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Posted by geek_luvn_princess (Member # 6917) on January 28, 2007, 12:05:
 
I'm just curious. What's everyone's take on the belief that men are not "programmed" to be monogamous, or that women aren't capable of having a no-strings-attached physical relationship with a man without emotion getting involved? This subject has sparked a recent debate between myself and a co-worker and I'd like to get everyone's opinion.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 28, 2007, 12:24:
 
Oh, baby! As a biology major I'm, like, totally hot to answer this question!!!

First, evolution (and instinct) does not program- it predisposes. We are born epigenetically predisposed to fear spiders and snakes, yet we do not all fear spiders and snakes. There is an element of environmental influence that can tip us one way or the other. (I, for instance, am uncomfortable around spiders due to an encounter with some black-widows, but I'm quite fond of the reptillian variety of snakes.) So, if you're arguing against the question as you've stated it, you get to throw it out on principle as a poorly-framed question and you don't actually have to worry about answering it. (In other words, you win on a technicality!)

However, even in species that were previously considered monogamous, genetic testing has revealed a surprising amount of infidelity. Also, there is no evidence that it is strictly a male predilection to cheat on a pair-bond. The girly-beasts do it, too. Therefore, it could be argued that it is advantageous to combine our genes with as many other gene-sets as possible regardless of our sex. (I am a failure- I've stopped at one recombination and, as a divorced man, I'd argue that the alleles I recombined mine with weren't even that great- but I love my son, faulty gene-sets and all...)

I feel that the portion of your question dealing with no-strings-attached physical relationships cannot be answered so readily because it's not a biology question at all- that bit's psychology. As any self-respecting science major will point out, psychology isn't a science (if you ask me, it's just barely graduated to art ).

I'd argue against the assertion that a male can have a no-strings-attached physical relationship by virtue of being male. I, for example, have failed miserably when I tried not to become emotionally attached to lovers. (That's right, plural , baby!) This is probably a question of nurture. Men are raised to believe that it's okay to partition sex from emotional bonds more frequently than women, so we see it more often in men. However, I have met and (unfortunatly) slept with women who seem to have learned very well not to bond with their lovers. So that statement is also invalid (in my oppinion). Both sexes are equally capable of learning how not to have healthy relationships.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on January 28, 2007, 14:27:
 
geek_luvn_princess & ScholasticSpastic____________It appears that you are not too far removed from one another. You could arrange an eye ball meeting and test each others theorys, nope bad idea.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 28, 2007, 14:39:
 
quote:
TheMoMan said:
geek_luvn_princess & ScholasticSpastic____________It appears that you are not too far removed from one another. You could arrange an eye ball meeting and test each others theorys, nope bad idea.

I agree that it is a bad idea: geek_luvn_princess is a Fraud Analyst and knowing that a woman is skilled at spotting B.S. is enough to scare off any fellow! I haven't earned my BS yet, but it's a skill I'm working on and I'm sure she'd notice. Also, I'm one of those members of both sexes who appears to have learned how not to have healthy relationships. And as a Celebrant of the Monastic Order of Scholastic Spastics I have sworn a vow of abstinence. Further, I probably don't look at all like her father. (Freudian jokes rock!!)
 
Posted by Metasquares (Member # 4441) on January 28, 2007, 15:17:
 
It's like one of the legendary GC punfests, but more subtle [Smile]
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 28, 2007, 15:23:
 
geek_luvn_princess wrote:
I'm just curious. What's everyone's take on the belief that men are not "programmed" to be monogamous, or that women aren't capable of having a no-strings-attached physical relationship with a man without emotion getting involved? This subject has sparked a recent debate between myself and a co-worker and I'd like to get everyone's opinion.

My take is that it doesn't really matter. Despite how some of us may behave from time to time, we are intelligent beings capable of choosing how we behave.

It's easy to find members of both genders who find it nearly impossible to separate sex from other emotional involvements because, in our culture, it is often viewed as a morally superior viewpoint.

By the same token, you can find people for whom sex has no more emotional involvement than a handshake. Men can advertise such behavior in our society because it's almost considered normal. Women who feel this way, however, usually hide it because the majority of our f***ed up society says it's wrong and considers it okay to harass, abuse and condemn those women who are open about it.

*takes a deep breath rather than going on a real rant*

Neither viewpoint (sex is fun, but meaningless vs. sex is an intensely emotional involvement) is definitively better than the other. Endless cases to justify both can be brought up. What it really comes down to is simply this: For a relationship between two people to work, those two people must be able to agree on a viewpoint that they can both live up to.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 28, 2007, 15:44:
 
quote:
Steen said:
...because the majority of our f***ed up society says it's wrong and considers it okay to harass, abuse and condemn those women who are open about it.

I respect that your moral relativism is bigger than my moral relativism and admire the whopping, huge size of your relativism as such relativism is something that I have been striving for for a long time. Understand that I am sticking my tongue out so that you don't think it's in my cheek. Further, I would suspect that your relativism is founded upon more valid philosophical assumptions because I just do it to piss off the (P)ope. Seriously.
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 28, 2007, 16:08:
 
ScholasticSpastic wrote:
I respect that your moral relativism is bigger than my moral relativism

Don't feel bad. The size of your "moral relativism" is genetic. You didn't choose to be smaller... the pope's boss made you that way.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 28, 2007, 17:29:
 
Ack!! [blush] ( [Applause] )
 
Posted by dragon34 (Member # 997) on January 28, 2007, 18:07:
 
quote:
Originally posted by geek_luvn_princess:
I'm just curious. What's everyone's take on the belief that men are not "programmed" to be monogamous, or that women aren't capable of having a no-strings-attached physical relationship with a man without emotion getting involved? This subject has sparked a recent debate between myself and a co-worker and I'd like to get everyone's opinion.

I happen to know a couple of females who are perfectly comfortable having no strings attached sex, as well as males who are not. I think it does depend on the person, their beliefs, and what has happened in their lives. Personally, I will admit to having a purely physical relationship, which both parties found to be very therapeutic after being dumped, however it was not taken to the level of sex, as we felt that that was a risky step we were not willing to take, being young and in college. We are still friends, perhaps even better friends then we were before the fling. Take it as you will, I don't regret it, but I don't really think about it much either. I'm engaged, and hopefully will never have to "date" again [Wink]
*shrug*
 
Posted by geek_luvn_princess (Member # 6917) on January 28, 2007, 21:18:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
I agree that it is a bad idea: geek_luvn_princess is a Fraud Analyst and knowing that a woman is skilled at spotting B.S. is enough to scare off any fellow! I haven't earned my BS yet, but it's a skill I'm working on and I'm sure she'd notice. Also, I'm one of those members of both sexes who appears to have learned how not to have healthy relationships. And as a Celebrant of the Monastic Order of Scholastic Spastics I have sworn a vow of abstinence. Further, I probably don't look at all like her father. (Freudian jokes rock!!)

As skilled as I should be, I still am a terrible judge of character when it comes to the opposite sex and my personal life. Perhaps that is why I, too, seem to have fallen into the unhealthy relationship abyss. Vows of abstinence are so under-rated.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 28, 2007, 21:25:
 
quote:
geek_luvn_princess:
Vows of abstinence are so under-rated.

I cannot under-rate my vow of abstinence. The very definition of an abstinent man is... One who toots his own horn (sorry). [Wink]
 
Posted by geek_luvn_princess (Member # 6917) on January 28, 2007, 21:37:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
quote:
geek_luvn_princess:
Vows of abstinence are so under-rated.

I cannot under-rate my vow of abstinence. The very definition of an abstinent man is... One who toots his own horn (sorry). [Wink]
Horn-tooting... also under-rated. [Wink]
 
Posted by Alan! (Member # 1261) on January 28, 2007, 21:50:
 
What is going on here? I leave for a few months, come back, and we have people who can actually write?! Good work SS!
 
Posted by csk (Member # 1941) on January 29, 2007, 00:10:
 
quote:
Originally posted by geek_luvn_princess:
I'm just curious. What's everyone's take on the belief that men are not "programmed" to be monogamous, or that women aren't capable of having a no-strings-attached physical relationship with a man without emotion getting involved? This subject has sparked a recent debate between myself and a co-worker and I'd like to get everyone's opinion.

Well, put it this way, when I was in a "no strings attached physical relationship", my emotions engaged earlier than my now girlfriends... There's no universal rule for men and women's behaviour, but there's some useful "things that are true far more often than not"
 
Posted by geek_luvn_princess (Member # 6917) on January 29, 2007, 03:30:
 
Well I see basically most people so far are in agreement with my side of the argument! I knew I wasn't crazy.... [Smile]
 
Posted by fs (Member # 1181) on January 29, 2007, 03:53:
 
quote:
Originally posted by geek_luvn_princess:
Well I see basically most people so far are in agreement with my side of the argument! I knew I wasn't crazy.... [Smile]

What was your side of the argument... what was the argument, anyway?
 
