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Thread: Is Human Brain Function more developed since the Sumarians? ( clay tablet inscriptions? etc? ).

  1. #1 Is Human Brain Function more developed since the Sumarians? ( clay tablet inscriptions? etc? ). 
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    Has the Bench Mark been lowered? Where are the great Philosophers now? The Spartons, the City States of Ancient Greece? Helen of Troy, Achillies? Nostrodamas?Galilio? Ok. One Member reminded me not long ago that you have to compare apples with apples. The Roman Forum. The ancient builders, bringing water via aquaducts from the catchments to their Cities. We have Industry now. We have had the Industrial Revolution. Was this possible because of residual brainpower inherited from our Ancestors, who really had no call to dream up an Industrial Revelution.? OK. again-- why do we not see super efficient sea--craft from say Ancient Greece? The resources were available. Maybe the need, or concept, hadn't really occured to them. No need to spend their time out and about creating new Empires. No real vision or concept of the Future. Sufficient unto the day. And of course, no Mobile Phones or IPads to communicate new Technology to other centres of Human Societies. Isolation. So I pose the question again, could the people of 5000 years ago match the Modern Philosophers and Thinkers of today? westwind.


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  3. #2  
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    Remember, the great advantage that humans have over other animals is not our intelligence and capacity to learn. Plenty of animals have that intelligence.

    It's our ability to teach successive generations that makes us special.

    So we finish up in those great words able to "stand on the shoulders of giants."

    But we should also take note that it's easy for us to fail to teach. It says nothing about the intelligence of following generations and societies that we didn't have proper sewage, water transport, underfloor heating systems that had been successfully implemented in Mediterranean societies say 2000ish years ago. It says a lot about how our social systems, with their preferences, prejudices and blind spots, can let us down in applying the self-same intelligence to solve problems to which we've already been given the answer.

    The giants are always there. It's our choice whether we stand on those shoulders or blindly try to reinvent wheels (or underfloor heating) generation after generation. We now have better systems than the Roman hypocaust, but millions of Europeans shivered unnecessarily through centuries of bitter winters for failure to apply, teach, learn from or modify those lessons. Hypocaust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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  4. #3  
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    curious topic
    the hard wiring of our brain functions would seem to have not changed since the dawn of when our species began creating objects of art.
    unless
    you give credence to such things as the baldwin effect, or gregory bateson's "learning IV" or haddingtons work, etc.
    all of which suggest a constant mental change from generation to generation----------kinda out of the mainstream---but not thoroughly discounted nor disproven
    (and, about which, i remain ambivalent)

    do we still have the skillsets of our ancient ancestors?--------most likely not, but then again, they would be without the skills which we've developed since they roamed the earth

    my guess is that we are not significantly different than our forbears, as adelady said, we just stand on the shoulders of giants and have the ability to become giants ourselves
    (interesting sidebar---long ago i read that the passing on of wisdom from one generation to the next-following was enabled by menapause---=longer life after raising their offspring= time to share knowledge with the grandkids.greatgrandkids, etc.)

    any thoughts on the baldwin effect, or genetic learning, or.......theories of this nature?
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    If one person in a million is a super-genius, then we have 7,000 super-geniuses in the world today.

    In the time of ancient Sumeria, the entire world would have about 10.

    Guess which society grows and develops at the fastest rate? After all, New Scientist predicts a doubling of human knowledge in 40 years.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    If one person in a million is a super-genius, then we have 7,000 super-geniuses in the world today.

    In the time of ancient Sumeria, the entire world would have about 10.

    Guess which society grows and develops at the fastest rate? After all, New Scientist predicts a doubling of human knowledge in 40 years.

    For sceptic. Quote "" a doubling of human Knowledge in 40 years "" end Quote: Yes the accumulation of knowledge could very well double in 40 years. But our ability to devise new knowledge will probably be no better than it is today. Maybe there will be more stimulation, more toys to play with, easier to conceive new principles or new ideas. But stonger or more efficient brain power? I think not. Do we have to breed better brain power. More meat on the sheep, so to speak? Marry off the Intellectuals? Or the Philosophers? That could work in the sense of conceiving more avenues of Knowledge beyond what the average Joe would be bothered about. Do we need this acceleration of brain power? Why.? Are we in mortal danger? Are our problems of such a nature that we must hurry to solve all the Earth's problems? Or can we just potter along and wait to see what happens and try to deal with it then? westwind.
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  7. #6  
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    Regardless, the brain power will increase. Partly because the population will still grow a little more, and partly because a larger percentage of the human race will received higher education.

