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Thread: Is chance production part of the mind functions?

  1. #1 Is chance production part of the mind functions? 
    Forum Sophomore Le Repteux's Avatar
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    Hi everybody,

    Chance is a funny phenomenon, sometimes it is welcome, sometimes it hurts, but we all like to play with it, we all like to take chances in case it would favor us. To take a chance means to do something without knowing in advance how it will turn out, to do something new, that we were not accustomed to, for which we had no information in our mind. It is related to creativity, to risk, to inventing, to improvising. It is thus part of every decision we take, of every move we make, because we have to face the unpredictable moves that our environment produces, but also because we have to produce some improvisation to face them.

    I like to compare the kind of improvisation that we produce to the one nature produces in the case of species' evolution: it takes mutations for the species to overcome a change in their environment, and I think that it takes the same type of chance for us to overcome a change in our own intellectual environment, a chance that is inherent to the functioning of our mind, a kind of mutation that happens in our ideas, and which is selected the same way a mutation is, by confronting our ideas to our intellectual environment.

    What does my intellectual environment think of that mutation?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    You appear to be using at least three different definitions of chance within your post. That obscures, for me, any meaning that may be present in it.


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    I am with John on this.
    Please define what you mean by "chance".

    As far as I can figure out, chance is always a 50/50 proposition.
    Either something happens, or it doesn't.
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    Chance has effectively many definitions, but the chance that I am talking about concerns an event that we cannot predict, like a mutation for example, that can be favorable or not depending on the circumstances, like any other accidental event. What I suggest is that our new ideas happen partly by chance and face their changing environment the same way a mutation does: by natural selection. But the main question is: how can our brain produce chance?
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    The proper term for "chance" in mathematics is "probability". "Stochastic" is a Greek word which is also sometimes used to refer to probability. There are many probabilistic models in science, a common example is radioactive decay.

    Thinking about neuroscience leads me to crazy ideas like, "How about a giant brain collider?" Personally I suspect that science knows more about the large scale structure of the universe than it knows about the human brain.

    The evolution of "ideas" is explored in the idea of the "meme";Meme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Here is a series of Stanford lectures on "Biology and Human Behavior";https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnI...8F2368C90DDC3D
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    There are multiple cognitive ways we produce chance. People typically rely on how easily they can think of examples, to determine the likelihood of something happening. For instance, you can easily remember stories about people being attacked by sharks, therefore you estimate it to be likely. Key condition however is the ease with which you can think of examples, not how many examples you can think of. And then there's the straight statistical calculations for figuring out chance. However, how does the brain produce chance? I have no idea. Though it stands to reason that it's produced by the brain, as cognition that we've investigated so far all shows up in the brain somewhere, and we have no reason to think it originates anywhere else.
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    Forum Sophomore Le Repteux's Avatar
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    Hi Curiosity,

    It is true that you are a curiosity: you are the first to "naturally select" my proposition in five years on many forums. Cheers!

    Most people think that chance cannot be part of our brain, either because they think that the brain is deterministic, or because they do not have this impression when they take their decisions. On the contrary, I find it interesting to think that our mind uses chance to produce new ideas, because discovering or inventing new things is an important function of intelligence, and because it may thus help us to understand how the brain works. In fact, I have my own theory about the brain, but I prefer to wait till more people react to my proposition before revealing it.


    Hi GiantEvil,

    Memes are close to my proposition since they concern ideas being selected by the society the same way mutations are, but it does not include that our brain produces chance, so it does not help us to understand it. It is true that we do not know much about the brain, we don't even know yet how memory works. As I said, I have my own ideas about it, and I will talk about them later.

    PS.
    Anybody knows why I always get this message after a while, "Your submission could not be processed because the token has expired. Please reload the window.", and why it does not work when I reload the window? I have to get back to choosing this same topic and open it in a new window.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 12th, 2014 at 01:50 PM.
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    The brain need not be probabilistic to calculate probability. The ability to mathematically and intuitively calculate probability is vastly different from asking the question of what principle governs brain activity, determinism or probability.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Sophomore Le Repteux's Avatar
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    So you don't really believe that our brain can produce chance, do you? Too bad, you would have been the second one in the whole world.

    Seriously, what do you think of my proposition? What do you think of my analogy between mind evolution and species evolution? Do you think that mind is deterministic, like everybody?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    I am with John on this.
    Please define what you mean by "chance".

    As far as I can figure out, chance is always a 50/50 proposition.
    Either something happens, or it doesn't.
    Any one going up against a wolrd champion in any kind of sports that has never been trained in that disciplin doesn't have a 50/50 chance.

    Under tipped comptetors might have a different set of chance.

    Then resorting to pseudo science some people are born more lucky than others.
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    More lucky in certain circumstances, less lucky in other circumstances: luck is a relative phenomenon, nobody can tell how it will turn out.
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    My view on whether the mind is strictly deterministic is a bit complicated. In a book titled The Neural Basis of Free Will it mentions how data suggests that random fluctuations are amplified into randomness in spike timing, which allow given criteria to be met in a nondeterministic manner. The reason for this is because the randomness can lead to changes in criteria that are self selected by the neurons. So, were this proven, it would suggest that while the brain operates according to deterministic laws, there is also the role of randomness that changes criteria for firing, which impacts upon future action potentials. However, I still need to thoroughly investigate the sources he has cited, so it's not solid yet.
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    This is what I meant too, so I was right to think that you understood what I meant by "mind producing chance". Now, if by chance this is true, doesn't it mean that intellectual evolution of a new idea in our mind works the same way evolution of species does: by mutation and selection from the environment? In any case, if mind really works like that, it is quite far from what we though up to now, isn't it?
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 14th, 2014 at 11:00 AM.
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    No.
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    Interesting. I was not prepared to a null resistance. Lets try my luck then. What if I proposed that information is contained in the brain waves that we observe? What if I proposed that the persistence of memory is due to that wave going back and forth in the brain endlessly, if its dampening with time as any other wave explained the imprecision gain of memory with time, if its manipulation as a wave explained the manipulation we can make on our ideas, like reflecting them, concentrating them, interfering them, and so on? Would it create more resistance?
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    I wouldn't say it works by mutation and selection from the environment, no. I would simply say that chance, or randomness, contributes in some way to the deterministic mechanisms by which the brain operates.
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  18. #17  
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    Good, we are dancing on the same music anyway, so lets see if we can make a step sideways.

