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Author Topic: The nature/science of learning a skill ?  (Read 5942 times)

Offline neilep

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The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« on: 06/08/2006 22:41:47 »
Say you have two identical islands.

Both equally prolific in resources for an abandoned naked person to exist...

Put a survival expert on one, and a complete novice on the other and setting aside the possibility of the novice starving to death and dieing via exposure etc.

How long would it take for the novice to acquire the skills of the expert ? Is there a natural order to this learning ability ?

necessity breeds invention yes ?...but would that only apply to someone with a knack for knowing a situation and resolving it adequately ?

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Offline Karen W.

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #1 on: 06/08/2006 23:06:04 »
Wow, What are you thinking about today?? I have read that 4 times and still can't answer it with any surety! Wow!

Karen
 

another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #2 on: 06/08/2006 23:13:53 »
I think it depends as much on the psyche and optimism/defeatism of the marooned person as it does upon the skills of the person.



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Offline moonfire

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #3 on: 07/08/2006 00:02:38 »
Neil do you have dreams being abandoned??

"Lo" Loretta
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #4 on: 07/08/2006 00:14:42 »
quote:
Originally posted by moonfire

Neil do you have dreams being abandoned??

"Lo" Loretta



Your funny !!...:)

I suppose I am just interested in the nature of human stuff !!...at the same time I am just trying my best to ask different questions.....why they pop into my head I do not know .. !!

hey !!...perhaps that's another thread starter eh ?

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Offline Karen W.

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #5 on: 07/08/2006 00:41:02 »
See, Thats whats been missing for the last 3 weeks!!!WOOOOWHO, WELCOME HOME NEIL!!!

Karen
 

Offline moonfire

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #6 on: 07/08/2006 01:13:14 »
I agree with you Neil, that would be a good thread starter...I am curious about that too!  LOL

"Lo" Loretta
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #7 on: 07/08/2006 07:08:27 »
Tom Hanks did ok on that islands in that movie. lol.

Steven
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #8 on: 07/08/2006 08:37:27 »
Ok Neil why are they abondoned Naked? Someone stole their clothes? This is good, but they are on seperate islands. Not together right? So the novice has to make do with NO real survival skills. When you say no survival skills, you mean he or she has no knowledge of fire building foraging for food or building shelters? I'd say he/she in quite a pickle! I wouldn't give em two weeks tops and I have no idea how to answer that question, I think I will just stand by for the answer as I am alredy drowning!!

Karen
 

Offline Grecian

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #9 on: 07/08/2006 09:20:16 »

Yes, Tom Hanks did it in a film called 'Castaway' with great success.
I would just die.


Love you lots

Helena  xxxx



« Last Edit: 07/08/2006 09:20:52 by Grecian »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #10 on: 07/08/2006 09:54:46 »
Most survival skills are the result of many people's experience over many years and some of them can be counter intuitive.  I am sure that a novice would learn a lot but the person equipped with the skills of generations would do much better.

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Offline Karen W.

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #11 on: 07/08/2006 10:17:34 »
I'm sure your right. I know the basic stuff, but I am not sure I would make it either. Lots of pioneers inmy family history but How much I really took in unsure of!

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another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #12 on: 07/08/2006 12:17:17 »
quote:
Originally posted by Karen W.
So the novice has to make do with NO real survival skills. When you say no survival skills, you mean he or she has no knowledge of fire building foraging for food or building shelters? I'd say he/she in quite a pickle! I wouldn't give em two weeks tops and I have no idea how to answer that question, I think I will just stand by for the answer as I am alredy drowning!!



Unless they have access to drinking water, not even that.

Unless they find access to food within a couple of days, they will begin to get weakened (both physically and mentally), and the likelihood of them being able to subsequently finding the strength to start developing initiatives drastically diminishes.



George
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #13 on: 07/08/2006 13:26:51 »
THANK YOU all for your welcome responses.

