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Author Topic: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?  (Read 7303 times)

Offline Harri

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At what point in the evolution of human beings did the first scientist appear? Man at one point I presume had only food, warmth and sex to think about in everyday life, staying alive. Is there a point, or a single action, when we could say humans deviated from that and did something else, something scientific?

(thanks Chris)
« Last Edit: 22/10/2015 08:44:29 by Harri »


 

Offline Colin2B

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What would you consider to be a behaviour that counts as being a scientist?
 

Offline puppypower

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Humans differ from animals in that we have two centers of consciousness; the ego and inner self. The ego and inner self are the centers of the conscious and unconscious minds, respectively. Animals have only one conscious center; inner self, which is connected to natural instinct. The ego is connected to choice and free will and allows humans to act apart from natural instinct. It is hard for modern science to define natural human instinct, conclusively, because this is unconscious in most people. This was not the case before the ego evolved.

The initial formation of the secondary center or the ego would have created an alternate POV that differed from the instinctive center of the pre-humans. This is where the first pseudo-scientists would begin to appear. A scientist is not immerse in the unconsciousness of natural instinct, but stands outside this as an observer of themselves; I think therefore I am. It is not, I act on impulse therefore I am.

This transition from pre-human to human, as defined by the appearance of the secondary center of the ego, appears to coordinate with the rise of civilization. The rise of civilization is where the pre-humans, with one center, began to alter the age old ways of natural instinct, away from small groups of wandering hunter gatherers into larger fixed communities. With this change, they needed to engineer farming tools, building techniques, etc. 

Western religions equate the beginning of the universe and man; Genesis, with the time frame where modern science says permanent civilization appears; 6000-10,000 years ago. If we give this parallel the benefit of the doubt, religion would be equating human=Adam with the rise of the ego, and not the biological pre-human=inner self of biology.  In fact, if you read Genesis, this is the first recorded science theory of cosmology and evolution. It is not as sophisticated as today's science, but it was state of the art 6000 years ago. 

What is interesting is the first quote in Genesis is, in the beginning was the word and word was God. Genesis appears to equate the new universe of the ego; conscious mind, with the invention of written language; the word. Science shows that written language was invented about 6000 years ago. Many people believe that thinking requires language, such that the invention of written language may have allowed the ego center to become stable and begin to spread.

There were signs of civilization, before 6000 year ago, therefore early science and engineering, but these aborted. There was spoken language at that time, but not yet written language. The ego may have appeared earlier, than the first stable civilizations, but the lack of written language made the memory more pliable, such that the ego of key people, was not sustainable, until written language appears. The first written word was God, by tradition, which became like the first ipad, which then leads to a change as spoken words are processed into scribe.

If you go to school, picture learning a subject only from lectures, but no note taking and no text book.The problem would be high levels of misunderstanding and high levels of forgetting, since there is nothing firm to compare for refresh. With a text book and note taking one can learn and relearn in ways that allows the class to be on the same page. This allowed civilization to remain firm as well as allowed the ego gains a foundation this is carved into external stone instead of DNA.
« Last Edit: 22/10/2015 13:06:01 by puppypower »
 

Offline MolonLabe

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What is interesting is the first quote in Genesis is, in the beginning was the word and word was God. Genesis appears to equate the new universe of the ego; conscious mind, with the invention of written language; the word.

Unfortunately, the quotation is not from Genesis, but the gospel according to John, written a mere 2000 years ago. This sort of spoils your argument a bit. Actually, the word used in the original Greek is "logos" which can mean "word" but can also mean "rational thought". This I think is a Christian manipulation of Stoic thought, which was the idea that the divine was a universal rational concept.
 
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Offline chris

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The other day, I was looking at a "firestone" used by Aborigines to start fires. These artefacts, which date back thousands of years, are instantly recognisable because they are stones with round holes bored into them. They were used to hold - and apply downward force onto - the top of a stick, which was rapidly rotated back and forth in a similar stone below. The frictional heating created hot embers that could be used to start a fire.

I occurred to me that there was actually quite a bit of science and engineering in that artefact and the process for which it was intended. Becoming aware that friction produces heat, and that this can be sufficient to start a fire, is a pretty impressive leap.

Early humans also worked stones and pieces of wood to fashion tools; to do so they needed to be able to plan ahead, with the problem in mind they were seeking to solve, and then avail themselves of the requisite materials to fashion - and then refine - something fit for purpose.