    To me, chance in our mind is about the future, about what is going to happen to us. When we take a chance, we cannot measure exactly what is going to happen to us. If what we already had in mind when we take a chance was completely deterministic, we would know about the future and it would not be risky, but we don't, and sometimes we hurt ourselves because it does not work as well as we thought it would. When we take a chance, we always think it will work, otherwise we would not. What we then do is try something in case it will work, because we happen to learn, or is it innate, that taking chances is worth the risk. Why is it so? Are animals taking risks consciously like we do? Isn't risk taking one of the properties of intelligence? Of learning? And if so, can we imagine more precisely how it works?
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    I have no idea what you're talking about. I suppose the majority of time when we consider chance, we're considering possibilities of future events. When we take a chance, it could be the case that we'd know an estimate of the likelihood of consequences, just ask a poker player. Even if everything about our brain was deterministic, it doesn't follow that we would necessarily know the exact outcome of a future event. I disagree with your assertion that we 'always' think a gambit will work, you can simply objectively say 'My odds of success are over 50%, therefore, should this be repeated, I would win more than lose'. Except that long-term trends do not accurately predict individual cases.
    Sometimes taking a very risky chance for reasons of survival offers better odds, and the decision making process is simply 'I have no chance here, but I do have a slim chance of survival if I jump from this cliff.' Trying something can be either learned or innate, depending on the situation in question.
    I have no idea about the conscious capabilities of animals nor their decision making process on areas of outcomes that are not simply cause effect. Risk taking can be a property of simple judgement, in that if you can easily remember lots of times where taking a risk didn't pay off, you're less likely to do so in the future.
    Last edited by Curiosity; September 16th, 2014 at 12:01 AM.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    I have no idea what you're talking about. I suppose the majority of time when we consider chance, we're considering possibilities of future events. When we take a chance, it could be the case that we'd know an estimate of the likelihood of consequences, just ask a poker player. Even if everything about our brain was deterministic, it doesn't follow that we would necessarily know the exact outcome of a future event.
    If everything was deterministic, I think that there would simply be no change in our lives. If only our brain was deterministic and not our environment, we could not face its changes. If only the environment was deterministic and not our brain, our brain would have no use. I think that our brain serves to face the changes in our environment faster than the other animals can do, but to face an unpredictable phenomenon is not to know its outcome, it is to take chances in case we are lucky.

    I disagree with your assertion that we 'always' think a gambit will work, you can simply objectively say 'My odds of success are over 50%, therefore, should this be repeated, I would win more than lose'.
    It is the response to the gambit that I was talking about, the sensitive response. Here is how I think that we learn: we attribute a certain feeling to a new gesture before executing it, and if this anticipated feeling coincides to the one of the real gesture, we will repeat it, thus learning it after a while, because it will have been accepted as an automatism by the conscious part of the brain, which means that we will not have to think about that particular gesture while executing it until the real feeling changes. This means that all our automatisms would be accompanied by the particular feeling that has served to learn them, an unconscious feeling that is always compared to the unconscious feeling that we have when we execute any automatism.

    Except that long-term trends do not accurately predict individual cases.
    Exact! Even if we think it will work, time makes our predictions obsolete when trying to predict the long term, because we can only estimate the evolution of our environment for a short period of time.

    I have no idea about the conscious capabilities of animals nor their decision making process on areas of outcomes that are not simply cause effect. Risk taking can be a property of simple judgment, in that if you can easily remember lots of times where taking a risk didn't pay off, you're less likely to do so in the future.
    Memory is indeed important in learning, but I think that the capacity to use chance to anticipate events is even more important. We take much more risks than animals, don't you think?
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    How does determinism preclude change? Does it stop you from swinging a golf club to hit a ball and thereby change the position of that ball? If it was merely our brain that was deterministic, it doesn't have magical powers to stop natural disasters happening, we still have to face changes in the environment. If the environment was deterministic (which by all indications, the macro world is deterministic) and not our brain, our brain would have no use in what sense? It's still integrating sensory information into a subjective mental representation of the world and allows you better chances of survival due to your ability to remember past events and simulate future occurrences (among other things).

    Learning doesn't take the form of having anticipated feelings about 'gestures' whatever you mean by that word. Learning is typically accomplished through repeated associations between things (classical conditioning) or the association of something with a consequence (operation conditioning). I recommend you go to your local library and see if they have a cognitive psychology book, and I guarantee you it will have an entire chapter dedicated to the concept of learning.

    The ability to predict long term trends depends upon what you're predicting. We can only estimate things in our environment for a short period of time if for instance, they are a chaotic system, like weather for instance (NOT CLIMATE). We can predict that the Sun will end all life on Earth in 2.8 billion years. In the cosmic scale, that's not much time, on human timescale, that's hardly estimating for a short period of time.

    As I've said previously, the capacity to use chance is not widely practised as raw mathematical calculations, it's typically simplified to a likelihood estimation by a person which is largely influenced by MEMORY. You can learn more about how we make judgements by reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, cognitive psychologist and nobel prize winner in economics. Or, you could simply look up prospect theory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Interesting. I was not prepared to a null resistance. Lets try my luck then. What if I proposed that information is contained in the brain waves that we observe? What if I proposed that the persistence of memory is due to that wave going back and forth in the brain endlessly, if its dampening with time as any other wave explained the imprecision gain of memory with time, if its manipulation as a wave explained the manipulation we can make on our ideas, like reflecting them, concentrating them, interfering them, and so on? Would it create more resistance?
    If you proposed that I would take it as further evidence that you enjoy indulging in fanciful speculation based upon misinterpreting a scattering of popular science books, TV documentaries, and misunderstood research papers.
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    Resistance! I feel something now!

    We were discussing about chance being produced by mind, and you answered "no" to say that it was not far from what we already think, but now that you have to disagree with a crank, have you changed your mind?
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Resistance! I feel something now!

    We were discussing about chance being produced by mind, and you answered "no" to say that it was not far from what we already think, but now that you have to disagree with a crank, have you changed your mind?
    Let's lay out my no answer in detail. (Your questions in blue.)

    This is what I meant too, so I was right to think that you understood what I meant by "mind producing chance".
    Your definitions are lacking, your descriptions scanty to the point where they are ambiguous in most respects. You may have a really interesting idea, but because you are expressing it in a very imprecise manner, I find it impossible to tell. It comes across as fluffy nonsense.

    Now, if by chance this is true, doesn't it mean that intellectual evolution of a new idea in our mind works the same way evolution of species does: by mutation and selection from the environment?
    I see no reason why this should be the case. That may be because it is not, or because your explanation is currently inadequate.

    In any case, if mind really works like that, it is quite far from what we though up to now, isn't it?