Karen..the reason they are naked is to force them to find a way to clothe themselves...probably by using local vegetation or the skin of an animal which must be first caught , killed and skinned...and probably eaten too.

I have allowed for there to be accessible foods and drinks (coconuts and pineapples...a stream)....

The premise is to keep the novice alive so that he/she will have the time to learn the survival skills...

Would nature allow the novice to acquire equal skills ?...over time ?...perhaps years ?

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Offline Grecian

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #14 on: 07/08/2006 13:31:37 »



Not if it breaks my nails. LOL



Love you lots

Helena   xxxx


 

another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #15 on: 07/08/2006 13:38:52 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep
Would nature allow the novice to acquire equal skills ?...over time ?...perhaps years ?



Firstly, age will have a lot to do with it.

A very young child with be substantially moulded by the environment far more than someone in their 50s.  A young child would even will develop modified senses of hearing, vision, and smell (not that their eyes, ears, or nose would be any different; but the processing capabilities of the brain would be optimised for the environment in which it developed).

Over time, probably the major divergence would not be in the understanding of the local environment, but in the understanding of the wider environment.  Someone who was born on the island, and brought up in only that environment, while they may know ever taste, smell, and sight on the island; would probably have less understanding of weather patterns, etc., because he had never been taught they way the weather behaves on a global basis, and how to interpret local events within that context.

It is also possible that someone without previous appropriate training would never develop some of the technological skills for processing the local raw materials e.g. he may never learn to process skin to convert it to more durable leather (although, in theory, his great great grandchildren might but then, if he is alone, how will he ever have great great grandchildren).

A lot of what the castaway will learn will, as you say, depend upon necessity and if it is not necessary, it may not be learnt..  This is why in Europe we developed sophisticated glass technology, but in the Orient, although they knew about glass, they never developed it to the same high level, because poor quality glass was used in Europe in cases where in the Orient they were using porcelain (early glass was not transparent enough for use in windows but as Europe developed ever better glass processing capability, they managed to make the glass of sufficient transparency that they thought of putting it in windows and on mirrors, and even in lenses).

In Tasmania, the natives had actually forgotten how to create fire because they learnt simply to keep fire permanently alive, and to use natural fire, so they had no imperative to retain the knowledge of how to make fire anew.

I would ask, if someone who is marooned on such an island, is able to keep themselves alive for the first few months, what imperative would they have for developing a technology that was not required in their first few months on the island.  The only argument for continually improving technology is if the island they live on has a continually changing environment that provides ever new challenges (now, there is an argument in favour of climate change).



George
« Last Edit: 07/08/2006 14:06:28 by another_someone »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #16 on: 07/08/2006 14:21:45 »
quote:
I would ask, if someone who is marooned on such an island, is able to keep themselves alive for the first few months, what imperative would they have for developing a technology that was not required in their first few months on the island. The only argument for continually improving technology is if the island they live on has a continually changing environment that provides ever new challenges (now, there is an argument in favour of climate change).



THANK YOU GEORGE.

Great response.

I just would expect the necessity to capture the difficult foods would involve the creation of traps and then an alerting system perhaps.

The necessity for shelter would lead to the nature of creating an abode...perhaps even a rudimentary plumbing system.

The need to cultivate perhaps your own fruit and veg would mean learning about the soil and agriculture

perhaps a method of defence too would be needed

a way to alert passing ships that would not be deterred by inclement weather.

Maybe a skill to not just create medical remedies but a way to test them and other chemicals so as to not poison yourself

A way to provide heat other than just a fire...perhaps a central heating system

one may need to construct a dwelling above ground etc etc

Very interesting what you said about the manufacture of glass and the loss of making fire.

THANK YOU



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another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #17 on: 07/08/2006 15:53:01 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep
I just would expect the necessity to capture the difficult foods would involve the creation of traps and then an alerting system perhaps.



What is the imperative to capture difficult foods?