I would say, therefore, that there has been some semblance of science in modern humans for at least tens of thousands of years.

Our lineage goes back perhaps a third of a million years, and the challenges and exigences of the environment with which we have had to contend have changed relatively little over that time, so in some respects, there were scientists around for at least as long as we have existed, I suppose...
 

Offline alancalverd

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In 1983 I watched a gorilla at Chessington Zoo discover the principle of universal gravitation. He had two apples, one considerably larger than the other, one in each hand. He dropped them and noticed that they hit the ground at the same time.  He repeated the test, twice, then changed hands and did it again. Perfect null experimental technique: observe, repeat, change one parameter.

On the presumption that gorillas don't read books or have much of an oral tradition of scientific knowledge, this chap discovered, by the application of best scientific practice and in the space of five minutes, what took humans several million years and and a fair bit of bloodshed. Indeed there is no historical evidence that Galileo actually did his  "leaning tower" experiment, and if you read some of the bizarre submissions to this forum, it's quite clear that very few humans appreciate even the simplest principles of scientific investigation. Of course the gorilla didn't have to shake off centuries of superstition and the threat of excommunication, which gave him a huge advantage over Bruno et al.

Having seen birds, rats and chimpanzees deduce causal relationships from observation, and having marvelled at the gullibility of humans (including verbatim acceptance of garbage like Genesis) for many years, I fear that scientific thought in homo sapiens is something of a rarity compared with other species. Worse: when it appears, the herd generally tries to stamp it out, always preferring consensus and superstition to the demonstrable truth - unlike blue tits.

 
« Last Edit: 23/10/2015 00:01:16 by alancalverd »
 
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Offline chris

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having marvelled [sic]
 at the gullibility of humans (including verbatim acceptance of garbage like Genesis) for many years, I fear that scientific thought in homo sapiens is something of a rarity compared with other species

I suspect that, in humans, social factors trump rational ones. That is, to succeed as the species we are, stronger emphasis is placed on fitting in and being part of a group than in developing independent ideas. This bonds people together and contributes to the success of humans as a whole.
 

Online evan_au

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Quote from: puppypower
Animals have only one conscious center; inner self, which is connected to natural instinct.
I think this is one social idea that is overdue for revision. I think it is based more on wishful thinking or guilt avoidance than on scientific analysis.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Becoming aware that friction produces heat, and that this can be sufficient to start a fire, is a pretty impressive leap.
If you try it you begin to realise that even when you know it should work, the time it takes and the effort involved makes you wonder why anyone did it in the first place. It doesn't work with all types of wood and needs consistent and fast rotation ideally creating a dust first. Then transferring a glowing ember to dry grass or tinder to get a full fire makes it an involved process.
let's admit it, most of us find it hard enough to light a bonfire with just one match!

Discovery of flint tools is a little more understandable. Chimps use stones to break open nuts and it is easy to imagine one breaking to form a sharp edge. The next move requires thinking and experimentation in order to develop techniques for flaking the edges and creating specialist tool shapes.

However, as Alan says, bluetits are pretty smart as well https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17749-killer-birds-bite-off-bats-heads/
thank goodness they aren't bigger and have opposing thumb, we wouldn't stand a chance.
 

Offline puppypower

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Quote from: puppypower
Animals have only one conscious center; inner self, which is connected to natural instinct.
I think this is one social idea that is overdue for revision. I think it is based more on wishful thinking or guilt avoidance than on scientific analysis.

My conclusion is based on careful observation of internal dynamics. The real problem is the scientific method is not designed to deal with many aspects of consciousness. For example, if I had a dream and I observed and carefully recorded all the details, since this is unique data that can't be reproduced in the lab by others, to prove what I claim, it violates the scientific method, even if real, accurate and honest.

The scientific method was designed to factor out many types of consciousness data, so we can come to consensus observations of external things. The method was design to factor out subjectivity from external reality so what is left is tangible. For example, if we were all in the woods and one person hears a sound, another sees eyes in the night, since this is unique to each it would be unscientific to accept this as proven. If we all agree it was dark and the woods were thick, this is more scientific since all see the same thing.