    Since, you have failed to clearly explain either how you think our mind works, or what you think is the established view, then I can only answer No.
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    Yeh.. gonna have to say the majority of it doesn't refer to the established view, and the points he does raise are not only illogical, but without evidence. I still don't get what he means by the mind producing chance. All I've said so far, is that it would appear that the brain is partly influenced by non-deterministic events. Maybe this should be moved to the trash can.
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  26. #25  
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    I suspect that there is something in there, his thesis, but it is very poorly explained and may simply turn out to be either wholly wrong, or a statement of the bloody obvious. I'm willing to give it some more time for Le Repeteux to do a better job of explaining his idea. Keep in mind, despite his fluency, he is working in a foreign language and that may be contributing to the ambiguity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    How does determinism preclude change?
    It does if change concerns what we cannot predict, which is the definition that I prefer. If you can predict an event, it is only because what leads to it is deterministic, which means that it has repeated itself for a long time. The changes in our societies are unpredictable, neither are they in the species, because these two phenomenon are evolving, which means for the species that there are unpredictable mutations that interfere with an unpredictable environment. What I suggest is that such mutations must be produced in our brains for our societies to be able to evolve. The difference with species is that their evolution does not influence the frequency of the mutations that their members suffer, whereas an evolving society necessarily does if ideas from its members interfere more frequently, or if more new ideas can be expressed, which is why I think that our present social evolution is accelerating.

    If it was merely our brain that was deterministic, it doesn't have magical powers to stop natural disasters happening, we still have to face changes in the environment.
    Yes we would have, but as I suggest, we could not if there was no mutations in our mind, intellectual mutations I mean, like intuition for instance. Facing an unknown problem, our mind cannot use known solutions, it has to change something in them, and it has to use chance to do this.

    If the environment was deterministic (which by all indications, the macro world is deterministic) and not our brain, our brain would have no use in what sense?
    In the sense that our intuitions, good or bad, would serve nothing, because we would have to face no unpredictable change.

    It's still integrating sensory information into a subjective mental representation of the world and allows you better chances of survival due to your ability to remember past events and simulate future occurrences (among other things).
    Yes, but without having to face chance, all our mind properties would be useless, and they would not have had any reason to develop.

    Learning doesn't take the form of having anticipated feelings about 'gestures' whatever you mean by that word. Learning is typically accomplished through repeated associations between things (classical conditioning) or the association of something with a consequence (operation conditioning).
    Yes I know, but I am talking about a more precise definition of learning, which is about the future, a future action that we never tried, or a future way of doing something presently unknown for us. We can learn what the others already know by repeating what they show us, and we can be forced to do so or not, but what exactly happens when we try something new for us? What do we do if it hurts, do we expect that it will hurt to learn to drive a bicycle or do we expect to succeed? What do we do if it hurts the very first time that we try? Do we repeat the same way or do we change something. And if we change something, do we expect success or not. I think that when we do something, we always expect success, otherwise we freeze if we are forced to or we do something else if we are free to do so. When we do something new, we have to expect success, otherwise we execute automatisms that compare unconsciously what we really feel to what we felt when learning this particular automatism. To learn something is to acquire an automatism.

    The ability to predict long term trends depends upon what you're predicting. We can only estimate things in our environment for a short period of time if for instance, they are a chaotic system, like weather for instance (NOT CLIMATE).
    What about mind or society evolution, is it predictable or chaotic?

    As I've said previously, the capacity to use chance is not widely practiced as raw mathematical calculations, it's typically simplified to a likelihood estimation by a person which is largely influenced by MEMORY.
    Memory is important to predict what is predictable, as for the orbital trajectories for instance, but to me, the only way to cope with the unpredictable is to use chance, and I think that the brain uses the one it produces to change its automatisms in case they would not hurt, because when they do not, it does not have to bother about them. How our mind can produce chance to change a complex automatism made of billions of neurons pulses is the following question.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 17th, 2014 at 01:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Maybe this should be moved to the trash can.
    Treason! I though we agreed on the principal, which is that mind is unpredictable? You know what? I predicted that moment, because facing a change, only resistance is predictable. Lets see what happens if I go on pushing on the cork! Want some wine, its coming!
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 17th, 2014 at 12:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Let's lay out my no answer in detail. (Your questions in blue.)
    This is what I meant too, so I was right to think that you understood what I meant by "mind producing chance".
    Your definitions are lacking, your descriptions scanty to the point where they are ambiguous in most respects. You may have a really interesting idea, but because you are expressing it in a very imprecise manner, I find it impossible to tell. It comes across as fluffy nonsense.
    It is only the beginning, wait till you get used to me. Imagine Einstein explaining his ideas on relativity to somebody else for the first time, would he be understood immediately? I don't think so. For a new idea to be studied, it has to be accepted first as a possibility, which has never been the case for any new idea.

    Now, if by chance this is true, doesn't it mean that intellectual evolution of a new idea in our mind works the same way evolution of species does: by mutation and selection from the environment?
    I see no reason why this should be the case. That may be because it is not, or because your explanation is currently inadequate.
    My analogy is straightforward, it contains no contradiction, this is why I believe that it works: facing the unpredictable, if one has to survive, one has to be lucky. If, for instance, a new idea like mine has to survive, it has necessarily to be lucky. Or its a mutation which is going to be selected by the scientific community, or it is a mutation that will be useless, all depends on the circumstances. If it is true, and if it falls at the right place and at the right moment, it has good chances to be selected, and if it does not fall at the right place, it has nevertheless good chances to be rejected. If it is not true, even if it is selected to be studied, it has no chance to survive for a long time.

