What do you think/know

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What do you think/know

What do you think/know
I am not a geneticist or biologist. This may be an interesting subject for some of you. What this is about may have drastic future consequences.
I don't present this to cause a heated debate but a subject  for thought and discussion.. This isn't about finding someone to be dumb or smart, or find fault with anothers reasoning.
Q 1- Is our ability to cognate at a higher level or a better degree than other beings, Chimps, dogs, alligators etc the result of a , shall I say, smart gene. I submit that I don't know, so I cannot find you right or wrong, so that can't be what this is about. To often I'm taken for wrongful intent.
 Consider- A gene has been snipped from a glow fly and put into a cat, and the cat glows in the dark. I heard about this a while back and checked on line and found it. I also searched "smart gene" but can't make a conclusion as to whether IQ (intellect) is a result of Genes, or genes are merely associated (a helper) with IQ. It looks as though it isn't known for sure as yet.
Q 2- If our higher level/use of intellect is due directly to smart genes, and the genes are snipped and installed in a dog, and the dog becomes just as intellectual as we, is that dog then to be considered  human. If so--Huston we have a problem. If not--Huston we have a problem
What brought this all to mind is watching Nova on you tube. A dwarfed skeleton was found on the island of flores. The skeleton is labeled as "human". The dwarfing has been found not to be associated with any desease, but the normal processes of evolution.  Useing the brain they were attmpting to determine whether or not the skeleton is of a human-- they determined it is. So what they're useing as a determination of human is intelligence. From this now you can see what this is about.
There's still a number of questions to deal with, but I'll ask those questions in accordance with what is posted.
 By useing the common standards if what is seen as human is the dog just as intelligent as we, and if so. is the dog human?

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 My understanding is that

 My understanding is that there is a great number of genes that contribute to our intelligence and are embedded with other functions, so it isn't as easy as just snipping out a few strains and plugging them into a dog. The largest single influence claimed is the HMGA2, which only adds an average of 1.3 IQ points. (This has yet to be confirmed, we just have a single study as far as I know). Exactly how much genetics contributes to intelligence remains unknown. I imagine that we will find it is fairly complex considering that the relatively simple task of modifying genetics in agricultural crops has proven the expected result isn't always what happens.

Here are a couple short articles on the topic from my bookshelf. I haven't really studied it in depth myself.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/20183102

www.jstor.org/stable/40575093

As far as the definition of human, I don't see a problem. The definition of human is arbitrary and there is no solid line where you can make the claim that one being is human and another with a minute difference isn't in a way that can't be disputed. Our entire classification system of species has been criticized for this, and some have suggested we should throw it out. Ultimately classifications are just for convenience and subject to change. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Very good

Thank you, this has been helpful. As I take it, one part of your response may be referring to, we don't have a solid understanding of what human is.

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We don't have a solid

We don't have a solid understanding of intelligence. Humans are easy to define in comparison.

We don't know that no other species is our cognitive equal. We have no test that can determine it one way or another. We have physical attributes that allow us to manifest our intelligence that other species do not have.

If a dolphin, or a shark, or a whale or any other marine life were as intelligent as us, they could not develop technology and agriculture as we have. Even if they had the anatomy that would let them manifest their intellect, the ocean environment completely prevents any possibility of metal or wood or fire working, which is the foundation of all our technology and scientific knowledge. Without that foundation, we would never have even begun to build society. So no matter how intelligent a marine species is or will be, they can never develop it as we have.

Similarly, a horse or deer or cow or any other hoofed animal is prevented by their anatomy. It is generally thought that such animals are rather stupid, but even if they were genuises they could never capture and control fire or plant crops and harvest them.