Posted by Mel (Member # 3553) on January 29, 2007, 08:03:
 
In my psych class in university, we were taught that any animal that doesn't lay eggs is not required to have a mate, as the female can carry her baby around, whereas animals that lay eggs need a mate around to trade off from protecting the eggs to go search for food. The theory was that the emotion of "love" was "invented" to keep the human male around to help raise the children. "Love" in this case could also possibly mean emotional manipulation. I believe it is in our nature to be polygamous, but now our social code/tradition is to fall in love and get married.
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on January 29, 2007, 08:37:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mel:
In my psych class in university, we were taught that any animal that doesn't lay eggs is not required to have a mate, as the female can carry her baby around, whereas animals that lay eggs need a mate around to trade off from protecting the eggs to go search for food. The theory was that the emotion of "love" was "invented" to keep the human male around to help raise the children. "Love" in this case could also possibly mean emotional manipulation. I believe it is in our nature to be polygamous, but now our social code/tradition is to fall in love and get married.

Yeah, but it's also in our nature to kill, rape, and make war, yet that doesn't necessarily make either right (going back to the vegan thread, etc). I think that society has part of the idea right: that you should only have one partner at a time. Whether or not that partner should remain yours for the rest of your natural life is debatable.

I agree with SS: while we may be predispositioned towards a certain behaviour, the whole point of being human is that we can overcome that limitation if we so choose in order to live a happier lifestyle.


I've heard it explained this way: the evolutionary reason for male cheating is simply to spread one's genes as far and wide as possible. 'sewing the wild oats', I believe the phrase is.

The female reason is not nearly so simple, or harmless: she cheats in order to create a child from a mate she sees as more fit, while remaining attached to some poor bastard because he is more capable of providing in some way, shape, or form.

Ever hear the phrase, 'Mommy's baby, Daddy's maybe?'

However, a monogamous relationship (at least for the period of time during which the child is conceived and borne (beared?)), ensures that the genes of the father really are passed on to the child, and mother and child are provided for by the father. Otherwise, if the dad finds out that the baby is not his, he'll either abandon it and the mother, or go postal and destroy them both.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 08:54:
 
quote:
nerdwithnofriends:
I agree with SS: while we may be predispositioned towards a certain behaviour, the whole point of being human is that we can overcome that limitation if we so choose in order to live a happier lifestyle.

I would caution you about agreeing with me. (But thanks!) I would also disagree that monogamy is for a certainty the very best structure for human relationships. Genetically, it provides some advantage to the male while disadvantaging the female. The female genes are actually the most important because she can only pop out one or two wee ones at a time. The male, on the other hand, is tremendously expendable. One male of any species is adequate to fertillize all of the females (I'm in the process of applying for the position myself- the abstinence thing will require some creativity, though).

You have precedence in arguing that a male who is uncertain about the parentage of a female's offspring can harm them. Observations of feral cats bear this out. A returning male's first act of business is to kill (and sometimes eat- if he's hungry) all of the kittens. That way he ensures that all of the next batch of kittens are more likely to be his. It's not fun to watch, though- you don't meet a lot of people who dislike kittens. [weep]

I, myself, will reserve real judgement on the very best way to structure our relationships until psycology becomes a real science. Until then, we can't know. I agree that serial monogamy seems to work best for me, though.

Note for everyone: You know, SS has some REALLY negative connotations... Established in the 1920s as a personal guard unit for Adolf Hitler...
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on January 29, 2007, 09:03:
 
Well you didn't like my idea. [Razz]
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on January 29, 2007, 10:05:
 
I can only provide anecdotal evidence, but I can tell you I've been in plenty of 'friends with benefits' relationships, and the girls wanted nothing more than some fun.

I can also tell you that I would never, have never, and will never cheat on my wife.

So all I'm saying is that the absolutes, "men will, given the chance", and "women can't", don't apply.

The grey area, however, I know nothing about.
 
Posted by chromatic (Member # 164) on January 29, 2007, 10:20:
 
quote:
Originally posted by geek_luvn_princess:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Vows of abstinence are so under-rated.

There ought to be a strong lobbying organization for celibate rights.
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on January 29, 2007, 10:26:
 
<threadjack>

Holy shit! I had no idea chromatic was a member of GC.

</threadjack>
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 11:05:
 
quote:
Xanthine:
Well you didn't like my idea.

You mean Mr. Spastic? I didn't say I didn't like it (me writes it over and over again in my notebook and sighs...), I just expressed some concern about the honorific.
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on January 29, 2007, 11:53:
 
dnm: chromatic has been around for a very long time.

Mr. Spastic, before you get overly concerned about the use of Mr., I want you to sit back and say Mr. Spastic several times.

The alternative, of course, is Dirtboy.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 12:01:
 
I can be Dirtboy. How'bout Mr. DirtBoy? The last time I made a fuss about names my best friend called me Bernice. That shut me up fast. Essentially, Femgeeks can call me whatever they like, so long as they call me often [evil] .
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on January 29, 2007, 12:10:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
dnm: chromatic has been around for a very long time.

I didn't know. It's not like I get bored and browse the userlist. [Smile]

chromatic is very well known in the opensource/perl community. It's kind of cool to have him around these parts, is all.
 
Posted by Colonel Panic (Member # 1200) on January 29, 2007, 17:18:
 
geek lovin' princess,

-- and geek guys --

Oh, I think women and men can both have sexual relationships without a long-term emotional commitment.

I think some of this, "a female needs a male to provide, and is therefore more predisposed to monogamy" is hogwash -- primarily distributed by selfish men who believe that by "providing" they have somehow purchased a woman's loyalty, or worse, her soul. I view these men as selfish and unsure of their sexuality.

Current trends show that the more that as women become financially independant, the less monogamous they become. Think "fish needs a bicycle."

Of course, "fish likes a worm, too."

Right now, more than 50% of men and women report being "unfaithful" during their marriages, with the percentage of women rapidly making up for lost time.

The guys who lose out in the deal are the guys who ain't got it. Harley-Davidson has made a fortune selling rumbling thunder to fellows who, by birth and lack of confidence, naturally lack that quality between their legs and feel they must find a substitute. It's not that some fellows with those motorcycles aren't real men, it's just that there is a reason why many of the pretenders are known as "weenies".

This goes to the idea of purchasing power, instead of wielding prowess.

But -- I digress.

Anthropologists point to primative societies, many of which still exist today in remote areas, and show a seven-year cycle of monogamy. This cycle is the time a man and a woman develop an inerest in each other, mate, give birth and raise a child until the community can take over responsibilities for child rearing. After that, it's every man and woman for his/her self,

Chimpanzees, a primate that genetically is almost identical to us humans, have been known to engage in group sex simply to ease tensions. This has been observed in a tribe of chimps in Madagascar. Female champanzees come into estrus about once every two years or so, and when they do they don't simply settle for the "big chimp on campus"; instead, it's more "hail, hail the gang's all here." As for reputation, when was the last time you read, "For a good time, call Cheetah" on the side of some tropical tree?

Uum-gawa, baby.

Mind you, this is not something they want taught in "creationist science" class in Kansas. Then again, most conservative theologians -- priests, congressmen, preachers -- are well known to prefer little boys. So their opinions are a little skewed towards, if not actually inside, the closet.

Some Polynesian societies, practiced monogamy, but codified and celebrated a day of freedom every year where commited people could formally pair off with an alternate partner. Fun, I think.

Reading accounts of the "Sandstone" experiment, Gay Talese's "Thy Neighbor's Wife", and reports by Masters & Johnson, open sexual lifestyles are accepted by at least 3% of the US population (1 in 30, or one family in an average suburban block). That's only what is reported.

I've noted two keys that exist in opening women to casual sexual encounters 1) eliminate possesiveness and 2) keep your mouths shut, boys.

For a fellow who can keep his mouth shut and his mind open, a casual social encounter with a woman will almost inevitably result in a casual sexual encounter as well. Be tender. Be Real. Be Honest.

Women aren't nearly as prudish as most men imagine them to be. Guys just need to keep the locker room (ok, server room) talk to a minimum. It's better to have the women go "Sex in the City" on you and chat you up!

I've been maintaining this since joined GC.

Colonel Panic
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 29, 2007, 19:52:
 
The very notion that a blanket statement can be made about the nature of the sexes is so 1980.

... and I thought the "if it doesn't lay an egg..." discussion was about the most ludicrous argument ever to be uttered within the ivory towers of higher education, but then I recalled my own overpriced education and realized... I truly missed my calling in life. How I wish I could be paid $90k+ to make such statements and still have a job.

But I digress...

I tend to agree with SS that the problem is in the question itself. We have this beautiful language and yet, use so little of it... and understand it even less.

Monogamy (or monogamous) merely means: "to be married to one person at a time" or "having a single sexual partner during a period of time." Nothing more, nothing less. The "period of time" is typically where people differ in their opinions and is usually the only real area for debate in relationships.

Polygamy (or polygamous) is merely: "to be married to more than one person at a time" or "to mate with more than one individual, either simultaneously or successively."

Naturally, most people are polygamous. Unless you married the first person you ever slept with (and haven't strayed) or have only been with one person your entire life, you're polygamous.

The two words are not opposites (as was inferred in at least one previous post). A person, such as myself, can be polygamous and monogamous.