    In any case, if mind really works like that, it is quite far from what we though up to now, isn't it?
    Since, you have failed to clearly explain either how you think our mind works, or what you think is the established view, then I can only answer No.
    Then your "no" was unclear, and I misinterpreted it. I should have been more skeptic, I should have opted for the resistance part of a "no". Mind is a complicated system, and my idea is about mind, so there are numerous different precisions to make and to be understood before a global picture comes out. I suggest that our automatisms are kept alive in our mind the same way a wave keeps its information alive, in other words, I suggest that our memory would be made of the brain waves that we observe, which means that these waves would have to move endlessly back and forth in our brain, and that when we think, we manipulate them the same way we manipulate sound or EM waves: with the proper instruments. What if human brain had developed instruments to manipulate the waves that all the other animals already produce when they move.
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    Forget about answering me John if you are only awaiting to close the subject as you are threatening to do with my other subject on mass.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 17th, 2014 at 04:48 PM.
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    I have a life outside the forum. I shall reply when your turn comes to the top of my list.
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    My analogy is straightforward, it contains no contradiction, this is why I believe that it works: facing the unpredictable, if one has to survive, one has to be lucky. If, for instance, a new idea like mine has to survive, it has necessarily to be lucky. Or its a mutation which is going to be selected by the scientific community, or it is a mutation that will be useless, all depends on the circumstances. If it is true, and if it falls at the right place and at the right moment, it has good chances to be selected, and if it does not fall at the right place, it has nevertheless good chances to be rejected. If it is not true, even if it is selected to be studied, it has no chance to survive for a long time.
    If all you are doing is talking about memes, why didn't you say so? If you are talking about something other than memes then the above is irrelevant.
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    Dawkins' memes concern social evolution, they do not develop in the mind and they thus do not concern its evolution. What I propose is that social evolution depends on every individual being able to change its own automatisms first in its own mind. Our automatisms are made to work alone, they are not made to change easily, they stay the same until their milieu changes, exactly as the species do. A specie is not made to change either, but it has to if it has to survive a change in its milieu, and the only explanation we found up to date for these changes to be able to happen was mutations, which are always present, and which are sometimes useful if they happen at the right place on an individual and at the right moment on its milieu. Without the discovery of ADN, we would not know about mutations and the whole Theory of Evolution would not be so strong. Since our ideas are not made to change either while changing nevertheless, why not imagine our mind as a milieu in evolution?
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    Please prove that our ideas are not meant to change. A species is not 'made' to change? Well, given that species aren't made with conscious intent in the first place, you can't really say that a species has a purpose or a 'not meant to do this'.
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    Before Darwin, there was no logical way of explaining the different species. People thought that they were created at the same time, and did not change since then. Darwin introduced the idea of natural selection to explain the different species, which led to the idea that they would not have to change if their milieu was absolutely stable. Of course, there is no such milieu, and the species interact also between them which changes automatically their milieu, but the concept has nevertheless been accepted by the scientific community. What would happen to the species if there was suddenly no more mutations? They would stay the same and probably decline slowly because of a lack of diversity, because it leads to reproduction of biological defects. If evolution of our ideas work the same as evolution of species, no mutations in them would also lead to reproducing bad ones. In one sense, our ideas are not meant to change if there is no intent behind them, as for species, but they have to if their milieu is in evolution, which is what we observe. Of course, we observe that we have intents, but if these intents come from our mind being able to produce mutations in our ideas without us being conscious of that, and thus not being able to stop that, what we think of our supernatural consciousness might change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Before Darwin, there was no logical way of explaining the different species.
    Incorrect. Several people, including Darwin's father, had offered logical ways of explaining different species. It just turned out they were incorrect, or incomplete with their ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    People thought that they were created at the same time, and did not change since then.
    Incorrect. Most people thought that, but there was a growing awareness among a significant proportion of the intelligentsia that species did change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Darwin introduced the idea of natural selection to explain the different species, which led to the idea that they would not have to change if their milieu was absolutely stable.
    Incorrect. In a stable milieu natural selection can still take place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Of course, there is no such milieu, and the species interact also between them which changes automatically their milieu, but the concept has nevertheless been accepted by the scientific community.
    Incorrect. Biologists are well aware that other species and other members of the same species are all part of their environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    What would happen to the species if there was suddenly no more mutations? They would stay the same and probably decline slowly because of a lack of diversity, because it leads to reproduction of tares.
    Finally, a seemingly correct statement. (Though I have no idea what tares are.)

    Given the misunderstanding you have of evolutionary theory, is it wise to be misapplying it to your own ideas?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Before Darwin, there was no logical way of explaining the different species.
    Incorrect. Several people, including Darwin's father, had offered logical ways of explaining different species. It just turned out they were incorrect, or incomplete with their ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    People thought that they were created at the same time, and did not change since then.
    Incorrect. Most people thought that, but there was a growing awareness among a significant proportion of the intelligentsia that species did change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Darwin introduced the idea of natural selection to explain the different species, which led to the idea that they would not have to change if their milieu was absolutely stable.
    Incorrect. In a stable milieu natural selection can still take place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Of course, there is no such milieu, and the species interact also between them which changes automatically their milieu, but the concept has nevertheless been accepted by the scientific community.
    Incorrect. Biologists are well aware that other species and other members of the same species are all part of their environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    What would happen to the species if there was suddenly no more mutations? They would stay the same and probably decline slowly because of a lack of diversity, because it leads to reproduction of tares.
    Finally, a seemingly correct statement. (Though I have no idea what tares are.)

    Given the misunderstanding you have of evolutionary theory, is it wise to be misapplying it to your own ideas?
    Le Repteux would only have been right had he been exposed to a very strong Creationist background. A narrowed view of the situation.
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    Thank you for the precisions John, but not making them did not mean that I did not know about them. Increasing the precision of what I said does not change its fundamental meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    What would happen to the species if there was suddenly no more mutations? They would stay the same and probably decline slowly because of a lack of diversity, because it leads to reproduction of tares.
    Finally, a seemingly correct statement. (Though I have no idea what tares are.)
    Sorry, its the french word for biological defect. I read the wrong line in the translation dictionary, which was about a reference weight. I corrected it.

    Given the misunderstanding you have of evolutionary theory, is it wise to be misapplying it to your own ideas?
    You jump to the conclusion too fast John, considering that it hurts my ego a little, from my point of view, you do what you reproach Howard to do. There is nothing that you said that I did not know, but I prefer to be succinct and concise. On the other hand, if, like Howard, you are looking for acarids around the words with a microscope, I am afraid that you will find plenty.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 19th, 2014 at 02:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Given the misunderstanding you have of evolutionary theory, is it wise to be misapplying it to your own ideas?
    Le Repteux would only have been right had he been exposed to a very strong Creationist background. A narrowed view of the situation.
    Don't get misdirected Rob, John is like Howard: as you can see, he is not interested in the idea, unfortunately, he is only interested in showing that I am a crank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Given the misunderstanding you have of evolutionary theory, is it wise to be misapplying it to your own ideas?
    Le Repteux would only have been right had he been exposed to a very strong Creationist background. A narrowed view of the situation.
    Don't get misdirected Rob, John is like Howard: as you can see, he is not interested in the idea, unfortunately, he is only interested in showing that I am a crank.
    Take every criticism and learn from it. I think you can improve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Take every criticism and learn from it. I think you can improve.
    Being told that you don't know about something when you do doesn't help you to learn a lot, except maybe that I should never tell somebody such a thing even if I know that I am right.
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    In science, nothing is ever proved. Stop telling everyone you're right and prove it.
    I can never know I'm right, but I can know that I'm wrong.
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    Okay, ideas do not undergo 'mutation' though they can certainly change given new evidence, and over time, bad ideas may be gotten rid of (depending on the person and their system of judging the quality of ideas). For the concept of ideas, what is the purpose of them? To generate mental representations of the world to aid in survival. In a way, that does necessitate the ability to change.