What tend to happen is when science deals with consciousness, science will attempt to use a third person approach to explain consciousness. The result is there is still no universal definition of consciousness. This is because needed internal data;dreams,  can't be used, based on the philosophy of science. This is also why studies of the mind are called soft science. They will add some internal data not accepted by a strict interpretation of the philosophy; soft. But they fall short of using all the data so as to not become called pseudo-science. Real science of the mind will require a modified scientific method. This is why consciousness will be a final frontier of science, since nobody will want the method changed as long as there is external data to gain in the third person. 

The secondary center is related to our conscious mind. The primary center of animals works within the parameters of instinct and may mimic what appears to be science; using a tool. But these observations of animals are more based on a collective projection.This is where we read things into the animal from our own subjectivity. If a child uses a cell phone this does not mean he is pondering science. This is money see and monkey do. That child may not even have an aptitude for science but can subjectively look like a science ace to someone who never used a cells phone.

The rise of the secondary center of consciousness is the point in time conscious deliberation appears beyond monkey see and monkey do. Science is based on conscious deliberation and not just mimicking the past. I guess civilization is when humans begin to accelerate invention due to the necessities of large communal living. This require conscious science.
« Last Edit: 23/10/2015 19:01:57 by puppypower »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #10 on: 23/10/2015 19:00:33 »
Please define consciousness.
 

Offline Harri

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #11 on: 23/10/2015 19:23:08 »
Sorry, my questions are a little more simple. Making fire is a great leap in man's development as pointed out. And apples falling to the ground time after time can fascinate. But is it a more recent development when man started asking what is fire? why do apples fall to the ground? Not just discovering things happening but asking 'why' things happen?
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #12 on: 23/10/2015 19:40:23 »
Let me derive a definition of consciousness through a back door way. 

Consciousness is a phenomena, which is connected to human activities that modern computers can't do, since computers are not considered conscious. A computer can do logic as well as math. This of itself is not considered conscious, or else this alone would make computers conscious. This is monkey see and monkey do based on programming, but not consciousness.

A computer can run a robot, as an output device. The robot can be programmed to do many tasks within its parameters, and it may even look lifelike. This is still not conscious. However, some people may project consciousness into the robot. The child's imagination may think the robot is alive and conscious.  What the imagination has done is added a secondary center to the robot, via projection, that actually exists in the child.

In many ways, the robot is similar to the primary center of animals, which uses 3-D and 4-D genetic programs. There is also a difference, connected to hardware design, which I will explain if asked. Life has unique hardware.

Hardware design aside, a modern conscious computer would be one that is able to transcend its own programming and make choices that are not in its innate programming. The imagination of the child projected such conscious choices for the robot. This example indirectly implies, the way to do this is with a secondary center, that is not fully connected to the primary. In other words, if we had two programs working the same computer, that don't agree, the tension will create compromises that may not be part of either logic base.

When we see an animal or pre-human looking like he is doing science, what becomes active is our imagination playing the role of secondary. They can now appear to make choices that are separate from its programming. The animal does not ponder, what is consciousness, because he is immersed in consciousness. He needs a secondary for this. The secondary by making choices sets a potential with the primary so potential can appear from which awareness appears. If I hold my breath by choice I will notice my face turning blue due to the potential. Now I am conscious of this. If I go along with my breathing, I am not conscious of this.
 
« Last Edit: 23/10/2015 19:51:39 by puppypower »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #13 on: 23/10/2015 22:37:22 »
In short, consciousness is something a computer has not got, and that you think other species don't waste time worrying about.

Or possibly it's the difference between autonomic and intentional action, except that we can design machines that work towards a goal without following a prior program, or monitor their own working, which contradicts the first statement. And we have no way of knowing what goes on in the brain of a dog (except that it has far more sensory input than ours) or a whale (except that it is a lot bigger than ours) or a gorilla (except that it is very similar to ours) or an octopus (which seems to have a sense of self; learning, tool use and problem-solving capacity; and almost no central brain at all).

You are not alone in failing to define consciousness - I haven't found anyone in this forum or elsewhere who has used the term with any selfconsistent idea of what he meant by it. I think it is a magic word that nonscientists utter to kid themselves that homo sapiens is in some way superior to all the other species, which  simply regard us as competitors, predators, vehicles, or food. 

