homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam

The Geek Culture Forums


Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Geek Culture Forums   » Love!   » Looking for Love   » Women vs. Men (Page 3)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!  
This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4 
 
Author Topic: Women vs. Men
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 17:55            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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 ...

IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 21:32      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 21:51            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OK, but what bound you to definition 2? Defintion 1 isn't good enough for you?
IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 21:56      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:15            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?
IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

Gold Hearted SuperFan!
Member # 1769

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:30      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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...

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10669 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:31      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:41            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:50      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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]

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 22:58            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?

IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 23:38      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 23:57            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?

IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 00:23      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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]

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
Member # 6919

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 01:07      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 02:05      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
csk

Member # 1941

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 03:31      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
6 weeks to go!

Posts: 4455 | From: Sydney, Australia | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 170

Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 08:02      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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]

--------------------
Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 08:03      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
Member # 6919

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted January 31, 2007 20:23      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 08:51      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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 love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
Member # 6919

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 10:27      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
catgoddess
Geek
Member # 6838

Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 11:11      Profile for catgoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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...

--------------------
"I love humanity but I hate people." Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 102 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 170

Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 12:56      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
[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.

--------------------
Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
nerdwithnofriends
Uber Geek
Member # 3773

Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 14:23      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

Posts: 948 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 170

Icon 1 posted February 01, 2007 16:20      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

--------------------
Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged


All times are Eastern Time
This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4 
 
Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Geek Culture Home Page

2015 Geek Culture

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.4.0



homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam