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Author Topic: Cooperation or Competition?  (Read 12059 times)

Offline RD

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #25 on: 28/01/2013 18:33:37 »
I have heard scientists attempting to account for consciousness and today on the radio I heard one say that “life is a process”.

They could be referring to the absence of teleology in evolution of life-forms: there is no plan / no designer / no end-point / no goal, just a continuous "process" of evolution of life. That would include the evolutionary processes which shape neurology and consequently what constitutes consciousness.   

These are just words used meaninglessly, but it sounds good, sounds like they know what they’re talking about.  That, too, is what you are doing with your description of the mind.

What's wrong with my* computer-analogy description of the mind where
computer hardware = neurology, and computer software = experience , education (programming).

[ * I can't claim I came up with the idea first ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_illusion ]
« Last Edit: 28/01/2013 18:39:07 by RD »
 

Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #26 on: 30/01/2013 12:10:38 »
The natural world is fundamentally, entirely and always cooperative. 
So when an oryx is caught and eaten by a pride of lions it is cooperating with the lions? How exactly does that work?

And could you also take the time to explain how I could discourage all that cooperation from the weeds in my garden.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #27 on: 31/01/2013 16:06:25 »

I see.  This means you're defining cooperation and competition differently to the way they're used in science.  I understand better now why you would feel science has got it wrong.

I think these words, in a scientific context, essentially mean "working together" and "working against another".  That's a simplification but hopefully it will help to clarify this discussion.

Yes I am defining them differently from science.  I think the scientific definitions are trivial.  They are not insightful; they merely describe what is observable on the surface of things.  My definitions, on the contrary, go to the heart of the matter.
 

Offline BenV

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #28 on: 01/02/2013 00:18:56 »
So if you acknowledge that you use these words in a different way to their scientific meanings, on what grounds do you feel you can comment on the science itself?

What if these strategies were not called "cooperation" and "competition", but called "A" and "B"?
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #29 on: 02/02/2013 15:53:25 »
If you want to understand animal and human behaviour, then you need to understand cooperation and competition as I define them.  The way science currently defines them is trivial and superficial and does not get to the heart of the matter.  Considering that all of animal and human behaviour are built upon these and similar concepts it seems to me self-evident that it is vital to get the concepts right.  (If you understand competition and cooperation properly, the whole thing really does simplify so much and all animal and human behaviour becomes easy to understand.)
 

Offline RD

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #30 on: 02/02/2013 18:51:48 »
The natural world is fundamentally, entirely and always cooperative. 

I’m struggling to find any validity in Pantodragon's assertion, with the possible exception that they mean there is interdependence between predators an prey. Without predation the prey species could reach unsustainable numbers, exhaust their food supply, and go extinct as a result. The predator is (unintentionally) managing the prey species so it is a sustainable population: ironically the predator is helping the prey species survive by eating some of them.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka%E2%80%93Volterra_equation#Solutions_to_the_equations
« Last Edit: 02/02/2013 19:13:38 by RD »
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #31 on: 07/02/2013 16:09:43 »
You talk as though animals are machines.  They are not.  The "struggle for survival" just will not maintain life.  Living things need to want to live, need to find pleasure in life, need to be having fun.  So, prey and predator are playing a game which both enjoy and which makes life worthwhile for both of them.  (Animals, of course, have no awareness of death, do not anticipate injury and do not have the self-awareness to experience pain.)  If you see, for example, deer running off through the woods, you will notice that their brown colouring quickly makes them disappear from sight --  until, that is, they flash that white rump like a tantalising target -- which is just what it is.  The difficulty zoos have in persuading animals to live, and even harder, to persuade them to breed, and the lengths they have to go to to keep their occupants "happy", is ample evidence that mere survival is not what animals are about.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #32 on: 07/02/2013 19:37:14 »
… need to find pleasure …

Pleasure is emotional reward. Emotions are hard-wired* responses in the brain, wiring which is defined by genes.
[ * although what triggers emotional responses can be learned: triggers are not exclusively innate ]

So when you are pleasure-seeking your behaviour is being controlled by genes.

[deer] flash that white rump like a tantalising target -- which is just what it is
Flashing a highly-visible attention-grabbing white tail could be advantageous whilst in a group of similar individuals running from a predator : multiple things flashing simultaneously, (but not synchronously), are a distracting, it’s difficult to concentrate on one, as each flash is attention-grabbing   …

« Last Edit: 07/02/2013 20:06:04 by RD »
 

Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #33 on: 08/02/2013 16:17:10 »
  Living things need to want to live, need to find pleasure in life, need to be having fun.
Can you expand on how broccoli want to live? How exactly do they have fun?

So, prey and predator are playing a game which both enjoy and which makes life worthwhile for both of them.  (Animals, of course, have no awareness of death, do not anticipate injury and do not have the self-awareness to experience pain.) 
As Wolfgang Pauli would have said, this is so bad it is not even wrong.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #34 on: 11/02/2013 15:24:41 »

Flashing a highly-visible attention-grabbing white tail could be advantageous whilst in a group of similar individuals running from a predator : multiple things flashing simultaneously, (but not synchronously), are a distracting, it’s difficult to concentrate on one, as each flash is attention-grabbing   …



Yes, I know you can give explanations for everything, and scientists can be quite ingenious at making the pieces of the puzzle fit together.  But really, that is the problem: it’s like seeing patterns in the stars – there are endless possibilities. 