We humans have an edge in 3 categories that no other species alive today can match. We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

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Thank

Vastet wrote:
We don't have a solid understanding of intelligence. Humans are easy to define in comparison. We don't know that no other species is our cognitive equal. We have no test that can determine it one way or another. We have physical attributes that allow us to manifest our intelligence that other species do not have. If a dolphin, or a shark, or a whale or any other marine life were as intelligent as us, they could not develop technology and agriculture as we have. Even if they had the anatomy that would let them manifest their intellect, the ocean environment completely prevents any possibility of metal or wood or fire working, which is the foundation of all our technology and scientific knowledge. Without that foundation, we would never have even begun to build society. So no matter how intelligent a marine species is or will be, they can never develop it as we have. Similarly, a horse or deer or cow or any other hoofed animal is prevented by their anatomy. It is generally thought that such animals are rather stupid, but even if they were genuises they could never capture and control fire or plant crops and harvest them. We humans have an edge in 3 categories that no other species alive today can match. We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

You. Here's where questions come in, but one at a time. Do you suppose that even if it were possible,and the gene worked, that they would be as intelligent as we even though they may not be able to use intelligence. What I'm looking at is, intelligence may not require physical ability to be inlelligent. What's being snipped and installed would be already working gene and I'm supposing from the processes of evolution. Now that is, if it becomes possible to snipand install. To put it simply into one question then, if it's already a working gene would they be able to understand--lets say , the use of a keyboard even though they cannot type.

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Biologically, a dog that is

Biologically, a dog that is as smart as a human is still a dog. That's tautologous. 

I think the question you're asking is should we treat that dog like a human in terms of ethics. I would say yes, with few exceptions?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Thank you

butterbattle wrote:

Biologically, a dog that is as smart as a human is still a dog. That's tautologous. 

I think the question you're asking is should we treat that dog like a human in terms of ethics. I would say yes, with few exceptions?

Keep in mind that the dog in this case, or any number of them, would be just as intelligent as we, and could reason anything just as well as we. What would the Dog or Chimp etc, think of our determinations, considering they would want a say in the considerations. In your opinion, should they be allowed a say in determining whether they are equal to us or not. What would a dog think about being kept on a leash/tether, or a Chimp in a cage, and don't agree with the exceptions.

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Vastet
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Old Seer wrote:Do you

Old Seer wrote:
Do you suppose that even if it were possible,and the gene worked, that they would be as intelligent as we even though they may not be able to use intelligence.

I think it's hard to say. It is theoretically possible, but I think intelligence is most likely an evolving phenomena. I think that the average person 2000 years ago was not as intelligent as the average person today.

I think intelligence propogates, at least when a population is left to its own devices.

I'm having a hard time articulating my thoughts here so try and bear with me.

If a population with our beneficial features (anatomy capable of tool us, depth of communication, etc) develops a rudimentary intelligence, it is likely to become more intelligent with each successive generation. Communication will become more efficient, and be used to develop better tools, which basically snowballs into technology and science.

But a population that doesn't have our beneficial features really can't develop intelligence, because there's no pressure to be intelligent.

For example, you have 3 tribes of humans. One develops a spear, one develops farming, and one develops nothing new: all simultaneously. The tribe that developed the spear now puts pressure on the other two tribes because it has a survival advantage that threatens the other two. It can defeat them fairly easily in battle and force them to withdraw; taking their lands.
The tribe that develops farming becomes more pressured because farming requires not migrating, which makes them the proverbial fish in a barrel.
The tribe that develops nothing is pressured, but since it can just move out of the way the pressure it is under isn't as severe as the farmers.
In order to survive and capitalise on the development of farming, the farm tribe must counter the spear, so it too develops the spear. Because it has the advantage of not having to constantly forage for food, it has more time to work on it, and develops a better spear. Maybe also a shield. Basically, the competition of the spear tribe forces it to come up with an intelligent solution or perish. It forces intelligence to become more intelligent as each tribe counters the advances of the other.

But if no tribes can develop farming or spears, then there is no pressure to increase intelligence. The tribes can't use the intelligence, so it has no real benefit.

