds are more accurate than my stock broker. It is at best a literary construct intended to make a point.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well,I have gone over this thread like six times now and I still do not know what is going on here.

 

Let me make this perfectly clear:

 

The phrase “mental time travel”does not refer to a physical act. I do not expect that birds are more accurate than my stock broker. It is at best a literary construct intended to make a point.

 

Of course, that is the obvious way to read it, and that's how I read it.

Eloise has some totally weird ideas about relativity, time, gravity and mind which derailed things somewhat.

 

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 I do not expect that birds are more accurate than my stock broker.

 

That would be a first! Who's your stock broker?

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HisWillness wrote:I'm sure

HisWillness wrote:

I'm sure nobody's going to like this, but I don't understand what the fuss was about with Eloise's idea. It seems like light discussion.

Eloise wrote:
Lets rewind that to the hidden premise - The future doesn't yet exist. How does this one slip by relativity? Seriously. It's a fallacy of contradiction.

And yet, it happens, so it must be our understanding of the mechanism that has a flaw. What, in your estimation is "slipping by relativity"?

Hi Will, I'll attempt to answer your question in the next section.

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
On the one hand time and space are a fabric which bends in the presence of mass, on the other hand a substantial percentage of this so called fabric doesn't actually exist in reality and the mass which literally pushes it around has no direct means of interaction with it.... stop me when you see my point, won't you.

I think I'm missing it. The fabric is naturally a metaphor representing the force of gravity, which is the interaction between any mass. I'm not sure what you mean by saying it doesn't exist.

The fabric of space-time is a metaphor, sure, but the Lorentzian manifold of spacetime is a model of the real universe from which gravity logically arises so I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm saying that for a pretty significant part there are other major scientific models which are (or at least seem to be) premised on it not actually existing.

I know that it's mostly because the implications of relativity are so very difficult to visualise, I hear all too often, "so... the universe looks like this... don't try to picture it it'll hurt, just solve this and you'll see it's true", but...  it just seems too few of those truths are being admitted into our basic picture of the universe.

If we take seriously the assumption that space-time can be modelled as a four dimensional differentiable manifold then we take seriously that we really do reside on a "fabric", continuous in time as well as space. It's hard to understand what that means for us so I understand how it's easier to ignore it some, I just don't think it should be ignored altogether.

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Try understanding this research without the faulty premise and the mystery just vanishes. Mental time travel is just another feedback loop of sensory awareness.

Are you saying that sensory awareness begets mental time travel?

Yes, Dammit!!!    What a relief... How is it that I haven't conveyed it to anyone else, It's like you have an Eloise decoder or something.

Anyhow, Ok so yes that's the idea that I'm testing here.

 

HisWillness wrote:

I can see why you'd say the mystery vanishes. I think that's just another way of capping off the research (that is, concluding that sensory awareness could always result in what we would identify as emergent intelligence).

You may have more of a problem with the speculative conclusions of the experiment rather than the results of the experiment itself.

Did noone else realise that was what I meant? No wonder we've been going in circles here.

Yes, Exactly what Will said everybody, this is just about an alternate conclusion, I'm not arguing with the research. I thought it was a fricken great study, actually.

 

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HisWillness wrote:Eloise

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Energy curves space-time just as mass does and a perception is essentially an exchange of energy, thus the bird need not alter it's destination to affect the dimension of time, it will already have affected it by the exchanging of information.

Mathematically speaking, though (as I believe is your forte), the amount of energy required to affect a weak force like gravity would be absolutely immense. I'm not sure you'd be able to find such an energy spike in a bird's brain.

Yeah, this is the closed system issue I was referring to. As long as we're isolating consciousness from 99.9999% of it's physical substrate we're bound to be saying, no, not enough energy here.

HisWillness wrote:

Are you suggesting, though, that the bird's thought process actually affects time and space in some way?

No, not really. Ratdog asked a couple of hard questions which are kind of beyond answering at this point. Essentially my issue is with the assumption that consciousness resides in the brain which all these models of life keeps getting fitted to. I was rapt with the main conclusion of the study, that human cognition seems evidentally to be made up of developed versions of the same in other species. It somewhat supports the conclusions of the general neourophysiological model, but, I think also this all can be read another way.

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BobSpence1 wrote:The only

BobSpence1 wrote:

The only mechanisms I have heard of that have been conceived to use relativistic effects to distort time to the extent that some sort of spatial movement might translate into some movement in time have been things like the Tipler Cylinder, an infinitely long cylinder spinning fast enough around its long axis to 'drag' space-time into a spiral which a space ship may use to go forward or back in time.

Why must it be so dramatic, though? we are travelling fast enough to move forward in time by seconds. It's not quite as exciting as all that, but it's real movement in time.

BobSpence wrote:

Other speculations involve wormholes, or exotic matter of some kind. Generally the scale and energies involved are somewaht beyond anything happening in the brain of a bird.

I was going to ask what references you had to support this conjecture, but failing that, I will have to fall back on the ideas of people like Stephen Hawking, who doesn't seem to be too optimistic on the idea of time effects of the sort implied by Eloise, AFAICS.

Okay here's the thing. Gravity is a time effect and all mass exerts gravity. I think you are just overestimating the scale of what I am trying to say. I'm not talking about synapses making gravity ripples in other worlds or anything.

BobSpence wrote:

I realize Relativity applies at all levels, not just to the motions of the planetary bodies, but it is not going to produce significant effects at ordinary velocities and gravitational intensities.