    *sigh* and what the hell are you talking about when you said 'supernatural consciousness'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Take every criticism and learn from it. I think you can improve.
    Being told that you don't know about something when you do doesn't help you to learn a lot, except maybe that I should never tell somebody such a thing even if I know that I am right.
    Well do your best then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    In science, nothing is ever proved. Stop telling everyone you're right and prove it.
    I never told anybody that I was right, because I don't know if I am, thus, I am not here to prove it, but to discuss it. I am just presenting a new idea of mine, and I hope that people will like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Okay, ideas do not undergo 'mutation' though they can certainly change given new evidence, and over time, bad ideas may be gotten rid of (depending on the person and their system of judging the quality of ideas). For the concept of ideas, what is the purpose of them? To generate mental representations of the world to aid in survival. In a way, that does necessitate the ability to change.
    If changing is due to chance, the ability to change is only the pleasure to take a risk. Some like it a lot, some don't, but everybody does it in its own domain of competence and at its own pace, because experience rapidly tells you that if you are not careful enough, it is going to hurt.

    *sigh* and what the hell are you talking about when you said 'supernatural consciousness'?
    Humanity has always thought that its consciousness was due to God, and even if God is loosing ground, even for atheists, consciousness is still considered as something out of the common, some atheists still think that it is not part of the brain, but what if it was not mysterious, what if it was much more simple than what we thought?
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    If definitions are lacking, then let's start refining them, Le Repteux.

    Do you mean that the brain rolls virtual dice sometimes when making a decision? It probably does sometimes. Nearly all computer video game AI's roll dice in their decision making process. There's no reason the human brain shouldn't be able to do that also.

    Of course, even if there were no internal mechanism for it, there are plenty of external ways available. You could take a measurement of any number of internal bodily processes that normally are handled by your subconscious. Or you could look at the weather. Or if you're desperate you could resort to actually flipping a physical coin.

    But flipping coins usually isn't considered a very good way to make choices now, is it?


    If you mean that the brain accumulates data over time, and uses it to predict the likelihood of a given outcome occurring, then that is almost certainly the case. The most successful sports people and soldiers and ... etc.... tend to be the ones who are the best at taking a "calculated risk", or a risk that has a low probability of ending up badly (but non zero probability of ending up badly.)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Hi Kojax, welcome aboard!

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    If definitions are lacking, then let's start refining them, Le Repteux. Do you mean that the brain rolls virtual dice sometimes when making a decision?
    Exactly, but I also mean that it is an unconscious phenomenon. I compare that kind of choices to the way we make our choices when voting. The decision that a community takes by voting is uncertain, because it depends on the degree of uncertainty of every individual. In the same way, the decisions that our brain takes would depend on the uncertainty of each of the neurons involved, and in this case, the uncertainty is related to the precision of their pulses. The more the imprecision, the more the decision will be risky. Some individuals would thus take more risks because they would have less precise neurons than others. If an idea happens to change in our minds, it could be because our mind is not perfect, because it has defects, and because these imprecisions open the door to chance.

    It probably does sometimes. Nearly all computer video game AI's roll dice in their decision making process. There's no reason the human brain shouldn't be able to do that also.
    That's also my opinion.

    Of course, even if there were no internal mechanism for it, there are plenty of external ways available. You could take a measurement of any number of internal bodily processes that normally are handled by your subconscious. Or you could look at the weather. Or if you're desperate you could resort to actually flipping a physical coin.
    It is not the same process, I am talking of an unconscious phenomenon, and tossing a coin is a conscious one.

    But flipping coins usually isn't considered a very good way to make choices now, is it?
    No, but when we analyze some of our past, we realize that we could easily have tossed a coin and be more lucky than we have been.

    If you mean that the brain accumulates data over time, and uses it to predict the likelihood of a given outcome occurring, then that is almost certainly the case.
    No, I am not talking of a logical process, but an imaginative one. When we test our new ideas in the reality of our milieu, there is always a chance that they will not work, which means that they will hurt, and it is not because a lack of logic, but because of the pleasure we have when we take a risk, when we anticipate the future. Such a risky pleasure is certainly not there for nothing, and I think that it serves us to learn: anticipating a success invites us to take chances, and if we do not overstep our capacity, we can always change our mind if it does not work, but when it works, we can learn faster than if we did not take chances.

    The most successful sports people and soldiers and ... etc.... tend to be the ones who are the best at taking a "calculated risk", or a risk that has a low probability of ending up badly (but non zero probability of ending up badly.)
    Again, I am not talking of our capacity to take a conscious risk, but of an unconscious way of producing chance in the brain, like the way our intuitions suddenly get out of nowhere.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 20th, 2014 at 01:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Chance has effectively many definitions, but the chance that I am talking about concerns an event that we cannot predict, like a mutation for example, that can be favorable or not depending on the circumstances, like any other accidental event. What I suggest is that our new ideas happen partly by chance and face their changing environment the same way a mutation does: by natural selection. But the main question is: how can our brain produce chance?
    I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about, but I'll take a stab at it.

    I've also wondered if there isn't some small or occasional random element in the brain, "tippy"neurons that might fire or not fire, something that makes a person turn left when normally they would have gone right. There would seem to be some evolutionary benefit in not having humans be too alike in their decision making processes, or not having an individual make the exact same choice under the exact same circumstances every time, so that we aren't all wiped out by one big stupid mistake, like lemmings charging off a cliff.

    The randomness may be incorporated in our mental processing, but perhaps it is provided by the environment - because the circumstances are never exactly the same, and we constantly evaluate the results of our actions with our expectations and make adjustments, abandon strategies that don't work, and try something else. The environment can also induce a chance-like influence by amplifying certain behavioral tendencies. An unplanned encounter with a stranger, a book you happen to pick up while browsing on your lunch hour, a unexpected job opportunity all lead you to new experiences and new thoughts and different decisions that you wouldn't have reached otherwise.

    Emotional states can increase the chance you make one type of decision or a different one. If you're in a good mood, you might laugh off an insulting remark, but if you're irritable, you might respond angrily and aggressively resulting in a completly different chain of events and thoughts.

    But if what you are really interested creativity, or the ability to solve a new problem one has never encountered before, it may not be really be a "random" process at all and there are studies of neural correlates of creativity that look at what areas of the brain are most active in creative problem solving. There are also sociological studies that correlate personality traits with creativity.

    Things that tend to correlate with creativity include working memory and the ability of the prefrontal cortex to integrate processing coming from multiple areas of the brain as a problem is worked on. Creativity correlates with divergent thing - following multiple paths for solutions at the same time, as opposed to convergent thinking which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution. Personality traits that correlate include openness to new experience, self confidence, risk taking (but also some negative traits like lack of conscientiousness, hostility, and impulsiveness.)
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    Hi Diane, what a nice answer this morning! You have a like!