But this is a bit of a digression from the question. I'd put Galileo forward as the earliest provable (i.e. recorded)  example of the essence of scientific thought: the reductio ad absurdam of Aristotle's gravitation. He simply asked "if a heavy stone falls faster than a light one, what happens if we tie  them together? Does the light one slow down the heavy one, or vice versa?" It's quite likely that homo erectus asked the same question, but se'll never know because the defining characteristic of homo sapiens is that we, alone of all species that have ever lived, make physical records of things that are too trivial to remember.
« Last Edit: 23/10/2015 22:46:26 by alancalverd »
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #14 on: 23/10/2015 23:15:43 »
Sorry, my questions are a little more simple. Making fire is a great leap in man's development as pointed out. And apples falling to the ground time after time can fascinate. But is it a more recent development when man started asking what is fire? why do apples fall to the ground? Not just discovering things happening but asking 'why' things happen?
Interesting thought. Problem is we don't have many clues as no one wrote anything down. This is why our knowledge is dominated by signs that have some permenance, say death rituals eg burying grave goods for the afterlife, and other magical/ritual artefacts.
I suspect the why came with an understanding that some things work better than others, eg it is known that some types of stone are better for making tools and there is evidence that early man walked significant distances to collect them.
One key factor of the scientific method is experimentation and there are signs that they did that and selected the best based on the results.
Pity they didn't learn to write earlier, they could have told us what they were thinking.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #15 on: 23/10/2015 23:24:20 »
Sorry, my questions are a little more simple. Making fire is a great leap in man's development as pointed out. And apples falling to the ground time after time can fascinate. But is it a more recent development when man started asking what is fire? why do apples fall to the ground? Not just discovering things happening but asking 'why' things happen?

If you look at Genesis, although this theory of cosmology, geology and biology is by no means consistent with our modern understanding of science, it is nevertheless one of the first recorded attempts to explain the creation of the universe all the way to man. It was state of the art science in its day, 6000 year ago. It was more than just a modern projection of deep thought, since it has the original documentation. Science does not doubt the date of it's writing. It does not agree with the theory.

Darwin's theory of evolution did not contain any mention of genetics, but it is not discounted as being obsolete. It is celebrated as a cornerstone theory from which future thinking would build. That building lead to genetics. The same was true of  Genesis . It was build upon for thousands of years leading to sophisticated predictions from the night sky.

That aside, Genesis uses God as the one size fits all creator for all of creation. If we work under the assumption this was a projection of unconscious content (child sees the robot as alive), then it was something inside the ancient mind which was pointing out nature, adding an overlay to the base object seen by the ego. The fledgeling secondary would make note of these projections fro the primary center. This would be due to potential in the primary due to the secondary. If you go on a diet, the unconscious will make food stand out; temptation.

An important part of this unconscious awareness was the invention of language, in general, and writing in particular. Writing was invented about 6000 years ago, with the first science taking advantage of this new invention for the many needs of early civilization.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #16 on: 23/10/2015 23:53:27 »
In short, consciousness is something a computer has not got, and that you think other species don't waste time worrying about.

Or possibly it's the difference between autonomic and intentional action, except that we can design machines that work towards a goal without following a prior program, or monitor their own working, which contradicts the first statement. And we have no way of knowing what goes on in the brain of a dog (except that it has far more sensory input than ours) or a whale (except that it is a lot bigger than ours) or a gorilla (except that it is very similar to ours) or an octopus (which seems to have a sense of self; learning, tool use and problem-solving capacity; and almost no central brain at all).

You are not alone in failing to define consciousness - I haven't found anyone in this forum or elsewhere who has used the term with any selfconsistent idea of what he meant by it. I think it is a magic word that nonscientists utter to kid themselves that homo sapiens is in some way superior to all the other species, which  simply regard us as competitors, predators, vehicles, or food. 

But this is a bit of a digression from the question. I'd put Galileo forward as the earliest provable (i.e. recorded)  example of the essence of scientific thought: the reductio ad absurdam of Aristotle's gravitation. He simply asked "if a heavy stone falls faster than a light one, what happens if we tie  them together? Does the light one slow down the heavy one, or vice versa?" It's quite likely that homo erectus asked the same question, but se'll never know because the defining characteristic of homo sapiens is that we, alone of all species that have ever lived, make physical records of things that are too trivial to remember.

Are the computers you speak of considered conscious?

I will try not to divert this too much. One main difference between humans and machines is brain hardware. Neurons, at rest, are at highest potential. The neuron expends considerable energy; 90%, pumping and exchanging cations building a membrane potential. When neurons fire they lower this potential.