If by significant effects you mean something like a major time dilation, sure, of course. But, on topic, I'm talking about explaining totally normal and mundane effects of living on a planet by considering the influence of the space time it occurs in. It doesn't need to be significant in the way you're implying, it just needs to be mundanely significant to the substrate consciousness is arising from.

 

 

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Kevin R Brown wrote:Quote:1.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
1. I am arguing that the bird is "seeing" , well, more accurately, in a data stimulus-response interaction with the real physical future!

I'm aware.

Okay, that is totally not what I read you saying, Kevin, fair enough.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

I'm claiming that this is unfalsifiable nonsense that you have no evidence for.

I see. Alright then.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
2. Everything I have written here is in the pursiut of resolution: the bird is using it's brain (more specifically, it's memory) to build a model of it's surroundings = FALSE!!!

TRUE!!!

 

Do you really want to just trade bald assertions, Eloise?

I said I was pursuing the resolution and I'm not asserting it baldly Kevin, there's a page of discussion right here that backs it up.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

What evidence do you have that the animal is interacting with the real physical future on a 4th dimensional scale?

None, no one is even considering it. Despite the fact that we are apparently living on a physical structure which is continuous in that direction. That frustrates me and I was venting it.

 

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well,I have gone over this thread like six times now and I still do not know what is going on here.

 

Let me make this perfectly clear:

 

The phrase “mental time travel”does not refer to a physical act. I do not expect that birds are more accurate than my stock broker. It is at best a literary construct intended to make a point.

 

Look, I know, okay? You're not the first to assume this was my mistake but I haven't read anything at all into the metaphor. Seriously, nothing I have said here is in any way, any how, or any means based on what I presumed to have read into a cute analogy, please understand this.

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 [Kitty Blinders

 [Kitty Blinders Activate!]

Why yes... it is quite interesting that scientists have verified what should have been obvious -- that intelligence is a highly selectable trait and must have evolved multiple times based on when certain species must have split.

 

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Hambydammit wrote: [Kitty

Hambydammit wrote:

 [Kitty Blinders Activate!]

Why yes... it is quite interesting that scientists have verified what should have been obvious -- that intelligence is a highly selectable trait and must have evolved multiple times based on when certain species must have split.

I know. I thought that bit was no revelation.

What I found most interesting was the precision with which we are able to locate at which point intelligence evolved. We're finally gathering data to describe the results of what we already knew: that intelligence is a positively-selectable trait. I also liked that there were examples of animals exceeding expectations in terms of intelligence. Just more examples of how humans really aren't that special, all things considered.

So, I guess I just like that it's one more way in which the data matches our predictions.

Science is so fuckin' cool that way.

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 Quote:I also liked that

 

Quote:
I also liked that there were examples of animals exceeding expectations in terms of intelligence.

It's dangerous territory, I know, but I enjoy speculating about how a particular aspect of sentience or intelligence could be selected.  I'm pretty sure you've read my Free Will essay, so you know I don't consider the divide between "sentience" and "non-sentience" to be particularly important except in esoteric philosophical discussions.  For that matter, I don't even pretend to think the definition of either word is particularly important.

In another thread, I was chiding a theist about thinking of free will as having meaning.  He suggested that fish have the free will to go against their nature to scatter when a rock hits the water (which seems absurd enough to me to quit reading, but I'm a masochist).  That gave me a good chance to explain how the ability to predict is a heritable trait.  Supposing a prey fish always zigs left after five swishes of the tail when pursued, eventually, through blind chance, a predator fish would exist that always zigged left on the fourth swish of the tail, thus always giving it a more direct line to the prey and a considerable survival advantage.  No thinking necessary.  Just a set of genes that causes the behavior, like ants who "know" to carry food down to the queen.

So simple prediction is easy to explain, and it's easy to see how that kind of thing would be highly selectable.  Prediction is an important aspect of intelligence, and is usually one of the things apologists use to justify free will, yet many animals predict, and quite a few predict while doing mental models.  (I'm thinking of the chimp (orangutan?)  that figures out how to build its own ladder to get to a piece of fruit.)

No, I see intelligence and sentience as matters of degree, and as I look around the animal kingdom, I see over and over again that nothing humans can do is either unique or difficult to imagine as a selectable trait.

 

 

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Quote:No, I see intelligence

Quote:
No, I see intelligence and sentience as matters of degree, and as I look around the animal kingdom, I see over and over again that nothing humans can do is either unique or difficult to imagine as a selectable trait.

If I may take this a step further:

I'd argue that there's more than simply our brains to consider. Our brilliantly complex digits and opposable thumbs are just as key as any lobe within our skulls to our ability to construct complex machinery, and in this way our 'greater intelligence' is really something of an illusion (forgive me if I swallowed a rumor, but I believe it was discovered not all that long ago that dolphins likely possess superior mathematical & abstract problem-solving skills to humans?)

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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When I first saw this topic

When I first saw this topic I thought:

 

"First they would have to prove intellegnece is widespread"

 

 

 

 


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BobSpence1 wrote:Answers in

BobSpence1 wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well,I have gone over this thread like six times now and I still do not know what is going on here.

 

Let me make this perfectly clear:

 

The phrase “mental time travel”does not refer to a physical act. I do not expect that birds are more accurate than my stock broker. It is at best a literary construct intended to make a point.

 

Of course, that is the obvious way to read it, and that's how I read it.

Eloise has some totally weird ideas about relativity, time, gravity and mind which derailed things somewhat.

 

I have strange ideas about mind, yep. My ideas about relativity are essentially ordinary except for the part where I put that bit more faith in the implications than the average bear.

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