Even if you genetically modified another species to be intelligent; unless that species could utilise that intelligence, it wouldn't face any pressure to develop the intelligence; and would therefore never become more intelligent. It may actually lose the intelligence in successive generations if the intelligence doesn't allow it to be more successful.

Old Seer wrote:
Keep in mind that the dog in this case, or any number of them, would be just as intelligent as we, and could reason anything just as well as we. What would the Dog or Chimp etc, think of our determinations, considering they would want a say in the considerations. In your opinion, should they be allowed a say in determining whether they are equal to us or not. What would a dog think about being kept on a leash/tether, or a Chimp in a cage, and don't agree with the exceptions.

It sadly wouldn't matter what they thought. The recent film "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" actually dealt with this concept brilliantly, I think. In it, a chimp with human level intelligence is born, and raised in a human's house basically as a member of the family. But the only way the chimp can communicate is with sign language, something very few people can understand. It has to wear a leash because the idea of a chimp being a responsible member of society is really not something our species is prepared to deal with (it's also something the human adopter must keep secret because he basically broke the law by keeping the chimp in the first place). It becomes frustrated over it, and tries to understand why it is treated differently.
Because it can't communicate effectively with the majority of the population, and because of the injustice it experiences as a result of being 'just an animal', it eventually begins to plot a revolt. Unfortunately his fellow apes are too dumb to be effective, until he steals some of the formula used to make him smarter and uses it on his fellow apes.

Now there are some glaring scientific impossibilities and plot holes in the movie overall, but the basic concept of an intelligent chimp experiencing human society without being accepted as an equal is sound. It is even more so with a dog, say, that can't even use sign language.

In order to be given the rights that humans are privileged to receive, an intelligent animal would have to be able to demonstrate to the majority that it was capable of handling the responsibilities attached to those rights. It would have to be able to communicate with pretty much any random human. The only species I'm aware of that could do that are birds that can mimic speech. But they would need more than just intelligence. They would need a bigger capacity brain in order to recall a larger vocabulary, and be able to comprehend human value systems.

I'm rambling, because this is an incredibly complicated subject and a subject that society has really only barely touched even in fiction. There is no legal or political or scientific or social precedent for dealing with a species that is even close to human level intelligence.

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Old Seer wrote:Keep in mind

Old Seer wrote:

Keep in mind that the dog in this case, or any number of them, would be just as intelligent as we, and could reason anything just as well as we. What would the Dog or Chimp etc, think of our determinations, considering they would want a say in the considerations. In your opinion, should they be allowed a say in determining whether they are equal to us or not. What would a dog think about being kept on a leash/tether, or a Chimp in a cage, and don't agree with the exceptions.

Yes.

If they become as intelligent as humans, I think we should give weight to their opinions and preferences. How far that consideration goes, however, is something I don't know how to answer. I'm not sure if I should value them quite as much as humans; you could probably say I'm speciest. 

Not only are the moral implications complex, I'm not sure how much their intelligence would change their behavior. Although, regarding your specific example, I do think that we shouldn't keep any of them on leashes/cages, as long as they are not dangerous.  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Vastet Post 7

Very good post. I was out on a transport and didn't get in until yest evening. What we have to assume is that the chimp would be just a intelligent as we, so therfore we must also assume that it could understandcivil laws as well as we. I'm used to thinkling of being the dominent speices. If we look at Butterbattles post (next post after yours) this can be seen. A dog has an approximate life span of 15 years. By time it gets out of high school it's already and oldie. On the other handa Chip is a different deal altogether. We're looking at someone that could becopme Senator Chimpie Africanus, and screaming for rights for his side. He's aleady got (I thoungt of this while driving yesterday) plenty of allies---the animal rights floks.

Picture for starters---- an inteligent dog is moving through a neighborhood on it's way home form a run in the park. Nobody cares because it's a stray dog. (How do we tell a smart dog from a regular dog. ) A chimp ambles through the same neiborhood going home from ther park after a tree climbing workout. The people call the cops. This all seems rediculous but we have to assume that our intellectual abillities work just as well in a chimp.