This is different from computer memory, which begins with memory at lowest potential. This is more stable and allows long term storage. Picture, if computer memory was designed to be in an excited state of high energy. This is not good for long term storage, since it will spontaneous change in an attempt to lower potential. This is the wild card behind consciousness.

When cations are pumped and exchanged at the neuron membrane, sodium ions accumulate on the outside and potassium ions accumulates inside. This implies that neuron memory is also adding an entropy potential to the energy potential, when at rest. The cations, left to their own devices would prefer blend and not be segregated. The entropy increase, required by the second law, promotes change.

After neurons fire, there are separated fluxes of sodium and potassium ions moving inside/outside axioms and dendrites. The entropy potential created by the neuron is metered over considerable distance. This means memory will change with time; increase entropy.
« Last Edit: 23/10/2015 23:55:56 by puppypower »
 

Online evan_au

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #17 on: 24/10/2015 01:47:34 »
Quote from: puppypower
If we all agree it was dark and the woods were thick, this is more scientific since all see the same thing
It seems that this definition of "scientific" has a hidden assumption that a scientist must be able to communicate about the physical world to another scientist.

This immediately rules out a Gorilla reproducing Galileo's result, because he failed to communicate his discovery about the physical world to other equally interested Gorillas (although in this case, one observant human did happen to agree on what the Gorilla saw).

Given that the density of scientists in human society is very low (and presumably, also in Gorilla, Octopus  or Whale society), this also presumes the existence of some form of writing and/or telecommunications infrastructure, or a school where people can travel from far away to join with others of similar interests (like Aristotle and Pythagoras). This is not something we generally encourage with the residents of our zoos & aquariums.

Quote
computers are not considered conscious
That's true of our home computers today, which are merely slaves to our bidding.

But people are working on "emotional" computers and robots that can sense their environment, and must operate in dangerous environments, and must protect their own safety. These might (one day) become conscious. (In the Terminator movies, when does Skynet become conscious?)

Quote
Life has unique hardware.
Turing showed that the same algorithmic result could be obtained by any kind of hardware.

Quote
memory... will spontaneous change in an attempt to lower potential. This is the wild card behind consciousness.

This suggests that consciousness is due to errors. By this definition, if you never made errors, you would not be conscious?

Why can't we have an algorithm that says "every so often, make an error"?
  • If you never made errors, you act like a computer (but not like any computer I have ever owned!)
  • If you make errors too often, you would be illogical, and unable to carry out any consistent course of action. This could be described as insane.
  • Presumably, somewhere there is a happy medium, where errors are at a tolerable level (or even an optimal level?) to function well in a given environment.
In reality, engineers are examining electronic circuits which do make errors, because our current technology uses too much energy. To ensure that the error rate is < 10-13 requires considerable current drain at the low voltages used in today's computers. A desktop CPU uses similar power to a human brain, but contains much less storage. This will also require development of a new class of "algorithms" which can usually produce an approximately  right answer in a reasonable length of time.
Quote
if we had two programs working the same computer, that don't agree, the tension will create compromises that may not be part of either logic base
You are describing the human brain (and probably many other species).
There is a hypothesis (similar to the one in the OP) where there is an automatic, subconscious brain, and a slower, more considered response.

In schools, we are taught many different ways to think about a problem. The challenge is to know which are the best approaches to a given problem.

However, many computer systems aiming at some form of "intelligent" behavior do actually contain many competing subsystems that will produce different answers. This includes Google searches, chess-playing programs, and computers that win at Jeopardy. No one subsystem will produce the "right" answer, or even the "best" answer in all cases, so to be successful, each subsystem should produce an indication of how confident it is in the answer, so the answers from different subsystems can be ranked.

The benefits of this approach is captured in the aphorisms "There is more than one way to skin a cat", and "Two heads are better than one"...
« Last Edit: 24/10/2015 10:53:44 by evan_au »
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #18 on: 24/10/2015 11:54:52 »
The two centers of human consciousness is the basis for many forms of therapy. Say a person is an alcoholic. The unconscious mind or primary is compelling them to drink with the same drive as an animal instinct. This compulsion can be beyond their will to stop, leading to problems.