Back to the original "question," I say, any person who honestly believes any other person can be "programmed" (outside of some sort of mental experiment) to do anything seriously needs to test such "programming" on every man who can't put his socks in a hamper and every woman who feels compelled to apply lipstick while driving 70mph on the expressway.

Human beings possess something that no other species (known at this time) possesses: free will.

Free will: the power to make choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or physical or divine forces.

Therefore, whether a person chooses to shag one or one hundred people in their lifetime is purely of their own accord and no amount of perceived "programming" will ever change a person. The only person who can change himself is himself.

To me, the only question worth asking is, "Does this person standing before me want the same things out of life as I do and if so, are they capable of providing them?"
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 29, 2007, 20:16:
 
Oh... and I also add that we would have to define "sex" or "mating" as well to truly have a valid question or debate.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 20:37:
 
quote:
catgoddess:
I tend to agree with SS that the problem is in the question itself.

It makes me tingle pleasantly when I'm agreed with.... So I feel a little uncomfortable that I'm posting to disagree, although the rest of catgoddess's post that I do not specifically mention can be assumed to be agreeable to me.

Pointing out another moot argument:
quote:
Human beings possess something that no other species (known at this time) possesses: free will.
"Free Will: the power to make choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or physical or divine forces." -catgoddess

Everything is constrained in some way. If you eliminate the physical world, both personal and external, and divine intervention (which I would support, by the way), what's left? You've just eliminated all constraints. Without constraints we cannot act at all because we become unable to cope with the infinity of choices we are presented with.

Our beliefs (constrained by the external world and the people in it), our bodies (another physical constraint), our genetic predispositions (a specific function of our bodies), and the laws of nature/physics form the basis for all of our choices. They are our set of constraints. It may seem as if we have free will, but I would maintain that the illusion arrises from the fact that we cannot define all of the inputs that result in each of our actions.

The system is chaotic, but it is not chaos. We have no more free will than any dog or cat or amoeba- we're just loaded with a few more features than the other animals. We have a much larger array of synapses than most of the other animals and so our behavior begins to seem more random. But if you really watch an animal you will find that its actions are as essentially unpredictable as those of a human. By the same token, if you really watch humans, you will find that most of us follow patterns that we are not aware of AND that we have a really difficult time breaking those patterns if/when we do become aware of them.

To the extent that animals, including humans, can learn new behavior patterns we are free to grow and change and adapt to our environment. Our will is not free, though, in the sense that it is unconstrained.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 20:41:
 
quote:
catgoddess:
Oh... and I also add that we would have to define "sex" or "mating" as well to truly have a valid question or debate.

I agree, but are we really talking about sex or are we talking about pair-bonding? Or are we contrasting sex with mating? Or mating with pair-bonding? Or sex with bondage? And where do we classify those special couplings that include most or all of the above?
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 29, 2007, 20:51:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
It makes me tingle pleasantly when I'm agreed with.... So I feel a little uncomfortable that I'm posting to disagree, although the rest of catgoddess's post that I do not specifically mention can be assumed to be agreeable to me.

It is not me you disagree with; it is thousands of years of accepted philosophy (that spans across hundreds of cultures) you disagree with.

So I take no offense. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
I agree, but are we really talking about sex or are we talking about pair-bonding?

I'm pretty sure sex is required for monogamy or polygamy to exist. Unless something has changed since I last had sex... who knows; it is 2007 and all. However, since the original question posed mentioned monogamy, I feel confident in the assertion that we're talking about sex.

Whether or not that includes bondage is purely dependent on if Steen is a party in the conversation.
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 29, 2007, 20:55:
 
catgoddess wrote:
Whether or not that includes bondage is purely dependent on if Steen is a party in the conversation.

*gasp*
I can't believe you'd suggest such a thing. I'd post a come-back, but I'm a bit tongue tied...
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on January 29, 2007, 21:38:
 
Oh don't pretend you don't enjoy it.
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 29, 2007, 21:48:
 
Only on days ending with a 'Y'...
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 29, 2007, 21:57:
 
quote:
catgoddess:
It is not me you disagree with; it is thousands of years of accepted philosophy (that spans across hundreds of cultures) you disagree with.

You're right- I especially disagree with thousands of years of accepted philosophy! If we don't know more now than we did then, we have no business pretending to know anything at all. The fact that it's accepted is a strong indicator that we ought to have progressed further. Any theory that's been around long enough to have been accepted is probably outdated.

That's how I differ from accepted philosophy: I'm not out-dated, I'm underdated. It probably stems from the fact that I'm a man on a budget who doesn't like the cheap dates...
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on January 30, 2007, 00:20:
 
quote:
Originally posted by catgoddess:
Human beings possess something that no other species (known at this time) possesses: free will.

Do any cat owners (sorry, 'cat domestic staff') agree with the above statement?
 
Posted by SpazGirl (Member # 4915) on January 30, 2007, 06:14:
 
Uhm... Cats absolutely have free will... spend two minutes at my house and you will see this fact...
 
Posted by BooBooKitty (Member # 5566) on January 30, 2007, 06:28:
 
I agree with that statement as well... Having had 4 cats at one point (now down to 2). Free will and cats are pretty synonymous in my book.
 
Posted by fs (Member # 1181) on January 30, 2007, 06:29:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
I would also disagree that monogamy is for a certainty the very best structure for human relationships. Genetically, it provides some advantage to the male while disadvantaging the female. The female genes are actually the most important because she can only pop out one or two wee ones at a time.

Monogamy isn't necessarily a disadvantage. One just needs to choose a good partner.

There are reasons monogamy is a good idea, but I think it needs to be left to the people involved to determine what works for them. It's not really anyone else's business.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 07:36:
 
quote:
Originally posted by BooBooKitty:
I agree with that statement as well... Having had 4 cats at one point (now down to 2). Free will and cats are pretty synonymous in my book.

Free Will is defined (whether correctly or incorrectly) as a HUMAN condition.

The fact that 90% (a rough, and probably conservative estimate) of all felines (domesticated or not) act in a manner which is seen as "free will" indicates that it is a behavioral characteristic common to that species.

The fact that every cat owner can relate to that statement, for more than likely the same exact reasons, actually proves my initial statement correct. Unless you're trying to say that all (or almost all) of the felines of the world choose to act in the same ways at the same times just out of mere coincidence. In which case, I might suggest laying off the catnip a little.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 07:51:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Any theory that's been around long enough to have been accepted is probably outdated.

I actually find that statement disturbing. Shall we throw the fundamentals of Physics and Calculus (insert any topic in there) because they're old and accepted? Shall we toss our old spouse to the curb because s/he's outdated and we need a newer model?

We have the capability to make new discoveries every day, in every field of study, because those "old and outdated" theories ARE accepted. Without them, we would have nothing to build on. There are very few things created that don't have ties to at least one old thing.

I also find it amusing that the statement came from someone who quotes Descartes. He's so "old and outdated," Philosophy students across the world are emitting a collective sigh of boredom over wondering if they exist.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 30, 2007, 09:07:
 
quote:
catgoddess:
I also find it amusing that the statement came from someone who quotes Descartes. He's so "old and outdated," Philosophy students across the world are emitting a collective sigh of boredom over wondering if they exist.

First: You rock! I LOVE arguing! You are so totally my new friend!

Second: I almost entirely disagree with Descarte's philosophy because almost all of it has been torn down very thoroughly by advancements in neurophysics and other, less exciting fields of science. His math still stands, but you must understand that pure math exists in a seperate realm from other knowledge because it is philosophy with numbers. You can only disprove math with math.

On the other hand, it is easy to prove that the soul does not reside in the pineal gland and there is no Cartesian Theatre of The Mind that it watches in our head. Leading scientific theory calls for an understanding that there is no dualism between body and mind/soul. Our limbs are not animated by animal spirits under the control of our soul (from its corner office in the pineal gland [crazy] ). There is no interface within this great, complex glob of flesh that allows for any kind of "ghost in the machine."

Descartes also classified emotions as animal and logic as human, asserting that emotion must be pushed aside in order that higher logic might prevail (thus wounding entire generations of men and women). More recent work has demonstrated (see any book by Antonio Damasio- one of the premeire neurosurgeons and an all-around great guy) that emotions are absolutely vital to rational thought and that all rational thought breaks down in their absence. Before tackling his book, try "The man who mistook his wife for a hat," I forget the author, but it's a funny and informative book introducing us to the consequences of localized lesions or dysfunction in the brain.

I quote Descartes because I, like him, feel most alive when I am thinking and can perceive no moment at which I do not think. I do not take it as far as he did and insist that I would cease to exist if I did not think, but I maintain that I would most certainly die. For what is brain death if not cessation of thought? I also feel tremendously lucky that we have learned enough that I can disagree with Descartes because he was a brilliant man doing the best he could with what was known at the time.

Compare and contrast classical physics vs. quantum physics. Take Mendelian genetics and compare it to modern neoDarwinism informed by our knowledge of biochemistry. There is a moment in any expansion of a scientific field at which the entire field obtains a new character because, while it may encompase all of the old field, it has incorporated so much more that it is like a new science. We do not learn about the ancient Greek beliefs in four elements in chemistry classes (but we do learn about elements).