There is an imperative to capture sufficient food.  In the first instance, this would be the easiest food available.  The only imperative to go beyond that is if one over-exploits the easily available food resources, and needs to then start developing resources to exploit less accessible food resources (a little like the way the oil industry first exploits the easy resources before the learning trick to exploit the more difficult resources another argument against sustainable resource usage if you limit your usage of resources to that which is sustainable by current technology, you never have a need to develop new technologies).

quote:

The necessity for shelter would lead to the nature of creating an abode...perhaps even a rudimentary plumbing system.



Again, it you haven't needed it in the first year, then unless there is climatic change, why would you need it in subsequent years?

As for plumbing until the building of cities, there was never a need for plumbing.

quote:

The need to cultivate perhaps your own fruit and veg would mean learning about the soil and agriculture



Farming came about to combat famine caused by variable climate.  If fruit and veg are readily available on the island, why would you farm?  I would also doubt that a single person would have the resources to farm, protect their farm from pests, store the excess (which is the primary reason for farming), etc.

quote:

perhaps a method of defence too would be needed



Again if it hasn't killed him in the first year, it can't be that dangerous unless some change comes about.

quote:

a way to alert passing ships that would not be deterred by inclement weather.



Would he?

Again, this may well be something he is most interested in within the early time on the island but after a time, even if he maintains such alerting systems, he would not wish continue to invest lots of energy in a scheme that has already proved fruitless over an extended period of time.

quote:

Maybe a skill to not just create medical remedies but a way to test them and other chemicals so as to not poison yourself



Pretty difficult unless you have someone else available to poison.

One thing he will probably not have to worry about too much is infectious disease there is no human to infect him, and his only real risk is probably from birds who can carry disease from remote places.

There may be a problem with some diseases that the native animals are largely immune to, but that he, as an outsider, has not yet developed an immunity to.  It seems improbable that he would find any natural cures for such diseases with great ease he either survives them, and develops natural immunity, or he fails to survive them.

quote:

A way to provide heat other than just a fire...perhaps a central heating system



On such a lush island which guarantees that he will not starve it may be cooling he needs more than heating.


But, as I said before if he is living in a fairly stable environment then whatever he needs to survive the first year, is all that he will need to survive subsequent years, and few people would bother to innovate except if the necessity arises.

But, also as I said, the situation substantially changes if the environment on the island changes from year to year, and decade to decade then each year, and each decade, would demand new innovation to meet the new challenges.



George
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #18 on: 07/08/2006 16:08:15 »
THANK YOU George....

The reason to cultivate, catch other foods, manufacture better living quarters is a necessity of change...the want to try something else...I would not want to live on the same foods for a period of many years. If an alternative tasty treat was available then I would find the need to invent a way to capture it...not out of necessity for survival but out of necessity for a change !

The same applies to many of the above parameters.

I think the necessity to not remain stagnant is imperative.

he may well want to farm some goodies...some seeds may be found on the shore giving chance to new fruits.

The ability to create an alerting system for passing ships may not be an ongoing affair but it may take a lot of time to perfect it.

...and there may be inclement weather...OK..perhaps a central heating system may be pushing it too far

...over many many years a change of abode will not necessarily be needed...but may be wanted....

I would not want to live in an arrested culture of my own making if I was the inhabitant of this island...I would want to change, and add spice and variety to my way of life.


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another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #19 on: 07/08/2006 17:18:19 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep
The reason to cultivate, catch other foods, manufacture better living quarters is a necessity of change...the want to try something else...I would not want to live on the same foods for a period of many years. If an alternative tasty treat was available then I would find the need to invent a way to capture it...not out of necessity for survival but out of necessity for a change !



This has nothing to do with farming.

You can only farm what is there.  If it is not there naturally, you cannot farm it if it is there naturally, why do you need to farm it?

Furthermore, there is also the imperative to remain conservative, lest the next thing you try ends up killing you.  If you know it is safe, then use it; if you don't know it is safe, then leave it alone unless there is an absolute need to take that extra risk.