I would think that the animal rights people would be in court demamnding chimpies rights, and, chimpie would be able to testify on his own behalf, and be able to use a keyboard to do it if necessary. We're used to being top dog. Buddy da dog may not see it that way. Chimpie may accuse us of being monkeys. (a bit of humor intended) Smiling

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Buttlebattle post 8

If the Chimp understands civil law which I'm assuming it could then it's a matter of being criminal or not. As best I inderstand it at this time it's not known if intelligennce is connected to a gene. In certain respects tho, I can't see how it wouldn't be. But my bioknowledge is limited from 0 to 1.

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Perhaps not a specific gene,

Perhaps not a 'specific' gene, but the vast majority of studies conclude that intelligence, regardless of how you define it, has a strong genetic component. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Vastet wrote:We have an

Vastet wrote:
We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

Again Vastet is trapped in the 1970s with his understanding of technology. How do you explain Stephen Hawking's contributions to science without a funtioning anatomy or voice?

The opposite is true, the human body can no longer compete with any machine.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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I haven't posted

EXC wrote:

Vastet wrote:
We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

Again Vastet is trapped in the 1970s with his understanding of technology. How do you explain Stephen Hawking's contributions to science without a funtioning anatomy or voice?

The opposite is true, the human body can no longer compete with any machine.

On Butterbattles last entry. I've been doing alot of thinking on all this. Off hand, I'd say Vastet may very well be correct--except---for the primates. They can develope the dextarity to do anything we can. Life span seems to be the big clincher. A rat with a span of five years wouldn't have the know how to make a difference. But Chimps and Gorillas with a 60 year lifespan may put them right with us.

One of the problems I had to overcome while looking at asll this was to get used to the idea that---we can't look at other life forms the same as we did in the past---if a smart gene will eventually work as well for them as us. IE--if we could just make a dog stay in the yard by obeying orders coherantly it would be less troublesome to have a dog.   Errrrt, wrong, some thing comes to mind. The dog won't stay in the yard becasue it's just as smart as we. I wouldn't prefer to get in a tustle with a German Shepard who can argue the point. I'm going to loose the argument in a hurry. I had to graduate from the idea that the dog will be a better companion if it understood me better, and, that's the problem. The darn thing will understasnd me, to well.

Physical specifications may not be able to be used in the judgment of intellegence. Stephen Hawking came to my mind also. Loss of physical ablility may not count for to much in regards to intelligence. We can't outrun the dog, outclimb the Chimp, or wrestle the Gorilla to the ground. Some males get to near 700 lbs. Monkies of all sizes can climb walls in a hurry if even slight hand holds are available. Hunting will go right out the window. Shoot a lion,s buddy and see where that goes. One thing, all the intellectuals will be able to liason for rights and protection. Chimps would be just as able to use firearms as we. Just because they walk  funny won't rate when it comes to firepower.  The animal kingdom, as it's refered to, are more physically able then we. A Cheetah will have me by the ass before I can get 20 yards. I'll bet poachers in Africa become extinct in a hurry.

What we have to look forward to is--if it can be done, laws against it or not, someone will do it. Even a dog with a 15 year lifespan will know plenty by the time it's 10, then what.

 

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Understood.

butterbattle wrote:

Perhaps not a 'specific' gene, but the vast majority of studies conclude that intelligence, regardless of how you define it, has a strong genetic component. 

As per the OP. We could be a warehouse full of rotten eggs if this is possible, someone "will" do it.

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EXC wrote:Vastet wrote:We

EXC wrote:

Vastet wrote:
We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

Again Vastet is trapped in the 1970s with his understanding of technology. How do you explain Stephen Hawking's contributions to science without a funtioning anatomy or voice?

The opposite is true, the human body can no longer compete with any machine.