This is why I stand behind my assertion that any belief that has been held for thousands of years is probably outdated. What did we know thousands of years ago compared to what we know today? How could we fail to benefit from the periodic reexamination of long-held beliefs in the light of new information? The well of knowledge from which we may drink is deepening as much each decade as it used to every thousand years.

This is the part where I overextend a metaphor: While all knowledge can slake our thirst, wouldn't you rather drink glacier-fresh science than centuries-old philosophy from a well?

quote:
catgoddess:
Free Will is defined (whether correctly or incorrectly) as a HUMAN condition.

One of the boons of growing scientific understanding of the world is the growing evidence of a lack of any real division between what is human and what is animal. There is no argument against humans-AS-animals that must not, eventually, fall back on the supernatural because it lacks the support of science. We are all animals, and not just in the sack. We are bipedal mammals with enlarged prefrontal cortices. We are no more special in the universe than are dogs or cats or cockroaches (actually, the universe loves cockroaches and I suspect they may be (G)od's true chosen people- that's why they have been bestowed with so many abilities that we lack).

I really hope you pick another argument with me because I'm having big, chunky loads of fun and I hope you are, too!
 
Posted by atayarani (Member # 4268) on January 30, 2007, 11:21:
 
I recently read a good book dealing with this exact issue Sperm Are from Men, Eggs Are from Women: The Real Reason Men And Women Are Different

One of the points it makes is that while men are predisposed to having multiple partners, they generally have overcome this urge. On the other hand, while women are predisposed to having a single mate, they are generally less faithful than other primates.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on January 30, 2007, 11:44:
 
quote:
Originally posted by catgoddess:
quote:
Originally posted by BooBooKitty:
I agree with that statement as well... Having had 4 cats at one point (now down to 2). Free will and cats are pretty synonymous in my book.

Free Will is defined (whether correctly or incorrectly) as a HUMAN condition.

The fact that 90% (a rough, and probably conservative estimate) of all felines (domesticated or not) act in a manner which is seen as "free will" indicates that it is a behavioral characteristic common to that species.

The fact that every cat owner can relate to that statement, for more than likely the same exact reasons, actually proves my initial statement correct. Unless you're trying to say that all (or almost all) of the felines of the world choose to act in the same ways at the same times just out of mere coincidence. In which case, I might suggest laying off the catnip a little.

Um, let me get this straight...

1. The fact that most cats act like they've got free will proves that they don't.

2. Humans are the only species to have free will, because you've defined "free will" as "something only humans have".


Ever considered a career in politics?
 
Posted by Shadow (Member # 1558) on January 30, 2007, 12:24:
 
Can someone tell me who "Will" is and why we are freeing him? [crazy]
 
Posted by garlicguy (Member # 3166) on January 30, 2007, 12:43:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shadow:
Can someone tell me who "Will" is and why we are freeing him? [crazy]

No.

But you could Google Search on "Free Willy" and probably come up with some interesting stuff on the Clinton Impeachment. [Razz]
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 30, 2007, 14:43:
 
The Famous Druid wrote:
1. The fact that most cats act like they've got free will proves that they don't.

Not quite what she had in mind, but close. The fact that most cats follow the same behavior patterns in given situations indicates that the behavior isn't a result of free will, but rather of instinct.

Free will is strictly defined as the ability to make decisions without the influence of external forces. In general use, however, most people use the term to refer to the ability to make a logical decision based on the available information. Using the latter definition, you would expect decisions based on free will to vary widely because each individual has different information available to them. If a reaction stems from instinct and not free will, however, you would expect to find a vast majority making the same decision.

So, if 90% of all cats do the same things (which they do... there's a reason cat owners nod knowingly when you mention things like the cat plopping it's ass on the newspaper you're trying to read), it indicates an instinctual response of some sort rather than a choice based on free will.

2. Humans are the only species to have free will, because you've defined "free will" as "something only humans have".

Not at all. catgoddess said free will was defined as a human condition, but added the qualifier "rightly or wrongly" to clearly indicate that her own opinion was not represented in the statement. The fact that you ignored that qualifier in no way alters her own opinion to match your expectations.

Her own opinion, if I were to hazard a guess, would be that cats have a smaller measure of free will than humans and are ruled primarily by instinct, but do have some free will of their own. I expect she'll not hesitate to tell me if I'm wrong.

Ever considered a career in politics?

You deserve whatever reply you get for saying that. *chuckle*
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 17:55:
 
I don't know. We had Tigger the cat for about 11 years and still never figured him out -- he was not just independent, but weird, and seemed to have a mind of his own. His moods and tastes would change a lot, and you couldn't predict what he'd do.

At the same time, you have to bear in mind that humans, too, can be quite predictable, but we differ more in that we have a far greater understanding of the world, and far more awareness of what our choices are, and more mental capacity and opportunities to develop preferences. I don't know what sorts of instincts drove Tigger because they never made any sense to any of us.

The difference with a human though is that we're conscious of how we are reacting to a scenario and can catch that reaction and choose whether or not to respond to it. Can any animals do this? Why was it that Tigger would never scratch or bite no matter what you did to him? Did he get angry but decide no, as a responsible citizen of catdom he'd not recourse to violence?

Can a cat make that decision? Humans can, although not all humans do ...
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 21:32:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
First: You rock! I LOVE arguing! You are so totally my new friend!

ooo... I like new friends. They must send me cookies and new sparkly things (preferably on a Polly Pocket).

For the record, I just couldn't resist the Descartes joke. I wasn't attempting to be insulting. He just really bores the heck out of me... and Camus. Gawd. Please. Shut up now.

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
What did we know thousands of years ago compared to what we know today?

When we can re-create pyramids, let me know.

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
This is the part where I overextend a metaphor: While all knowledge can slake our thirst, wouldn't you rather drink glacier-fresh science than centuries-old philosophy from a well?

You're posing this question to a woman who prefers to read 200+ year old British Literature rather than Stephen King (*gags violently*). I'd rather read the philosophy of Socrates and Dōgen than a Dr. Phil book. I'd rather listen to Beethoven than Britney Spears (OK, who wouldn't?).

While I never denied that we have advanced and further expanded ancient theories and beliefs, I stubbornly (yeah... like I'm never that) assert that not all that is old is outdated. Ancient literature, ancient art, ancient scientific theories are starting points that bring us to the theories and materials we produce today. Without them, where would we honestly be?

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
I really hope you pick another argument with me because I'm having big, chunky loads of fun and I hope you are, too!

You asked for it...

quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
So, if 90% of all cats do the same things (which they do... there's a reason cat owners nod knowingly when you mention things like the cat plopping it's ass on the newspaper you're trying to read), it indicates an instinctual response of some sort rather than a choice based on free will.

Exactly. Thank you.

quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
2. Humans are the only species to have free will, because you've defined "free will" as "something only humans have".

I see I have to post links to definitions on this board. Quite frankly, it seems unnecessary given this is a "Geek Forum," but I shall nonetheless.

Dictionary.com definition of Free Will. Please note definition #2 which clearly states the Philosophical definition of Free Will. Repeated here for those who don't care to click:

"2. Philosophy. The doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces."

Please note the definition clearly states it applies only to humans.

I also believe I clearly stated it was the definition, not whether or not I personally agreed with it.

quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
Ever considered a career in politics?

Ever considered a dictionary?
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 21:51:
 
OK, but what bound you to definition 2? Defintion 1 isn't good enough for you?
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 21:56:
 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
OK, but what bound you to definition 2? Defintion 1 isn't good enough for you?

Uhm. Because we were discussing Philosophy... Definitions are typically used within context.

For example (I'll even use a computer one!). If we were discussing intelligent machines and someone didn't know what "intelligent" meant, we would define it as:
Dictionary.com definition of intelligent.

"4. Computers. pertaining to the ability to do data processing locally; smart: An intelligent terminal can edit input before transmission to a host computer."

not as:

"1. having good understanding or a high mental capacity; quick to comprehend, as persons or animals: an intelligent student."

Regardless of the definition used, Free Will is a human trait. I pretty much have the backing of almost all of the Philosophy community on that assertion. There have been people who have tried to refute that over time, but have all basically been proven incorrect. The best reason for being incorrect (stated by someone other than me!) is as follows:

"... animals lack not only an awareness of the moral implications of their actions but also any capacity to reflect on their alternatives and their long-term consequences..."

Full text found here.
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 22:15:
 
Except that "philosophy" is a weird blanket term for anything you want to shove under it when you want to sound pompous :P How can an animal be bound by philosophy? Or even humans?
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on January 30, 2007, 22:30:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
So, if 90% of all cats do the same things (which they do... there's a reason cat owners nod knowingly when you mention things like the cat plopping it's ass on the newspaper you're trying to read), it indicates an instinctual response of some sort rather than a choice based on free will.

So, if 90% of the guests at a party accept a glass of champagne when offered, that's proof that they don't have free will?

quote:
Originally posted by catgoddess:

quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
2. Humans are the only species to have free will, because you've defined "free will" as "something only humans have".