The therapist will attempt to help them become self aware, meaning they will help them find a second POV from which can become objective to the compulsion. In AA they assume that all such people will always be a one drink away from addiction. The primary is assumed to remain and not become transformed into a new center. The person needs to maintain and fortify the secondary center through continued meetings for perpetual awareness.

In modern culture, the idea of two centers is not well known, because this awareness is often restricted to those who undergo therapy for compulsions and additions. If life is going fine, these two centers are allowed to merge and appear to be one center. This is true of the original addict who unknowingly helps feed his own blind compulsion. Once one becomes self aware (aware of the inner self), deeper people, like philosophers, often ask why do I do anything I do?

In terms of human evolution, the pre-humans, although they had human DNA, they only had a primary. They were like advanced animals in human bodies. The transition pre-humans had a primary plus a secondary, but these were merged. If all was going well or normal, without any unnatural obsessions, there is no need for self awareness to differentiate the secondary. The secondary child lived in the arms of mother nature. However, the impact of the secondary POV would allow a wild card, beyond instinct for some unique inventions to appear here, peridocally; fire.

What I call humans, in terms of the mind, had both a primary and secondary, with the secondary forming a self awareness to the compulsions of natural instincts. From this objective POV, that can see itself as separate from the addiction to nature, a new awareness of the environment could also appear, from which the first scientists would emerge; civilization.

A domestic dog has a virtual secondary induced by their owner. The owner will train them to behave in ways that can override the instinct of their primary. Don;t eat until I say eat! They are self aware, to some extent, because of the virtual secondary. However, they are not extrapolating this to beyond this programming. They don't ask why do I do anything I do.

The programming of the mass mind benefits by a merged primary and secondary. The trick is to train the secondary in ways that repress the primary, so extra energy appears; dammed up, that one is fooled into believing, reinforces the propaganda. This type of programming is not easy to do if people are self aware and have differentiated the two centers. Programming of the mass mind is very similar to a virtual secondary overlapping the true secondary.
« Last Edit: 24/10/2015 12:16:39 by puppypower »
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #19 on: 24/10/2015 12:42:36 »
This suggests that consciousness is due to errors. By this definition, if you never made errors, you would not be conscious?

Why can't we have an algorithm that says "every so often, make an error"?
If you never made errors, you act like a computer (but not like any computer I have ever owned!)
If you make errors too often, you would be illogical, and unable to carry out any consistent course of action. This could be described as insane.
Presumably, somewhere there is a happy medium, where errors are at a tolerable level (or even an optimal level?) to function well in a given environment.

The difference comes down to how the brain hardware is set up, and how this differs from computer hardware. Picture a fountain where water is being pumped to the top of the fountain. The water then cascades downward toward lower gravitational potential. The water can splash in random ways, as it falls, but it always reaches the bottom pool. This is the advantage of neurons starting out at higher potential than a background. Random has a sense of direction.   

Computer memory, besides starting at lower chemical potential; stability, is based on the movement of information and not chemical potential. This output from this type of hardware is not governed by the basic laws of chemical and physics, but manmade criteria where random has no sense of direction.

 

Online evan_au

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #20 on: 24/10/2015 23:06:26 »
Quote from: puppypower
although they had human DNA, they only had a primary
We do not have any fossilized psychological test results from earlier hominids. What is your scientific evidence for this claim?

However, we do have psychological test results from several species today that show that some do have a sense of self-awareness. The simplest test is often some form of mirror test, where they recognize themselves in a mirror as a different individual from those they see in real life or in the same mirror.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #21 on: 24/10/2015 23:37:29 »
Computer memory, besides starting at lower chemical potential; stability, is based on the movement of information and not chemical potential. This output from this type of hardware is not governed by the basic laws of chemical and physics, but manmade criteria where random has no sense of direction.
Electrical, magnetic, chemical, or holes punched in tape - the mechanism is surely immaterial. What matters is the ability to store and recall data. Animal brains (humans included) do have a content-addressable feature that is rarely used in machine memories, but some neural networks have similar learning behaviour to animals.

 
However, we do have psychological test results from several species today that show that some do have a sense of self-awareness.
I feel this reflects the vanity of psychologists rather than the obvious facts. Any creature that chooses to mate with another of the same species must have a profound self-awareness, and if it competes with others of the same sex for mating privileges, it's a remarkably sophisticated sense of self as being both similar and different to others.
 