    Like a lot of things, there is no special deliberate reason for any of this. It will happen regardless. I, for one, see it as a good thing. More education and more technology will permit a better world, and a better life for everyone.
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  8. #7  
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    Dear sceptic. I'm still wondering about the Technology that has become available to all our young people. You know. Fingertip control over information and communication. Ipads, Ipods, etc: This generation being educated now have tools hardly conceivable when we were at school. Will this turn out to be progressivley beneficial, communal extrapulation of rapid fire facts available to every young person? The problem is, as you clearly pointed out, we can only expect a small percentage of this population to derive any meaningful benefit. It appears to me that improvement will happen, but it wont happen overnight. We really need a device that concentrates the mind. Not technology the spreads the immature brain power of Adolescent Children over a thousand different bags of boiled lollies. How many Elvis Preselys do we need? how many Dean Martins do we need? How many Babe Ruths do we need? Who brings on these new beneficial ideas for progress? westwind.
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  9. #8  
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    IMO new innovation in Information System (ie: facebook & open computer games) are brought on by young people (because they had that desire to create/invent stuff and is also proficient with the latest technology). Of course the core technology was brought in by veterans & experts in the field in the first place but once available to the masses it was tinkered with & played by young people. -In example: young people hack Kinect to do playfull virtual reality stuff, and made movies in youtube (even before the idea that making money in youtube became widespread), and develop & share open software in the internet.

    *But I didn't say young people can make a TV from scratch... I mean: not underestimate them much, but shouldn't expect too much either. They are just normal people with all this technology.
    Last edited by msafwan; June 18th, 2012 at 01:20 AM.
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  10. #9  
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    once available to the masses it was tinkered with & played by young people
    Grumpy old lady time.

    Ask any schoolteacher just how much 'skill' or 'knowledge' young users of such technology actually demonstrate. Not a lot is the standard grumpy answer.

    It's a bit like older technology, say cars. Just because you have available the latest, the best, the most sophisticated technology in your car, it doesn't make you a good driver. You don't even need to be a competent one. All you need is the keys.

    If you want to be a good driver, you have to work at it. Just like any other technology. Advanced technology actually removes the need to understand what you're working with. Look at a very old car. Anyone here know how to double declutch? The process of disengaging and reengaging gears has been progressively simplified - both to reduce the work/skill/strength needed to drive a car and to understand what's actually happening in its innards. Power assisted steering is a similar issue.

    As for the pitfalls of relying on technology to perform tasks when you don't understand what you're doing, here's a classic example. How BBC comedy Episodes inadvertently went viral in Israel | World news | The GuardianThese people fell for the oldest trick. Rather than using access to technology to do a task quicker and better, they used the technology instead of doing the task properly - at all.
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  11. #10  
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    Adelady

    I reveal my age by telling you I can double declutch.

    However, to Westwind.

    You asked the wrong question. Instead ask how many Albert Einsteins we need? How many Alan Turings? How many Stephen Hawkings? Short answer : as many as we can get!

    Humanity's progress is not determined by the efforts of ordinary people. It takes the special thrust of those whose minds are brilliant. It would not matter if we had a million Elvis's. But to lose one Roger Penrose is a tragedy.
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  12. #11  
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    I know a person who looks OK driving a car, but doesn't really appreciate the procedure & why. Doesn't make me happy....
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Humanity's progress is not determined by the efforts of ordinary people. It takes the special thrust of those whose minds are brilliant. It would not matter if we had a million Elvis's. But to lose one Roger Penrose is a tragedy.
    I find that odd. Who is Roger Penrose? (j/k). I'd put Elvis as equally as important and gifted in his own way. A lot of it has to do with how people use that talent and how the culture uses it. For example, other than perhaps King Leonidas who applied his genius at the battle of Thermopylae, we don't know of many popular Spartans. Only the other hand, the Athenians we know as for not only contributing to the study of reason and government but for the immense amount of art, stories, sculpture, architecture etc...in other works the work of Hellenic Elvis(s). I think the arts define a culture and its progress every bit as much as the sciences.