I see I have to post links to definitions on this board. Quite frankly, it seems unnecessary given this is a "Geek Forum," but I shall nonetheless.

Dictionary.com definition of Free Will. Please note definition #2 which clearly states the Philosophical definition of Free Will. Repeated here for those who don't care to click:

"2. Philosophy. The doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces."

Please note the definition clearly states it applies only to humans.

Another definition at the same link is...
quote:
free will: the ability to choose and act freely
Example: He did it of his own free will.

while the definition you gave in your original posting was
quote:
Free will: the power to make choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or physical or divine forces.
You chose (of your own free will) to adopt the narrower definition.

/me wanders off to pander to the whims of the cat...
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 22:31:
 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Except that "philosophy" is a weird blanket term for anything you want to shove under it when you want to sound pompous [Razz] How can an animal be bound by philosophy? Or even humans?

You weren't calling me pompous when I had that bucket of water all over me...

Like it or not, Free Will is a philosophical concept. Just like Algebra is a Mathematical concept and Government Cheese is an American concept.

I don't make the rules, I just arrogantly repeat them.

Humans chooooose whether or not to be bound by something (hence: Free Will). Animals act on instinct (hence: absence of Free Will). This forum can't possibly be the first place you've heard those statements. If it is, I have even deeper concerns about the current educational system.

Philosophy is only "weird" when contemplated by Tom Cruise.
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 22:41:
 
Oh, you may never understand the whole bucket thing ... that's a strangeness I will probably never bother to explain.

And I break every rule I see fit to break. I refuse to be bound by rules anyone else made up.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 22:50:
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
So, if 90% of the guests at a party accept a glass of champagne when offered, that's proof that they don't have free will?

Oy vei.

Feline behaviors can be traced to some sort of known instinctive behavior. Using Steen's example of the crinkled paper, cats are enticed by crinkling paper because it mimics the sounds of prey. Thereby activating a "prey response". Pavlov did tons of research on animal behaviors and concluded that that animals are born with a set of instinctive, natural behaviors.

Instinctive behaviors, regardless of whether they are applied or not, are NOT examples Free Will. There is a pre-existing force dictating a possible response.

Your example of the wine at a party displays a statistic of CHOICES. Every person at that party could have CHOSEN not to accept the wine just as easily as they CHOSE to accept it. I'm certain that a percentage of people, over time, would actually take the wine out of habit and thus, no longer exercise Free Will in that context. However, individual lapses in the exercise of Free Will do not change the nature of an entire SPECIES.

Maybe, after thousands of years of parties where 90% of the people consistently chose wine, the behavior would become a species instinctive behavior. But a single behavior does not define a species and it most certainly does not prove lack of Free Will.

quote:
You chose (of your own free will) to adopt the narrower definition.
Could an animal do that and be aware of the reasons for doing so and know the repercussions of that choice? (or of ANY choice)

I rest my case. [Smile]
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 22:58:
 
So, do explain then, what is the difference between an artificial neural network, a reasonably intelligent animal, and a human?

I am convinced that you can replace an animal with a computer although curiously, the wiring constraints of such a massively parallel neural network -- unless you can win at Planarity with it -- might require it to be grown, so in that sense, we'd almost be creating life.

But humanity? How do we really differ from animals? If you gave an animal a brain as good as one of ours, would be self-conscious and gain so-called free will?
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 30, 2007, 23:38:
 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
So, do explain then, what is the difference between an artificial neural network, a reasonably intelligent animal, and a human?

An artificial neural network is something created by humans and is therefore at the mercy of the mathematical model we've chosen to base it upon. This is a textbook example of something that fails to exist without some external intervention. No Free Will.

A reasonably intelligent animal. I like how we're trying to move up the food chain by making the animals intelligent now. An animal, by definition is anything other than human. It is different by sheer definition.

How is this animal different from an artificial neural network? The animal is real. It's not artificial. Its very being is not based upon simulation.

So what about humans? Well, human beings have animal qualities and behaviors, but we also have the capacity (often under-utilized) to make conscious decisions that are not dictated by external forces (there's that Free Will again). We're, at the most basic, an evolved animal.

Can we put your brain inside a monkey and he'll develop Free Will?

You can't swap out a diamond and replace it with a lump of coal just because they're both carbon.

You can't give a monkey a human brain and make him a human.
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on January 30, 2007, 23:57:
 
Ah, but you missed a couple of points. What stops us from making an artificial neural network that's at the level of animal intelligence? (I don't believe that there is a limit.) What makes humans self-aware (sorry, I wrote self-concious ... my mistake) and animals not? If you made a given animal smarter and smarter, at what point would be self-aware?

And the part that is most interesting: what is vision? How are we aware that we can see?
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 31, 2007, 00:23:
 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Ah, but you missed a couple of points. What stops us from making an artificial neural network that's at the level of animal intelligence? (I don't believe that there is a limit.) What makes humans self-aware (sorry, I wrote self-concious ... my mistake) and animals not? If you made a given animal smarter and smarter, at what point would be self-aware?

And the part that is most interesting: what is vision? How are we aware that we can see?

I can't claim a personal opinion on artificial neural network's because I merely know what they are, not the inner workings of their development or capabilities.

Self-awareness is a scientific and philosophic unknown. No one really knows why we (humans) have it and animals don't. We just know we do. Asking why are we self-aware is essentially the same as asking "why are we here?" No one really knows for sure. We just know we are.

If we do not know where self-awareness comes from, we cannot assume it comes from increased intelligence, therefore, a monkey is a monkey (even a smart one) and a human is a human.

As for the vision thing... how are we aware that we see? we just know we do. What makes us self-aware is one of life's great mysteries.

Off topic: Do you ever wonder if we're the only ones who don't sleep? [Smile]
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 31, 2007, 01:07:
 
Why do we insist on drawing lines between ourselves and the rest of nature? Why must we be the spoiled, special children of creation? Why must we believe that the universe cares more about us than any other life that stirs within its bounds? This is hubris. This is megalomania. We are special animals because WE ARE CHRONICALLY INSANE and also narcissistic. A human that is emotionally alloof from other humans and feels no empathy for them and no moral obligation to them is called a sociopath. What do we call an animal that does the same? We call them human.

Please, don't mistake me for a PETA freak- since when does fighting for animal rights justify crapping all over human rights? It's just that so many of our delineations of the world are so patently arbitrary that it makes me ill. Prove that we have free will before you deny the other animals of the right to assert same. I have seen no proof thus far. I have scarcely seen any definition of fee will that doesn't beg its own question. Are we complicated? You bet! Free? In any way free? I say no. Further, the kind of absolute freedom of which you speak would be poison to the mind. We are defined by our edges- to remove them would be to strip away our identity.

Wow, that was polemic. But I'll post it anyway. You can tell I'm getting frustrated by this whole humans aren't animals thing.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 31, 2007, 02:05:
 
Doesn't this entire thread prove free will?

I'm pretty sure my cat is under my bed sleeping and not even remotely thinking about Philosophy right now or whether or not she actually exists. Does the fact that I am thinking about it and choosing to post here make me, as a human, superior? Depends on who you ask. To me, superiority is relative (as is almost everything in my actual opinion) anyway, so who cares?

I could be sleeping right now (and by all means, should be), but I choose not to. Is it instinct? Clearly not, or the vast majority of the human species wouldn't sleep either.

I could be doing something more productive instead of posting on this forum, but I choose not to. Is it instinct? Certainly not, otherwise all the other members of the human race would be posting here, too! Am I being influenced by external sources? No! I'm posting here and debating out of my apparent individual desire to drive myself crazy. Internal motivation. Free Will.

I'm sorry you'd like to believe animals have free will, but many have tried before you (in the land of science and philosophy) to prove it so and have failed. I didn't create the concept of free will. I didn't define it. I've merely pointed to accepted definitions and far greater people than myself who have conducted research on the very topic.

Offerings of Fluffy chasing her tail or being snooty around new people isn't exactly scientific evidence the proves animals have free will. Our limited personal experiences and observations do not speak for an entire species; it is that assertion that seems most arrogant to me - as if Fluffy's behavior somehow sets the species standard; as if your own personal, unsubstantiated opinion somehow is enough to make me disbelieve Pavlov or the dictionary.

You can assert that what is accepted in the world should be challenged, but I can ask... who are you? Why should I possibly care what you think? Why should any of us care what anyone thinks? Isn't the very notion that anyone should care about you at all the ultimate expression of inflated self-importance?

Is the world going to cease to exist if no one cares what SS says? Will the planet go hurling into the sun tomorrow if no one cares what catgoddess thinks? I think not. And why should anyone care more about what one person says over another?

Our very own thoughts and feelings about ANYTHING are completely and utterly our own. As humans, we act on instinct in some respects and of our own accord in others. We can't change another person or force them to act in a way that they do not personally choose to act. We can have similarities to one another, but does that make us the same?

Talking about what makes humans different from animals doesn't imply superiority. It's no different than talking about why a tree is different from an amoeba.

I also beg to differ that we are not free. We are all completely free to make our own choices. What we're not exempt from is dealing with the consequences of those choices.