Ofcourse, there are always different personality type some gamblers and some over cautious types.  In a society of many people, you let the gamblers take the big risks; many of those gamblers will die, but a few will get lucky and survive, and from those few the rest of the population can learn.  In a population of only one, you do not have the possibility to spread risk in that way.

quote:

I think the necessity to not remain stagnant is imperative.



I think the history of many 'primitive' peoples shows the converse.

For them, the important feature is to survive, and the imperative for social interaction.  The latter option is clearly denied you.

In many ways, one can see the development of religion as being part of the need to develop intellectually, within a social framework, but without the need to develop technologically (this requiring science rather than religion).

quote:

The ability to create an alerting system for passing ships may not be an ongoing affair but it may take a lot of time to perfect it.



In order to perfect such a system, one much be able to test the system, and refine the system based upon the results of those tests.  How would you test such a system it is a system that only needs to work once.

Ofcourse, this does not mean that one may not spend time refining it it simply means that the refinements may turn out to be very different from perfecting it since there will be no independent way to asses whether the refinement will improve or degrade the ability of the system to do its job.

One refinement category that one can test are refinements that reduce the human workload demanded to run the system but this does not mean that the system will perform better in terms of its primary design goal of alerting passing ships.

quote:

...over many many years a change of abode will not necessarily be needed...but may be wanted....



But you will be living in very different terms than you would in your home in London.

In London, your house is the full extent of your personal domain it is the entirety of your home.  On this desert island, the whole island is your home, and the house is no more than your bedroom.

It may well be that you may choose to move your house from one part of the island to another a little like redecorating your home moving your bedroom from one part of your home to another.  So long as you are marooned, you will never be able to move home, only move the bedroom.

It is likely that if you want to regularly move bedrooms, you will want to keep it simple, in order to be able to simply pick it up and move it elsewhere.

quote:

I would not want to live in an arrested culture of my own making if I was the inhabitant of this island...I would want to change, and add spice and variety to my way of life.



In the absence of a society, there can be no culture.

The lack of people will be far more arresting than a lack of technology.



George
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #20 on: 07/08/2006 17:23:21 »
YAYYY !!

I luff my chats with George !!...just an acknowedgement that I will respond later Sir.

thanks george.

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Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #21 on: 07/08/2006 21:03:36 »
ONE:
Of course you can farm something new....like I said...from a seed that may be found from a plant that is not nearby...
say you lived on this island and all of a sudden a pomegranate was washed ashore....before consuming it..I might feel compelled to keep some seeds and grow some of my own !!....so there !!!


TWO:
I personally would not want to remain stagnant...this is my case for improving my hut...catching tastier food and making my life on my island more comfortable than it was yesterday......
...of course...should one wish to remain still then go right ahead.....it was my opinion and I stick by it...
Yes....there are may cultures that remain arrested and are successful in being that....but they are small and uninvolved...isolated and a minority.
No...for me...the way is FORWARD not HALT .

THREE:
That is a reasonable point about my house being in London...as opposed to the island being my home....it does not necessarily mean that I still would not want to improve my dwelling. Yes, I may just simply knock it down and build another but I think I would like to improve it...redesign it. Honestly George...I have to put my Home Cinema system somewhere don't I ?


FOUR:
I think there can be a society of one !...a very personal society where the culture is one of my own making....however..I wonder if I would see myself as an extension of the society I came from hmmmm. Still a cultural society of one seems plausible to me.

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another_someone

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #22 on: 07/08/2006 21:36:58 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep
Of course you can farm something new....like I said...from a seed that may be found from a plant that is not nearby...
say you lived on this island and all of a sudden a pomegranate was washed ashore....before consuming it..I might feel compelled to keep some seeds and grow some of my own !!....so there !!!



Unless you know your plant seeds, and know exactly the requirements of this new seed it is very unlikely you would succeed.

What do you mean by farming?

What crops can grow on your island by natural means, can they really be said to be farmed?  Is not farming a case of creating artificial environments that cause crops to either grow in geographic territories they would not normally grow in, or to deliver yields beyond that which they would naturally deliver?