    (tries to remember the last time I double clutched)
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  14. #13  
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    Dear adelady, Lynx Fox, And sceptic. Is the declutch the same declutch I am thinking of? I remember having fitted an old Chevvy Six truck motor into a 1929 Capital Chev sedan type car. Great excitement with the double declutch to engage gears. Miss, and suffer the humiliation of gear crunching. Needless to say the truck motor chewed out the Differential transmission. Them's the brakes. Appreciate your postes on the developement and application of said brainpower. It provides me with information that helps me think a little more about the complexities of arrival at beneficial ideas, this is a form of Science application, you have to be prepared to discard lines of thought that obviously are unworkable, and start thinking again. Outside the square thinking sometimes throw up the best solutions to a problem, escpecially if its in the conceptual phase, and the ability to visualise in the minds eye the application of this idea. Do you think this method of problem solving will come out of the new IT? Young minds not being neutralized by game playing, texting communication? I'm inclined to think now that young brains may even benefit by the exrra stimulation? Could be true. westwind.
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  15. #14  
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    here in the us midwest, we called it double clutch
    god bless the guy who invented the synchromesh cones
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  16. #15  
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    Westwind

    There is some research that indicates that certain computer games lead to brain development that is constructive.

    There is other research that suggests that a lot of research on the internet likewise leads to constructive brain development.
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  17. #16  
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    And a lot of internet research leads to constrictive brain development.
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    For MeteorWayne. The Brain, or thought process, needs to be constantly fired up. A bit like a Steam Engine. More coal! more coal !! Pressures dropping. You could be construed to be reflecting in the direction of tunnel vision? Internet information is inputted. By, in most cases, qualified people. Once a definition is agreed upon by popular consent on the Internet it generally runs with it. Is this where you feel constrictive instruction is taking place.? There are sites where the Science is almost beyond doubt, Astronomy and Earth Sciences on a local Earth basis appear fairly settled. But yes, where a site leads you in a certain subject that could stop critical thinking and merely acceptance of what is before you, it could tend to dumb down the brain development. If repeated too often the left field thinking and imagination process necessary for new ideas might be neglected. So the Internet as a useful resource is OK. But only to help you construct your conceptual thinking when putting together a new idea. Bit long winded here, Please accept my inability to be more concise. westwind.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Humanity's progress is not determined by the efforts of ordinary people. It takes the special thrust of those whose minds are brilliant. It would not matter if we had a million Elvis's. But to lose one Roger Penrose is a tragedy.
    I find that odd. Who is Roger Penrose? (j/k). I'd put Elvis as equally as important and gifted in his own way. A lot of it has to do with how people use that talent and how the culture uses it. For example, other than perhaps King Leonidas who applied his genius at the battle of Thermopylae, we don't know of many popular Spartans. Only the other hand, the Athenians we know as for not only contributing to the study of reason and government but for the immense amount of art, stories, sculpture, architecture etc...in other works the work of Hellenic Elvis(s). I think the arts define a culture and its progress every bit as much as the sciences.


    (tries to remember the last time I double clutched)
    A fine example would be Homer, who is considered in some respects to have all-but-given Greece writing. By all accounts very likely blind himself, but his works, the Iliad and the Odyssey were so popular it motivated writers to write them down, and people to read. Almost like the effect the Harry Potter series has been claimed to have on childhood literacy rates in the modern world.

    Homer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediavv
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  20. #19  
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    Have you read Homer?

    I have. Admittedly an English translation. But a more boring writer would be hard to imagine. His writing style is horrible!
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    And a lot of internet research leads to constrictive brain development.
    How so?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    And a lot of internet research leads to constrictive brain development.
    How so?
    I think its because we don't need to think hard anymore to remember stuff. Internet search allow us to be more productive with less work. So when our brain not used it supposed to shrink to save energy cost (so we can work 24 hour now (joke)).

    *Based on comparison with early human skull, our skull is smaller (suggesting that our brain is smaller). So the explaination was: it might be that because we use less brain due to the conditioning of living in as a society, OR might be because our body is smaller so we need less brain matter to control it.- Despite this sad thing (brain is small) our civilization is much greater
    Last edited by msafwan; June 19th, 2012 at 06:28 PM.
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  23. #22  
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    The modern human brain is not smaller. Admittedly, some references will deny this. The problem is that human cranium size is highly variable, and the early human skulls are in small supply. Several have been found with a large cranium, though not larger than modern humans at the higher end of the normal distribution curve. The most reasonable interpretation of these results is simply that a few old skulls found happened, through chance, to be from the higher end of the spectrum.

    Sadly, people who like to jump to unwarranted conclusions (including some scientists) will jump to the conclusion that ancient man had a bigger brain.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    ... some scientists) will jump to the conclusion that ancient man had a bigger brain.
    That surely is the prevailing conclusion-, both for heidelbergensis and neanderthalensis. And i don't (won't) disput it. The trick is: Size doesn't matter (double entendre intended). The thing is: how (and if) you use it.
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    The ancient larger skulls were presereved by evading threats, simply, they were smarter and lived longer. The smaller skulled participants were all eaten, hence, no remains. LOL. Mark L
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