    Would I have reacted differently yesterday? Probably! I agree with you that our state of mind changes, we don't feel the same each day, even if nothing important happened the day before. Our humor changes, and it seems to change randomly if nothing happens. To me, this change is partly useful and partly inevitable: useful because it permits us to change our perspective on the same subject and thus learn more about it, inevitable because biological processes do not need to be, and cannot be, perfectly precise. But there is one thing in the brain which is very precise: neuron pulses. They follow a strict rule, and they have something to do with memory. What if memory was mainly due to the rule they follow? What if information was written along the pulses and not inside the neurons or molecules?

    Yes, what I am talking about is creativity, and the way we solve new problems has to do with creativity if we consider that what we imagine has to be tested before being admitted as true. Up to a certain point you are right, it cannot only be a random process. As a comparison, natural selection is not only a random process, but mutations are, and the changes in the milieu are. What is not random and predictable is that a specie resists to change, it does not change unless the milieu changes, and this is the same for our old ideas, they have to resist a change otherwise there would not be enough continuity in our thoughts. What I suggest is that our intuitions, that seem to come from nowhere, do the same job as mutations do for the species: they happen by chance and are selected by their milieu.

    I admit that it is not an easy idea to deal with! To think that an important part of our own mind is out of our conscious control is weird. But what happens to a member of a specie that has a bad mutation is also weird: he will be rejected by the other members, he will have trouble feeding himself, he will not be able to reproduce, and he will probably die at young age. It is a bit different for ideas, because society is more flexible than a specie, and human mind more flexible than animal mind, nevertheless, those who have weird ideas are often rejected. But sometimes a weird idea is accepted, and all depends on chance then: it has to fall at the right place and at the right moment, exactly like mutations. Is mine actually at the right place and at the right moment? Who knows?
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 24th, 2014 at 12:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    As a comparison, natural selection is not only a random process, but mutations are, and the changes in the milieu are. What is not random and predictable is that a specie resists to change, it does not change unless the milieu changes, and this is the same for our old ideas, they have to resist a change otherwise there would not be enough continuity in our thoughts.
    You are incorrect. Species will continue to change, as a consequence of mutations, even if the milieu remains constant. This process will only stop when the organism has reached a maximum fit with its environment - something that is probably attainable only in theory, not in practice.

    What I suggest is that our intuitions, that seem to come from nowhere, do the same job as mutations do for the species: they happen by chance and are selected by their milieu.
    I offer only anecdotal evidence to contradict your idea. I rely heavily on the following process to arrive at creative solutions..
    1. Immerse myself in the problem, studying all related data and looking at some peripheral issues in a detail out of proportion to their importance.
    2. Fire of crazy solutions in my mind, without pursuing their implications or realism for more than a few moments.
    3. Forget all about it and go to sleep, allowing my subconscious mind to process, shuffle, sort and assess the products of steps 1 and 2.
    4. Wake up, take a shower and ask myself, what is the solution to the problem?
    5. See the solution to the problem and think, "why yes, that would work".

    There isn't to much random in that, is there?

    So you cannot use this as an analogy for whatever process is occurring in the brain, or as partial justification for your idea as to how creativity works.
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    I hadn't understood the word Milieu (obviously a French word.) So from an evolutionary standpoint it would be equivalent to "environment".
    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Milieu
    Milieu

    milieu
    1. Surroundings; environment.
    2. In psychiatry, the social setting of the mental patient, e.g., the family setting or a hospital unit.

    Origin: Fr. Mi, fr. L. Medius, middle, _ lieu, fr. L. Locus, place
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    As a comparison, natural selection is not only a random process, but mutations are, and the changes in the milieu are. What is not random and predictable is that a specie resists to change, it does not change unless the milieu changes, and this is the same for our old ideas, they have to resist a change otherwise there would not be enough continuity in our thoughts.
    You are incorrect. Species will continue to change, as a consequence of mutations, even if the milieu remains constant. This process will only stop when the organism has reached a maximum fit with its environment - something that is probably attainable only in theory, not in practice.
    I was correct then, because I agree with what you say about the delay it would take before a specie stops changing. It is only a theoretical possibility though, because it will never happen, but this idea helps us to understand that evolution is an inducing process.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    What I suggest is that our intuitions, that seem to come from nowhere, do the same job as mutations do for the species: they happen by chance and are selected by their milieu.
    I offer only anecdotal evidence to contradict your idea. I rely heavily on the following process to arrive at creative solutions..
    1. Immerse myself in the problem, studying all related data and looking at some peripheral issues in a detail out of proportion to their importance.
    2. Fire of crazy solutions in my mind, without pursuing their implications or realism for more than a few moments.
    3. Forget all about it and go to sleep, allowing my subconscious mind to process, shuffle, sort and assess the products of steps 1 and 2.
    4. Wake up, take a shower and ask myself, what is the solution to the problem?
    5. See the solution to the problem and think, "why yes, that would work".

    There isn't too much random in that, is there?
    To me, there is, at steps two and five: when you let crazy solutions emerge and when one solution pops out of nowhere when you wake up. I imagine you do not take for granted that this solution is the right answer though, and rush headlong without testing it.

    So you cannot use this as an analogy for whatever process is occurring in the brain, or as partial justification for your idea as to how creativity works.
    Are you actually rushing headlong with you previous idea John? I hope you do that only for unimportant ideas like mine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    I imagine you do not take for granted that this solution is the right answer though, and rush headlong without testing it.
    Testing has nothing to do with the creative act. You have argued that intuitions come from nowhere. I have demonstrated that, for at least one person (and I know of others) they come from the application of some simple rules. Therefore, based purely on anecdotal evidence, I believe you to be mistaken, at least in part. Can some intuitions truly arise in this random way you claim? Possibly, but you have not demonstrated it, even anecdotally, whereas I have done so for the contrary case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post

    If you mean that the brain accumulates data over time, and uses it to predict the likelihood of a given outcome occurring, then that is almost certainly the case.
    No, I am not talking of a logical process, but an imaginative one. When we test our new ideas in the reality of our milieu, there is always a chance that they will not work, which means that they will hurt, and it is not because a lack of logic, but because of the pleasure we have when we take a risk, when we anticipate the future. Such a risky pleasure is certainly not there for nothing, and I think that it serves us to learn: anticipating a success invites us to take chances, and if we do not overstep our capacity, we can always change our mind if it does not work, but when it works, we can learn faster than if we did not take chances.

    It is quite possible that the processs is 100% purely logical in every way, but is handled by a portion of the subconscious, which gives you a "feeling" based on how certain/uncertain it has concluded your odds to be.

    Just because you don't consciously experience it as logic doesn't mean it didn't come from a logical calculating device built into your brain.