If you want my honest, personal opinion... I'd take an animal over a human any day of the week and usually do. I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I sleep with one at night. I find most human beings to be repulsive, ignorant banes of my existence. But that opinion is within the context of my limited personal experiences and I no more claim (seriously) that is what all human beings are like than I claim I'm somehow more worthwhile than they are.

Furthermore, I most certainly do not expect anyone else to care about my personal opinion or experiences. I am merely myself. If that means something to a person, it does. If not, I'll respect your assertion of your own free will not to care what I think.
 
Posted by csk (Member # 1941) on January 31, 2007, 03:31:
 
quote:
Originally posted by catgoddess:
I'm pretty sure my cat is under my bed sleeping and not even remotely thinking about Philosophy right now or whether or not she actually exists.

Ah, but you aren't totally sure. Can you you be 100% sure your cat isn't thinking about philosophy? Unless we find some physiological way to determine what someone or something is thinking about, we can't be really sure whether said cat is thinking about it's next meal, or plotting world domination.
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on January 31, 2007, 08:02:
 
The Famous Druid wrote:
So, if 90% of the guests at a party accept a glass of champagne when offered, that's proof that they don't have free will?

No, that would be proof that when you apply a filter to your population to select those who are likely to accept a drink (people at a party), you'll find that they are likely to accept a drink. Because of the complete obviousness of the result, I would also expect there'd be a huge government subsidy to pay for this sort of research.

If you offered that same drink to every person on the planet and 90% of them accepted it, I would believe that you were looking at a potentially instinctual response.

That said, even if everyone did accept, it would simply mean that instinct was the guiding factor for that particular choice... not that free will didn't exist.

Let's use an example: if you stab every human in the planet in the butt with a thumbtack, virtually every one of them is going to jump and try to move away from the source of the pain as a first response. This is obviously an instinctual response and not a choice based on free will. It is just as obvious that having this instinct does not preclude making other choices based on free will such as "what color shirt will I wear today?"

Free will and instinct are not mutually exclusive.

catgoddess wrote:
I don't make the rules, I just arrogantly repeat them.

It just seems like that should end with a hiss and some claws being flashed...

uilleann wrote:
What stops us from making an artificial neural network that's at the level of animal intelligence?

If you figure that out and you're ahead of every other artificial intelligence researcher on the planet and we'll be a lot further on our way towards true AI.

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
Why do we insist on drawing lines between ourselves and the rest of nature?

We are special animals because WE ARE CHRONICALLY INSANE


Name one other species that can go insane. There is a line between us and every other form of life that we've found so far. Our intelligence, which we prize so highly, does set us apart. Whether that makes us better or some perverse aberration which was never meant to be (jeez... almost went into mad scientist mode there) is subjective.

catgoddess wrote:
I'm posting here and debating out of my apparent individual desire to drive myself crazy.

Just be sure to make your driving sound effects. They go well with craziness and they're just so cute! [Smile]

I find most human beings to be repulsive, ignorant banes of my existence.

Did someone say my name? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on January 31, 2007, 08:03:
 
quote:
Originally posted by csk:
Ah, but you aren't totally sure. Can you you be 100% sure your cat isn't thinking about philosophy? Unless we find some physiological way to determine what someone or something is thinking about, we can't be really sure whether said cat is thinking about it's next meal, or plotting world domination.

And there is my point in your example (finally!)... even if MY cat is plotting world domination (and by the look on her face, she just might be), does that hold true for the entire feline species? And if she thinks it, is she thinking it because it is one of the great unknown feline instincts to want to dominate anything and everything? or because she is exerting an action completely independent of outside influences?

Free Will is a "doctrine" that hasn't been unproven. The doctrine of free will says it is a human only trait. Stating there is a possibility of animals possessing free will is not the same as them actually having it. Human beings have been proven to possess it and so far, as I originally stated, we hold that title alone.

This is where spitting on what is accepted can result in not being taken seriously, or worse. I don't have to prove free will because countless others have already done it for me. They wrote the definition. All I have done is chosen to accept it as so and then repeat it here in this forum.

Believing that your personal pet is somehow proof that animals possess free will is no different than believing that an abusive ex-boyfriend is proof that all men are arseholes. Your personal experiences only matter to you (and possibly your social circle). When you can recreate those personal observations across an appropriate cross-section of the the species in question, you'll be onto something. But others have walked that path before and failed. Does that mean it can't be proven? Maybe.

Can you walk around and believe that cats have free will? Sure. You can walk around and believe your pants should be worn on top of your head and that the sky is magenta. But does doing so and believing it really make it so? Only to you. Maybe you'll even get lucky and find a handful of others who believe those things, too. Is it going to cause accepted philosophy fall to its knees and crumble at your feet? Don't hold your breath.

The fact that you can believe anything you want is brought to you by... free will.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on January 31, 2007, 20:23:
 
quote:
Steen:
Name one other species that can go insane.

Housecats (feline dementia). Parrots, as social animals, will go absolutely, irreversibly insane if left alone too often. Dogs, when beaten regularly, can exhibit most of the symptoms of battered men and women. Monkeys, if spanked excessively, will develope a penchant for leather pants. Fighting cocks (I just like saying that...). Whales. I met a snake, once, who had some serious issues that took us a few months to work through- it's a long story so I'll only tell it if you ask me to. Most mammals can exhibit classic cases of PTSD if exposed to excessive stressors such as abuse or unstable environment.

quote:
Still Steen:
Free will and instinct are not mutually exclusive.

I agree. What this argument needs is some continuum-style thinking. Perhaps we could agree that free will and complex instinctive behavior exist on the same schematic continuum and are thus extensions of each other.

Perhaps free-will is so difficult to prove or disprove for the same reason that (G)od is. If that is the case, I must stop arguing here because I don't associate with (G)od-type topics unless it annoys true-believers.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on February 01, 2007, 08:51:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Monkeys, if spanked excessively, will develope a penchant for leather pants.

Steen knows allllll about that...

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
What this argument needs is some continuum-style thinking. Perhaps we could agree that free will and complex instinctive behavior exist on the same schematic continuum and are thus extensions of each other.

I didn't think anyone argued that they aren't extensions of the other. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I certainly didn't and I didn't get that vibe from anyone else's post either. However, putting it on a continuum doesn't mean that animals have it.

What really has bothered me the most about the assertion that animals DO have it is the assumption that animals would actually WANT it. There is an underlying feeling that human beings are the model that all (or some) species should strive to become. This bothers me.

Now stand back, because you'll get to see a rare glimpse into the gutter of my inner being... I suggest wearing protective gear.

Outside of never having read of a single successful study to prove the existence of free will in animals (or disprove that is it a human-only affliction), I also don't support the theory that it does exist in them because I don't believe free will is superior. I don't believe human beings are superior. Sure, we're the "top of the food chain" but is it because we're the best? I say no, we're at the top because everything stops with us. We kill almost every process we touch.

Human beings are consumers. We offer very little back into the environment that isn't harmful to at least one other ecosystem. Our thirst for technology and our sense of wonderment do not mix well with our far older species. We're mere children of evolution in comparison.

Truthfully, I think free will and complex instincts are relational... and free will isn't the goal; it's the beginning. I think we see that relationship in our own individual growth. As children, we question everything; we wonder about everything. As we grow older, and experience life, we wonder less; we question less. This process is very different for each individual and is based on our own personal exposure to life experiences... but the process exists nonetheless.

We have to spend an entire lifetime (and some, may never even learn) how to apply our instincts to situations. Animals are born with the immediate ability to do what we cannot. I don't see how our methods are superior. I don't see free will as something any animal would ever want or need.

We believe the human brain to be superior because of its size and associated enormous capacity, but we practically worship things that are small because they symbolize advanced technology. Take computers, for example. Who wants one that will take-up an entire room when you can have one neatly placed on your lap and put it in a little bag and carry it around.

Is our massive brain better than a felines little, compact brain?

I think people see free will in animals because they want to. The need to feel at one with our planet is strong in so many human beings, but I feel it is a terrible disrespect to want to see human qualities in our animals friends. I prefer to think of our relationships with animals as quests to find animal qualities within ourselves.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on February 01, 2007, 10:27:
 
Well, catgoddess, now you've really crapped all over my argument with you. I can't find anything to disagree with there. I mean, I could, but it would have to be a semantic argument instead of a conceptual one. I've been known to argue semantics, but I'll spare you the full extent of my pedanticism because I like you.

I would have to say that I like my swollen brain, though. Learning how the natural world works is as close as I get to a religious experience. Well, that and really good sex, but I'm not doing that right now, so all I've got is learning. I think it's sad that some people question less as they age, I've found that the opposite is true for me. The more we know, the more questions we can formulate and the more meaningful the answers are likely to be. I think maturity is the best time to ask questions because by then we've had the opportunity to acquire enough experience to spot the useless answers (or questions).