Do you need the extra yield?  If you are trying to store food to cover future famines, then maybe but otherwise?

Could you create the appropriate artificial environment for this seed?  Would you know what that environment was?

quote:

I personally would not want to remain stagnant...this is my case for improving my hut...catching tastier food and making my life on my island more comfortable than it was yesterday......
...of course...should one wish to remain still then go right ahead.....it was my opinion and I stick by it...



As I said, some personality types are natural gamblers.

So, you have found that you can survive off a few types of fish, animal, and plant.  One day, you catch a fish you have never seen before you cook and eat it, and next day you get very ill, and die.

There are few people more easily bored by a constant diet than me but I am not someone who likes being poisoned.

quote:

Yes....there are may cultures that remain arrested and are successful in being that....but they are small and uninvolved...isolated and a minority.



The society you describe is as small and isolated as it gets one man on a deserted island how much smaller and more isolated can you get.

Ofcourse, there is nothing stopping you from trying to develop new mathematical solutions to unsolved problems that is perfectly safe, and will still stretch your brain.

quote:

No...for me...the way is FORWARD not HALT .



Forward, yes but not all change is forward.

quote:

That is a reasonable point about my house being in London...as opposed to the island being my home....it does not necessarily mean that I still would not want to improve my dwelling. Yes, I may just simply knock it down and build another but I think I would like to improve it...redesign it. Honestly George...I have to put my Home Cinema system somewhere don't I ?



Possibly but what I was saying is that while you may 'improve' your home, that is different (in this case) from improving your house.

I don't think that  Home Cinema will be an option on your desert island (if you manage to develop integrated transistor technology on your island, I will be mightily impressed).

These 'primitive' cultures do also 'improve' their home they may artistically decorate it with very fine artistry.  The point is that the technology is there to serve one's needs; and the artistry to serve one's senses.

quote:

I think there can be a society of one !...a very personal society where the culture is one of my own making....however..I wonder if I would see myself as an extension of the society I came from hmmmm. Still a cultural society of one seems plausible to me.



And with whom would you communicate is talking to yourself really as stimulating as talking to others?

How would you value, or validate, yourself?

There are indeed some people who are natural recluses but I would certainly not believe you to be one of them.  Your very involvement in this forum demonstrates an intense need to communicate with others, a need that could not be satisfied on such an island.



George
 

Offline neilep

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #23 on: 07/08/2006 22:09:27 »
George..are you saying my wireless connection will not work on my island ?..oh pooo !!

I have to say as a side note that until the Internet came along  (and for me...this site)I was living a reclusive life..I may occupy a home filled with a family but when they go to bed and the rest of the night is open to me ..that is where I feel at my best....you may be surprised that I really enjoy my own company. That I think is the consequence of 35 years of insomnia !!..oh joy !!

If I were to not sanction myself as a community of one then I would be diminishing myself as a member of a society....Careful I must be that I might rule myself out of being a person whose life has any meaning.

I would validate myself by keeping notes, striving to better myself...overcoming the obstacles of what is inside of me....

I see your point now about the chance of poisoning myself.......I think you may have taken an extreme perspective and that is my fault for my not explaining myself adequately. Originally my argument for a change of food was as an alternative to what I thought you were describing as basic rations and basic rations only...I would not be content with that...but if there was a wild boar..or a rabbit...I would want to use my energy and creativity to catch  and consume. I would not want to grow a seed unless I knew where it was coming from...unlike say...my pomegranate...or catch a fish unless I knew it was safe to eat.

Semantics again...When I said farm I meant just growing a few plants...perhaps some melons...marrows..carrots and spuds...in other words I meant agriculture...I used inappropriate language...sorry....forgive me ?

THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR THIS DIALOGUE

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Re: The nature/science of learning a skill ?
« Reply #23 on: 07/08/2006 22:09:27 »

 

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