    The most successful sports people and soldiers and ... etc.... tend to be the ones who are the best at taking a "calculated risk", or a risk that has a low probability of ending up badly (but non zero probability of ending up badly.)
    Again, I am not talking of our capacity to take a conscious risk, but of an unconscious way of producing chance in the brain, like the way our intuitions suddenly get out of nowhere.
    Still going to go with a subconscious probability calculator that doesn't bother you with the actual numbers. It just spits out a conclusion.

    Probably when a person uses their "gut" to make a decision, what they are really doing is taking a measure of how calm and/or uneasy they've been feeling while they have been thinking about a decision. If they've been feeling uneasy, then their stomach might be a little bit upset. That would indicate that their subconscious probability calculator doesn't like the idea.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Just because you don't consciously experience it as logic doesn't mean it didn't come from a logical calculating device built into your brain.
    A software is such a calculating device. Will you let him decide at your place if the prediction is less than 100%. Why do we take decisions that are not 100% proof. Isn't it because we like to take risks? And if we do, isn't it because it sometimes work? Of course it does not work all the time, and it does not produce miracles, but if we have time to try something else and it does not hurt too much, why not take chances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojax
    Again, I am not talking of our capacity to take a conscious risk, but of an unconscious way of producing chance in the brain, like the way our intuitions suddenly get out of nowhere.
    Probably when a person uses their "gut" to make a decision, what they are really doing is taking a measure of how calm and/or uneasy they've been feeling while they have been thinking about a decision. If they've been feeling uneasy, then their stomach might be a little bit upset. That would indicate that their subconscious probability calculator doesn't like the idea.
    That person seems to be facing a big risk then, a risk that he would prefer not take because he seems afraid. This is an extreme example that nevertheless sometimes happen. And it also sometimes happen that we do not want to take risks for a time, like when we are depressed for example. I suppose that our mind then interprets that any risk is already too risky, so it means to me that the way we take chances is related to the way we generally feel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    I imagine you do not take for granted that this solution is the right answer though, and rush headlong without testing it.
    Testing has nothing to do with the creative act. You have argued that intuitions come from nowhere. I have demonstrated that, for at least one person (and I know of others) they come from the application of some simple rules. Therefore, based purely on anecdotal evidence, I believe you to be mistaken, at least in part. Can some intuitions truly arise in this random way you claim? Possibly, but you have not demonstrated it, even anecdotally, whereas I have done so for the contrary case.
    To me, testing our intuitions is part of the creative function of the brain. We would not have developed a chance mechanism if we did not have developed simultaneously its testing part. It would have been to dangerous. Maybe those who take too much risks lack this testing part. Maybe those who are considered more creative take too much risks.

    When I discuss with people on forums, many tell me that they succeeded in demonstrating to me that they were right, as you just did, and it always surprises me, because I never say such things when I discuss, and because it does not help the discussion if it was not my impression. You ask me to give you an example of an intuition happening by chance, without following any rule, which would mean an idea that is not attached to what I would be thinking or doing. I can't, and I do not think that our mind works like that. Each idea we have follows another one, our ideas pass by and are attached one after the other all the time. They do so when we think, and also when we dream. We can voluntarily orient them, but we cannot stop them from mixing and changing all the time. When we think, we wait for a special mix to come out, one that will be remarkable, and one that will coincide to the chosen orientation we have noted. To me, an intuition is a coincidence between ideas, and the mind is so complex that, even if our ideas follow each other, this coincidence is totally unpredictable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Testing has nothing to do with the creative act.
    This is known as "moving the goalposts", something you have a (very) bad habit of doing. You have not previously mentioned any involvement in testing in the creative process.

    I am addressing your specific point that says that intuitions appear from nowhere. At no point, prior to this, have you said you were only discussing successful intuitions. Indeed the reverse is true - you are arguing that some of these intuitions are faulty, since you say they are subject to a form of natural selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    We would not have developed a chance mechanism if we did not have developed simultaneously its testing part. It would have been to dangerous. Maybe those who take too much risks lack this testing part. Maybe those who are considered more creative take too much risks.
    Completely irrelevant. We are discussing how the intuitions appear, not how they are sorted, tested, or selected. Please stop making these illogical statements: it does make your argument look good and its is mightily frustrating for the reader.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    When I discuss with people on forums, many tell me that they succeeded in demonstrating to me that they were right, as you just did, and it always surprises me, because I never say such things when I discuss, and because it does not help the discussion if it was not my impression.
    You mean it makes you uncomfortable when someone shows that you are mistaken. Please tell me why you think I am not correct. I have given you the sequence of events with which I can consistently generate intuitive solutions to problems. You appear to deny that this can occur. You now need to justify that.

    I am not here to support your idea. I am not here to destroy your idea. I am here to test your idea. If you do not wish your idea to be tested you should not be here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    You are incorrect. Species will continue to change, as a consequence of mutations, even if the milieu remains constant. This process will only stop when the organism has reached a maximum fit with its environment - something that is probably attainable only in theory, not in practice.
    I didn't think random mutations ever stopped, even if the animal was maximally fit. If the environment doesn't change, there's just regression to the mean, so to speak. But I thought mutations themselves were fairly constant and thats why they can use them to date events, like when groups diverged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I am addressing your specific point that says that intuitions appear from nowhere. At no point, prior to this, have you said you were only discussing successful intuitions. Indeed the reverse is true - you are arguing that some of these intuitions are faulty, since you say they are subject to a form of natural selection.
    I always said that our intuitions were neutral, like mutations, and that they had to be selected by the milieu to be certified as good, but I add that we also have the impression that all of them are good, otherwise we could not call them intuitions. Nobody talks about his bad intuitions because we never have any. To me, an intuition is a good feeling about a particular combination or change that happens by chance on our ideas. An intuition necessarily seems interesting, but it might not be at all once tested. Why does it have to seem interesting? Because we would not try any if it wasn't so, and we would thus not be so efficient, so intelligent. The good feelings that we get from our intuitions make us creative despite our consciousness. If our crazy ideas did not produce pleasure, we would never try them.

    Completely irrelevant. We are discussing how the intuitions appear, not how they are sorted, tested, or selected. Please stop making these illogical statements: it doesn't make your argument look good and its is mightily frustrating for the reader.
    This subject is about chance production in the brain, which I consider specific to humans, so it is about the human brain mechanism, the one that produces intelligence. At this point in the discussion, you may get the impression that it is irrelevant to talk about the whole mechanism, but I know that it is not. I intend to demonstrate a whole new concept about thinking, so please be patient.

    You mean it makes you uncomfortable when someone shows that you are mistaken.
    Yes, and especially when I think that he is mistaking. To me, it is no use telling people that they are mistaken, it is better that the two parties give their arguments and let the readers decide which ones are better.