I actually like people- in moderation. If we didn't have so many surplus people most of our current problems would go away on their own. The trouble is that I don't seem to be the only one who likes really good sex. Then again, a lot of guys seem to be fine with a string of less-than-mediocre sexual experiences.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on February 01, 2007, 11:11:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Well, catgoddess, now you've really crapped all over my argument with you. I can't find anything to disagree with there.

welcome to my litter box...
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on February 01, 2007, 12:56:
 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by catgoddess:
Steen knows allllll about that...

Damn Google and their cache... it shouldn't be possible to find that video.

Now stand back, because you'll get to see a rare glimpse into the gutter of my inner being... I suggest wearing protective gear.

Do leather pants count as protective gear?

As children, we question everything; we wonder about everything. As we grow older, and experience life, we wonder less; we question less. This process is very different for each individual and is based on our own personal exposure to life experiences... but the process exists nonetheless.

I don't doubt that such a process exists, but I think I'm more curious about things now than I was as a child (of course I hide my curiosity so well... you'd never guess it was there). The biggest difference seems to be that it's harder to find the answers now, because I know most of the easy ones.

We believe the human brain to be superior because of its size and associated enormous capacity, but we practically worship things that are small because they symbolize advanced technology.

Is our massive brain better than a felines little, compact brain?


First, I can't believe you just implied that size doesn't matter...

That aside... Is helium better than hydrogen?

It depends on the context. If you're trying to make water by oxidizing a gas, hydrogen is definitely the right choice. If, on the other hand, you're trying to make a safe dirigible, history shows that helium might is probably the better choice.

Questions like these inevitably turn out to not be yes/no... the answers are all in the pastel black (grey) area.

The need to feel at one with our planet is strong in so many human beings, but I feel it is a terrible disrespect to want to see human qualities in our animals friends. I prefer to think of our relationships with animals as quests to find animal qualities within ourselves.

I think the need to belong and be a part of a greater whole is a human instinct and probably genetic. It seems as though everyone feels it in some form even if it's expressed in an abnormal way.

Getting back to the topic, I don't think anyone has ever come up with a definition of free will that is accepted by the majority, so I'm not sure how you would determine if free will exists in an animal.

The best I can say is that animals seem to be motivated in different ways than humans. Without a context for the comparison, neither can be deemed better or worse... they're just different. Given the context of environmental impact, though, I have to agree that intelligence and free will hasn't exactly show itself to be a good thing for the world, even if it's good for individuals who possess it.

welcome to my litter box...

I do hope you cleaned it before having visitors over.
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on February 01, 2007, 14:23:
 
quote:
Originally posted by catgoddess:
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Monkeys, if spanked excessively, will develope a penchant for leather pants.

Steen knows allllll about that...

quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
What this argument needs is some continuum-style thinking. Perhaps we could agree that free will and complex instinctive behavior exist on the same schematic continuum and are thus extensions of each other.

I didn't think anyone argued that they aren't extensions of the other. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I certainly didn't and I didn't get that vibe from anyone else's post either. However, putting it on a continuum doesn't mean that animals have it.

What really has bothered me the most about the assertion that animals DO have it is the assumption that animals would actually WANT it. There is an underlying feeling that human beings are the model that all (or some) species should strive to become. This bothers me.

Now stand back, because you'll get to see a rare glimpse into the gutter of my inner being... I suggest wearing protective gear.

Outside of never having read of a single successful study to prove the existence of free will in animals (or disprove that is it a human-only affliction), I also don't support the theory that it does exist in them because I don't believe free will is superior. I don't believe human beings are superior. Sure, we're the "top of the food chain" but is it because we're the best? I say no, we're at the top because everything stops with us. We kill almost every process we touch.

Human beings are consumers. We offer very little back into the environment that isn't harmful to at least one other ecosystem. Our thirst for technology and our sense of wonderment do not mix well with our far older species. We're mere children of evolution in comparison.

Truthfully, I think free will and complex instincts are relational... and free will isn't the goal; it's the beginning. I think we see that relationship in our own individual growth. As children, we question everything; we wonder about everything. As we grow older, and experience life, we wonder less; we question less. This process is very different for each individual and is based on our own personal exposure to life experiences... but the process exists nonetheless.

We have to spend an entire lifetime (and some, may never even learn) how to apply our instincts to situations. Animals are born with the immediate ability to do what we cannot. I don't see how our methods are superior. I don't see free will as something any animal would ever want or need.

We believe the human brain to be superior because of its size and associated enormous capacity, but we practically worship things that are small because they symbolize advanced technology. Take computers, for example. Who wants one that will take-up an entire room when you can have one neatly placed on your lap and put it in a little bag and carry it around.

Is our massive brain better than a felines little, compact brain?

I think people see free will in animals because they want to. The need to feel at one with our planet is strong in so many human beings, but I feel it is a terrible disrespect to want to see human qualities in our animals friends. I prefer to think of our relationships with animals as quests to find animal qualities within ourselves.

I'm afraid I have to argue as to the superiority of instinct. While it may be great in a static environment, it fails when unforseen things come up.

Try this sometime:

Go to a group of intelligent humans. Communicate to them that one of their member will have to survive in space for three hours. Tell them they have a certain amount of time to prepare, then their comrade will be flung into the vacuum, prepared or no.


Go to an 'intelligent' (well-instincted) group of cats. Communicate to them, however you can, the same concept.


I predict that the following will happen:

The humans, given a reasonable amount of time and resources, will construct a spacesuit, even if it's never been done before. Their comrade will survive.

The cats, given the same or, I'm even willing to wager, an infinite amount of time, will witness their friend explode.


I've had this argument before with a friend. However, she allowed me to see another point of view: instead of looking at how much instinct an animal is born with, look at the time until it reaches sexual maturity. Humans, obviously, are not sexually mature till, say, the age of 15. However, they are capable of surviving on their own from the age of 9 (if my own observations count for anythig). It's a similar situation with magpies (or ravens; can't remember which). They spend about five years simply existing, surviving, and learning. They have nothing to do except eat and fly around and observe things, since they are incapable of procreating.


I find the idea that instinct is superior to knowledge simply mind boggling; Yeah, it seems cool that a creature can do something we can't, but that's a combination of its physiological specification to its niche, and eons spent doing the same thing. Eons! Thousands of generations it takes to do something near perfectly in an environment, and yet as soon as there is a significant change, they fail miserably. All that time going to waste...

Where as with humans, we may not do one thing in one environment perfectly, but we can exist and survive in all environments, given a little time and the appropriate resources- resources which are also a boon of our collective intelligence.


You say that even though we are harmful to the environment/ecosystem, and that all processes stop with us, we are not superior. Why not? If species A and B are competing for resources, wouldn't species A want the ability to destroy species B so that there was room for more A? (I'm thinking specifically of white-tail and mule deer).

Yes. Except they are incapable of realizing that there is a better way: the destruction of another species. I know it sounds bad, but provided there's harmony within your species and the destruction of another would yield a higher standard of living for your people, wouldn't you do it?


I guess I'm the worst kind of environmentalist: the one that only protects that which is necessary for a happy existence. I see saving near-extinct species as nothing more than stroking our own vanity; because we can, as it were. It doesn't really matter to our survival whether or not an endangered species survives; it merely makes us happy to think that we've saved this thing, and oooh it's pretty and magestic and all that sort of shit. I guess I'll never understand.


Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one. One with which we will not conflict, because we are the architects, and it exists to suit our own purposes. Whether or not this would be a happy existence- at least for the people caught in the transition, used to something entirely different- is a matter of speculation, but I believe it can be done. Therefore, all other environmentalist sentiment is a product of vanity or aesthetics.
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on February 01, 2007, 16:20:
 
nerdwithnofriends wrote:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.

When have we successfully done this? It would be foolish to bet the existence of all life that we've ever found on this planet without proof that we can at least do this on a small scale test first. It's not like we have a backup that can be restored, after all.
 
Posted by Sxeptomaniac (Member # 3698) on February 01, 2007, 16:36:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
nerdwithnofriends wrote:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.

When have we successfully done this? It would be foolish to bet the existence of all life that we've ever found on this planet without proof that we can at least do this on a small scale test first. It's not like we have a backup that can be restored, after all.

Agreed. To use the "flung into space" analogy, suppose the group of people turned out to have a greatly insufficient time to construct the spacesuit, and/or the only materials available were a box of popsicle sticks. There's a good chance the hypothical man will die. Human ingenuity has limits.
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on February 01, 2007, 17:18:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
nerdwithnofriends wrote:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.

When have we successfully done this? It would be foolish to bet the existence of all life that we've ever found on this planet without proof that we can at least do this on a small scale test first. It's not like we have a backup that can be restored, after all.

Agreed. To use the "flung into space" analogy, suppose the group of people turned out to have a greatly insufficient time to construct the spacesuit, and/or the only materials available were a box of popsicle sticks. There's a good chance the hypothical man will die. Human ingenuity has limits.
I'm not advocating fdisking the planet, I'm just saying. I look forward to seeing what we do with terraforming new planets if/when we get there.


Sxepto, what I was trying to say with that analogy is that, given a reasonable amount of time, people will come up with a solution. Cats will never be able to do so.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on February 01, 2007, 18:36:
 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
Sxepto, what I was trying to say with that analogy is that, given a reasonable amount of time, people will come up with a solution. Cats will never be able to do so.