Why can't we have an algorithm that says "every so often, make an error"?
No problem. Random noise multipliers are the simplest hardware for extracting square roots on the fly, and we often introduce "dither" to overcome stiction in mechanical servos. Dead reckoning navigation over long distances can lead to all sorts of problems at sea and in the air because you have no knowledge of the absolute wind drift, so no means of knowing your relationship to the target: Francis Chichester promulgated "deliberate error" navigation where you set your autopilot well to one side of the target, say south: then when you make landfall you know that the target is to the north. Ginsters introduced a randomiser into their Cornish pasty crimping machines to make the pasties look hand-made.

if I had a dream and I observed and carefully recorded all the details, since this is unique data that can't be reproduced in the lab by others, to prove what I claim, it violates the scientific method, even if real, accurate and honest.
Unrepeatability by others does not violate the scientific method. Observe, hypothesise, test your hypothesis. So you could recount your dream, hypothesise the cause (say too much cheese, or the anticipation of a sexual encounter) , and test your hypothesis by eating or not eating cheese, or whatever. If the inability of others to repeat a phenomenon was crucial, psychology would not be a science. I'm not too sure whether anyone could recreate the Big Bang, but astrophysics seems respectable.
« Last Edit: 24/10/2015 23:47:05 by alancalverd »
 

Online evan_au

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #22 on: 25/10/2015 03:13:23 »
Quote from: alancalverd
if it competes with others of the same sex for mating privileges, it's a remarkably sophisticated sense of self as being both similar and different to others.
There are certain species of birds that seem to go into a frenzy every spring, furiously pecking at car mirrors and reflective windows.

I interpret this as being males trying to frighten away a potential competitor inside "their" territory. They are blithely unaware that this is actually an image of themselves. So their sense of self does not extend to a reflection of self.

This is unlike several of my pet dogs, where upon first encountering a mirror they will react as if encountering an unknown dog, and try to sniff it. Being unable to proceed past the mirror, they will attempt to look behind the mirror. After a while they will recognize their own reflection, and will ignore it - but will still pay attention to other dogs (familiar or unfamiliar).

I interpret this as indicating that the dog came to recognize themselves in a mirror and took it no further. But a dog's primary sense is its nose, and a dog will pay considerable attention to urine markings from itself and from other dogs.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #23 on: 25/10/2015 12:14:33 »
Electrical, magnetic, chemical, or holes punched in tape - the mechanism is surely immaterial. What matters is the ability to store and recall data. Animal brains (humans included) do have a content-addressable feature that is rarely used in machine memories, but some neural networks have similar learning behaviour to animals.

One important difference between neural information and computer information is connected to the concept of entropy. With computer information, entropy is associated with information loss and randomness. But with neural memory, entropy is connected to chemistry, with chemical entropy being a state variable. What a state variable means is, entropy has a fixed value for any  state of matter. For example, the entropy of water is 6.6177 J mol-1 K-1 (25 C). This will be measured the same no matter who measures it. If we increase entropy, the state will change into a new state which is also a standard state.

What this means is when chemical entropy changes near neurons and synapses new states of matter will appear that reflect this value. The entropy is not rooted in randomness or loss, but is rooted in new states of matter defined by chemistry. Computer information is not the same as information that is intimately bound to the physical chemical states of matter. Computer information is more ethereal while neural information is governed by states of matter.

If you look at the secondary center that I described, what adding this to the brain did/does is add entropy to the primary; adds the capacity for change. The evolution of the secondary was a result of increasing brain entropy, the potential of which is put into affect as the neurons fire and lower potential. The ego is a state variable which can evolve or change state by increasing the entropy of the brain by choice; fires neurons.

I would theorize that increasing brain entropy, as reflected by advancing states, appears to be the direction of psychological evolution. This has a sense of direction because entropy is a state variable. If you assume entropy is only randomness and/or loss, one would conclude the second law means no sense of order.
« Last Edit: 25/10/2015 12:20:52 by puppypower »
 

Offline ETERNAL_LIFE_IS_BECKONING

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #24 on: 25/10/2015 12:22:26 »
Human evolution is a sham.  If the theory of evolution is true, it should offer a plausible explanation of how the first cell formed by chance.
 

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Re: When during human evolution did the first scientist appear?
« Reply #24 on: 25/10/2015 12:22:26 »

 

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