Scientists make observations then try and find some sort of pattern that the observations all fit – well, in fact there is usually an existing pattern anyway, usually a theory waiting for verification.  There are ‘rules’ for deciding which pattern is preferable – basically you go for the simplest unless you have good reason not to, but that is just a rule made up to deal with the problems that arise when you use science to try and understand the world; I mean, there is no real justification for the rule other than that you have to have one, and that one seems to make more sense than any other.

When you divorce yourself from the world as science requires you to do, and you rely on the intellect for everything (the gathering of data has to be ‘objective’, you have to keep yourself out of the experiment etc) then you get yourself into a place where there are always going to be multiple options but never any way to choose between them.  That there are not multiple scientific theories in existence is because they are made to compete with one another and so the history books are full of ‘losers’ and the text books teach only the winner: so Newtonian Physics, Quantum Theory, General Relativity – none of them are unique.  They all had competitors which were all equally valid, but can only ever be one winner in a competition.

So you have this conundrum in science (and philosophy): how do you decide which of the many possible theories is the right one, and the only answer so far has been to let them fight it out in the gladiatorial arena that is science -- and pray that the ‘best man wins’!

However, there actually IS a way out of the conundrum, and that is what I have been advocating in my posts…which brings me to the deer with the white rumps.  Well, in the first place, the deer I am talking about are loners, not the variety that go about in herds, so the idea that it causes a confusion of multiple targets will not hold.  But, really, just go out there yourself and be a HUMAN BEING and admit that you are actually equipped with the senses to know what is going on – I mean, geez, is it possible that we have survived all this time without being able to detect that sort of thing, unable to know when an animal is a threat to us or is in playful mood, unable to tell if an animal is going to attack if one goes closer or if it is going to be tolerant etc etc?
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #35 on: 11/02/2013 15:28:02 »

1) Can you expand on how broccoli want to live? How exactly do they have fun?

2) As Wolfgang Pauli would have said, this is so bad it is not even wrong.

1)  And my assertion is more absurd than yours which says that there is no essential difference between a person and a broccoli?  More absurd than that we are all robots, people and broccolis alike?  (essentially science does reduce us all to bio-computers.) More absurd than that the only difference between a broccoli and a person is that the person’s genes get to drive round in a customized, top-of-the-range Porche, while the broccoli’s genes get a clapped out pair of roller-skates-- well, actually, the broccoli’s genes are stuck at home and don’t get out at all!  It strikes me that this smacks of a class system, the wealthy genes getting to house themselves in people, while the poor genes get vegetables, or possibly microbes – I wonder if there are any homeless genes? 
You are right, of course: broccolis are rather more easily satisfied than people, or even rabbits.  And rabbits are rather more easily satisfied than people.  People need dreams; people need lives that have some meaning; rabbits will get along fine on just having a good time today and to hell with the future.  What keeps a broccoli happy I’m not really sure, but if you do not think that vegetables need to be ‘kept happy’, then go and talk to a gardener!  I dare say this sounds like levity, and the whole notion of happy vegetables just seems too ridiculous to take seriously.  Well, that’s all a matter of language, and I could formalize all that I am saying and couch it in language that would make it seem believable, but that is the game of scientists and philosophers; it is not my game. 


2)  Well, since you have mentioned Pauli, let’s talk about ‘exclusion’, and see it we cannot arrive at a different view as to who is the ‘baddie’ in all this.  Science will not tolerate me.  It will try and take me over (give a scientific account of my misguided delusions and thus explain them away), and if it cannot do that it will go for the kill i.e. it will pull out every dirty trick to try and discredit me.  I, on the other hand, will tolerate science – I will just not allow it to sit on the throne, and will not hold my tongue, nor lie, when I see science, or scientists, behaving badly and trying to lord it over other people, trying to take over their lives, claiming more than their fair share of the world – i.e. trying to exclude every thing that is not science.
 

Offline BenV

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #36 on: 11/02/2013 15:39:08 »
I dare say this sounds like levity, and the whole notion of happy vegetables just seems too ridiculous to take seriously.
You are the one claiming that living things "want to have fun":
Quote
Living things need to want to live, need to find pleasure in life, need to be having fun.
Are vegetables not alive, by your definition?  What about zooplankton?

Quote
I, on the other hand, will tolerate science – I will just not allow it to sit on the throne, and will not hold my tongue, nor lie, when I see science, or scientists, behaving badly and trying to lord it over other people, trying to take over their lives, claiming more than their fair share of the world – i.e. trying to exclude every thing that is not science.

This is a science Q&A forum.  In that context, this is like shouting at a cow for not producing goats milk.


If you will indulge a hypothetical situation, would you class intentionally trying to get banned from internet fora (wasting the time of well meaning volunteers in the process) as a way of "finding pleasure in life"?  Would you describe this as a cooperative or competitive behaviour?
 

Offline schneebfloob

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #37 on: 11/02/2013 20:09:59 »
This is a science Q&A forum.  In that context, this is like shouting at a cow for not producing goats milk.


If you will indulge a hypothetical situation, would you class intentionally trying to get banned from internet fora (wasting the time of well meaning volunteers in the process) as a way of "finding pleasure in life"?  Would you describe this as a cooperative or competitive behaviour?

*Favourite post of 2013*
 

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Re: Cooperation or Competition?
« Reply #37 on: 11/02/2013 20:09:59 »

 

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