Your entire analogy depends on so many relative variables, that it is almost impossible to hypothesize about.

1. Intelligence is relative. In order to compare what a human would do in that situation to what a cat would do you would have to find a group of humans and a group of cats with the same level of intelligence. Perhaps if you left out the word "intelligent", you would have a better analogy. But then it really has no point. So I think you're pretty much SOL. (that whole comparing apples to oranges thing)

2. I'd like to see you successfully communicate that idea to a group of cats.

3. You assume (you don't really know) that an "intelligent" human would survive their fling in space and a cat would not. Unless that human is Buzz Aldrin, I'd say the human and the cat have pretty much the same odds for survival.

quote:
I've had this argument before with a friend. However, she allowed me to see another point of view: instead of looking at how much instinct an animal is born with, look at the time until it reaches sexual maturity.
Why in the world would sexual maturity possibly influence instinct since by definition, instinct is something a species is born with...

quote:
I find the idea that instinct is superior to knowledge simply mind boggling; Yeah, it seems cool that a creature can do something we can't, but that's a combination of its physiological specification to its niche, and eons spent doing the same thing. Eons! Thousands of generations it takes to do something near perfectly in an environment, and yet as soon as there is a significant change, they fail miserably.
Do not confuse instinct with evolution... or ecosystems. There is a relationship there, but they are not the same things. It's like saying an engine is a car. Sure, the engine is part of a car, but it isn't the entire car.

I'd like you to show me a large sampling of human beings that respond well to change. I urge you to do this in a Union environment - preferably in Detroit.

quote:
You say that even though we are harmful to the environment/ecosystem, and that all processes stop with us, we are not superior. Why not? If species A and B are competing for resources, wouldn't species A want the ability to destroy species B so that there was room for more A?

Yes. Except they are incapable of realizing that there is a better way: the destruction of another species. I know it sounds bad, but provided there's harmony within your species and the destruction of another would yield a higher standard of living for your people, wouldn't you do it?

There's that megalomania again... Doesn't anyone ever wonder why human beings can only survive by destroying things (not to mention each other)?

quote:
I guess I'm the worst kind of environmentalist: the one that only protects that which is necessary for a happy existence. I see saving near-extinct species as nothing more than stroking our own vanity; because we can, as it were. It doesn't really matter to our survival whether or not an endangered species survives; it merely makes us happy to think that we've saved this thing, and oooh it's pretty and magestic and all that sort of shit. I guess I'll never understand.
We are a relatively new addition to the world around us. All we have managed to do is destroy thousands of species of plants and animals in our tenure. These species didn't just die off... we KILLED them. WE destroyed them.

I'll use rainforests as an example. We humans have destroyed plants, animals and other human beings in our thirst for things to make us "happy". This destruction has made it impossible to use plants (at least the extinct ones) to cure human diseases. We've shot ourselves in the foot for photocopies. That makes me pretty unhappy...

Rainforests house 75% of the world's animals and plants. They're there for a reason, people.

The destruction of rainforests has catastrophic planetary consequences. The removal of this ecosystem alters planetary light reflection. The consequences of that are significant changes in rainfall patterns and wind and ocean currents.

I'm fairly certain that impacts our survival.

quote:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.
I'm with Steen... when have we ever been able to do that? The only thing we've managed to do on this planet is destroy it... that's not exactly the same thing as building one...
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on February 01, 2007, 20:17:
 
I can't improve, but I can modify:
quote:
catgoddess:
2. I'd like to see you successfully communicate that idea to a group of cats.

Damnit! I was all over that one! I was going to say something like, "nerdwithnofriends, you can talk to cats? And they understand you? That's really cool!"

quote:
catgoddess:
3. You assume (you don't really know) that an "intelligent" human would survive their fling in space and a cat would not. Unless that human is Buzz Aldrin, I'd say the human and the cat have pretty much the same odds for survival.

nerdwithnofriends, how long would it take YOU to assemble (or raise the funds to purchase) a working spacesuit AND some kind of reentry platform so you don't burn up on your way home? I'm not entirely certain I could do it given a long enough time for my cat-competitor to have died from old age.

quote:
catgoddess:
Rainforests house 75% of the world's animals and plants.

Land animals. Pretty soon it'll be the full 75% because the reefs are pretty much screwed. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up, but then pragmatism kicked in. We'll always have dirt.

quote:
nerdwithnofriends:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.

We have three options there:
1) Terraform Mars before our ecology completely crashes and then wonder how we're going to move 20 billion people (oh, we can get there, you just wait and see...). Remember, it's a round trip of over one year. Do the math. We'd still be moving colonists when the Sun exploded.

2) Let this world go to shit, and then, after the majority of the population has DIED OF STARVATION OR EXPOSURE TO TOXINS OR DISEASE realise that there aren't enough of us left to get the job done. Terraforming a planet quickly enough to help people who already live there is a massively labor (and energy) intensive project.

3) Screw up the whole argument and save our world economy and tens of billions of human lives (and tens of trillions of animal and plant lives) and avoid the impending appocalypse. Why give up before we see proof that it's hopeless?

I find our willingness to destroy our environment distressing. Primarily because we are animals who claim to love their offspring. Okay, so I don't know about you, but my SON's comfort is actually much more important to me than my comfort is. How could I be a good father and fuck up his home?
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on February 01, 2007, 20:39:
 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
quote:
nerdwithnofriends:
Personally, I'm of the mind that if we really fuck up this environment, we have the ability to craft a new one.

We have three options there:
1) Terraform Mars before our ecology completely crashes and then wonder how we're going to move 20 billion people (oh, we can get there, you just wait and see...). Remember, it's a round trip of over one year. Do the math. We'd still be moving colonists when the Sun exploded.

But dammit, we'd beat out Fluffy and her gang of catnip sniffing, paper-wad swatting, butt-licking, hairballs.

Personally, I think we might beat out the cats because they don't like Tang.
 
Posted by ScholasticSpastic (Member # 6919) on February 01, 2007, 20:50:
 
catgoddess, fluffy is just decimating bird and rodent populations. We're equal-opportunity decimators... We don't have to worry about the survival-in-space contest because we're better at being cats than cats are. Cats are hunters. Hunters kill things. We're the first species on Earth (stupid name for a world...) to come up with a way to hunt (kill) all living things at the same time! We win!!
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on February 01, 2007, 21:37:
 
/me smacks his forhead with his palm

I guess my analogy was horrible. I still think it illustrated a good point, but whatever.

My point is that while cats (why do we keep talking about cats? Why did I keep talking about cats?) respond very well to their defined environment, they have no capability to survive a 'radical' environment change. And I'm not talking environment as in ecology, I'm talking environment as in environment.

I'm trying to dispute catgoddesses notion that animals are superior to people because they are incapable of rational thought.


SS: Can I talk to cats? I guess you could say that. Communication with my cat at home (well, she's actually my mom's/sisters, but she's the only one of the two I give a damn about) is limited to name-calling, head scritches, tummy scratching, long staring contests, and the occasional foot to the ribcage (not hard, but just enough to let her know that she is not going outside again). [Smile]


That's why I made a point of not saying 'talk to the cats' in my original post. Catgoddess noted it was like comparing apples to oranges, and that's exactly my point- we are so far out of the feline league that you can't compare the evolutionary advantages. We have communication, both written and verbal, a thought process capable of synthesizing solutions to any problem given the time, and a host of other tools that we either stumbled upon by chance or that nature was kind enough to give us.


Maybe another analogy would work: Eskimos. They live in the North. Where it's cold. Really cold. In fact, they need start chemical reactions in order to produce heat to survive.

How many other species are capable of producing fire at will? None that I'm aware of. And yet, the barren northlands of our Canadian brethren are so cold and inhospitable that it really boggles the mind as to why anybody would want to live there. SO it must have been necessary, and not out of want. And fire (and now that I think about it, the ability to go whaling) are the 'technologies' responsible for allowing those people to live up there. (Side note- are the terms inuit and eskimo interchangeable? Or are they different tribes/people?). Those technologies are available to people soley through the use of human intellect.


And as to the whole synthetic environment thing... What I'm trying to say is, maybe if we designed an environment to fit our needs as a species, instead of just having slowly joined the established as a new species and then thrusting our new technology onto it, there would be far less conflict.

You're right, Steen. We've never done it before. But when have we tried to start from scratch? I just find it hard to believe that with our knowledge of physics, biology, and especially genetics and the manipulation thereof, we couldn't engineer plants and animals (but why would we need animals?) to do our bidding. Especially when the technology is evolving all the time. I'm not saying you could do this in a year, or a decade, or even a century, but it could be done. Like I said, I look forward to seeing what they do with mars or whatever planet we colonize.
 
Posted by catgoddess (Member # 6838) on February 01, 2007, 21:56:
 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
I'm trying to dispute catgoddesses notion that animals are superior to people because they are incapable of rational thought.

The fact that you haven't succeeded in your quest may be directly related to the fact I never made that claim.

I merely said that humans (and free will) were not superior. Nothing more. Nothing less.
 


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