Hmmm, while that's true, I don't see how it's relevant to the point Vastet was making. If anything, it proves his point, in that humans are unique in the extent to which we modify our environment and construct tools to meet our needs. Stephen Hawking is a disabled individual that does not represent the physical abilities of our species, yet he is able to live the life that he does precisely because we modify his environment and provide him with complex tools like wheelchairs and that machine-voice-thingy. 

Edit:

On that note, somewhat relevant to Old Seer's original questions, if there is other intelligent life in the universe, there are a couple traits they would probably need to get to where humans are now in terms of technology, society, etc. They would need some way of modifying their environment. Not necessary hands (although hands are great), could be like an elephants trunks, etc. Second, they would probably need to evolve as a social species, so they will often communicate with each other and work together.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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BB's post 15

This is getting tricky. Looking at the beaver we see a tremendous modification of environment. It seems it may have an (intelligence) aptitude that works for specific purposes. If the beaver were as intelligent as we instead of a mud and lodge it could opt for a small log cabin. maybe haveing a higher i9ntellect is a result of needing a way to survive. The beaver has it made with what it needs to do and have, and there's no need for it to go further.

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EXC wrote:Vastet wrote:We

EXC wrote:

Vastet wrote:
We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

Again Vastet is trapped in the 1970s with his understanding of technology. How do you explain Stephen Hawking's contributions to science without a funtioning anatomy or voice?

The opposite is true, the human body can no longer compete with any machine.

Again EXC proves his absolute ignorance of all things science and logic.
Hawking would have died as a baby if not for the anatomy of our species allowing us to develop technology in the first place.
And no machine has yet been designed which can outperform the human body.
As always, your argument is completely brain dead.

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Vastet wrote:EXC

Vastet wrote:
EXC wrote:

Vastet wrote:
We have an anatomy that allows for use and design of tools, we have vocal chords that allow for incredible depth in communication, and we inhabit an environment that allows us to utilise these two features. No other species alive today can claim this. As a result, even a more intelligent species could not compete with us.

Again Vastet is trapped in the 1970s with his understanding of technology. How do you explain Stephen Hawking's contributions to science without a funtioning anatomy or voice?

The opposite is true, the human body can no longer compete with any machine.

Again EXC proves his absolute ignorance of all things science and logic. Hawking would have died as a baby if not for the anatomy of our species allowing us to develop technology in the first place. And no machine has yet been designed which can outperform the human body. As always, your argument is completely brain dead.

Really! You can move faster than a jet? You can play chess better than Deep Blue? You can lift more weight than a construction crane?

The only reason humans still do any manual labor is because the cost of robotics technology is more expensive. Moore's law make it inevitable that the "human anatomy" will soon become obsolete. The $15/Hr. minimum wage means it will happen even faster.

So if technolgy allows Hawking to compete in the field of physics, why couldn't technolgy enable a 'more intellegent species' to compete as well?

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EXC wrote:Really! You can

EXC wrote:
Really! You can move faster than a jet? You can play chess better than Deep Blue? You can lift more weight than a construction crane?

Come back when you have a single machine that can do all three of these things as well as run without any more maintenance than fuel for 75 years.

EXC wrote:
The only reason humans still do any manual labor is because the cost of robotics technology is more expensive.

Nope. In fact, noone has yet designed a machine that can walk or grasp as well as a human.

EXC wrote:
Moore's law make it inevitable that the "human anatomy" will soon become obsolete.

Eventually, sure. But we're not there yet.

EXC wrote:
The $15/Hr. minimum wage means it will happen even faster.

Ridiculous. It would take a minimum wage of $40+/hr to have that kind of effect. And a ban or severe limitation on inflation too.

EXC wrote:
So if technolgy allows Hawking to compete in the field of physics, why couldn't technolgy enable a 'more intellegent species' to compete as well?

Who's going to build it for them when they aren't capable of building it themselves? I don't see a lot of people building robotic limbs for dolphins to see if they can do anything with them, do you?

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