    Please tell me why you think I am not correct. I have given you the sequence of events with which I can consistently generate intuitive solutions to problems. You appear to deny that this can occur. You now need to justify that.
    I answered here, but you commented about "testing" only. I said that you probably used random process to fire many crazy ideas at first, and that you also probably used it in the morning since the solution to your problem appeared naturally, which means without effort, thus without thinking for a long time, exactly as our intuitions come out. And to put a funny accent on the idea that our intuitions were not facts, I suggested that you test it before taking it for granted.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 25th, 2014 at 10:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    You are incorrect. Species will continue to change, as a consequence of mutations, even if the milieu remains constant. This process will only stop when the organism has reached a maximum fit with its environment - something that is probably attainable only in theory, not in practice.
    I didn't think random mutations ever stopped, even if the animal was maximally fit. If the environment doesn't change, there's just regression to the mean, so to speak. But I thought mutations themselves were fairly constant and thats why they can use them to date events, like when groups diverged.
    If there was no more change in the environment, and mutations would stay constant, only those who are more fitted to that static environment would survive, until the specie is perfectly fit, which might never really happen since perfection is not possible. With time, mutations would take more and more time to be selected.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I am addressing your specific point that says that intuitions appear from nowhere. At no point, prior to this, have you said you were only discussing successful intuitions. Indeed the reverse is true - you are arguing that some of these intuitions are faulty, since you say they are subject to a form of natural selection.
    I always said that our intuitions were neutral, like mutations, and that they had to be selected by the milieu to be certified as good, but I add that we also have the impression that all of them are good, otherwise we could not call them intuitions. Nobody talks about his bad intuitions because we never have any. To me, an intuition is a good feeling about a particular combination or change that happens by chance on our ideas. An intuition necessarily seems interesting, but it might not be at all once tested. Why does it have to seem interesting? Because we would not try any if it wasn't so, and we would not be so efficient, so intelligent. The good feelings that we get from our intuitions make us creative despite our consciousness. If our crazy ideas did not produce pleasure, we would never try them.
    You are still completely failing to address my point. Please set your overall idea to one side for the moment. I am dealing with a single statement you made; nothing more.

    You claim that intuitions appear randomly. That is the only claim I am dealing with here. Nothing else.

    You have implied that all intuitions, for all people, all of the time, appear randomly.

    I have demonstrated that in one case (my own) these intuitions are anything but random, but the product of a deliberate process.

    Do you, or do you not accept this? Please answer either yes, or no, or state that you do not understand the question. Please do not post another helping of word salad that fails to address my point.
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    You cite only the beginning of my answer John, did you have a look at the rest, and especially at the last part?
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    It is not relevant. I am addressing only one of your statements. What is so difficult to understand about that? Now, will you answer the question, or not?

    If you will answer it there is a possibility we may be able to move towards discussing your full idea. If you do not I shall assume that you do not want to discuss, but to preach. I shall request that the thread be locked and that if you continue this uncooperative behaviour, that you be banned. Now please answer the question. Only two answers are acceptable - Yes, or No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Just because you don't consciously experience it as logic doesn't mean it didn't come from a logical calculating device built into your brain.
    A software is such a calculating device. Will you let him decide at your place if the prediction is less than 100%. Why do we take decisions that are not 100% proof. Isn't it because we like to take risks? And if we do, isn't it because it sometimes work? Of course it does not work all the time, and it does not produce miracles, but if we have time to try something else and it does not hurt too much, why not take chances?
    Yeah. The subconscious calculator would only give you a feeling. You'd have to decide for yourself whether to follow it or not.

    However, those who have good subconscious calculators, and who follow them, will live happy, successful lives.

    Those with bad calculators, or who don't follow them very well, would move to Las Vegas and become chronic gambling addicts. Penniless (or in debt to loan sharks) until they day they die (which might be early, depending on how deep they get in debt.)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I am addressing your specific point that says that intuitions appear from nowhere. At no point, prior to this, have you said you were only discussing successful intuitions. Indeed the reverse is true - you are arguing that some of these intuitions are faulty, since you say they are subject to a form of natural selection.
    I always said that our intuitions were neutral, like mutations, and that they had to be selected by the milieu to be certified as good, but I add that we also have the impression that all of them are good, otherwise we could not call them intuitions. Nobody talks about his bad intuitions because we never have any. To me, an intuition is a good feeling about a particular combination or change that happens by chance on our ideas. An intuition necessarily seems interesting, but it might not be at all once tested. Why does it have to seem interesting? Because we would not try any if it wasn't so, and we would thus not be so efficient, so intelligent. The good feelings that we get from our intuitions make us creative despite our consciousness. If our crazy ideas did not produce pleasure, we would never try them.

    Completely irrelevant. We are discussing how the intuitions appear, not how they are sorted, tested, or selected. Please stop making these illogical statements: it doesn't make your argument look good and its is mightily frustrating for the reader.
    This subject is about chance production in the brain, which I consider specific to humans, so it is about the human brain mechanism, the one that produces intelligence. At this point in the discussion, you may get the impression that it is irrelevant to talk about the whole mechanism, but I know that it is not. I intend to demonstrate a whole new concept about thinking, so please be patient.

    You mean it makes you uncomfortable when someone shows that you are mistaken.
    Yes, and especially when I think that he is mistaking. To me, it is no use telling people that they are mistaken, it is better that the two parties give their arguments and let the readers decide which ones are better.

    Please tell me why you think I am not correct. I have given you the sequence of events with which I can consistently generate intuitive solutions to problems. You appear to deny that this can occur. You now need to justify that.
    I answered here, but you commented about "testing" only. I said that you probably used random process to fire many crazy ideas at first, and that you also probably used it in the morning since the solution to your problem appeared naturally, which means without effort, thus without thinking for a long time, exactly as our intuitions come out. And to put a funny accent on the idea that our intuitions were not facts, I suggested that you test it before taking it for granted.
    Intuition may be a fast form of processing information, especially when information is first perceived, or is somehow incomplete. It allows for a quick response, which may have saved our ancestors lives. The snapping twig in the woods, the sudden silence of birds, tells you something is up, not quite right, before some animal pounces on you. Some of the processing may happen slightly below the level of conscious awareness, which is why intuition seems vague, illogical, emotional.

    That sort of subconscious processing can be logical, though. There was an experiment where participants played a game. They were asked to guess the next card being played, or the next coloured light that would flash. There was a pattern to the cards or lights, but it was generally too complex for most people to figure out before the experiment ended. But researchers found that most people started guessing more accurately, way above chance, as the game progressed, even though participants said afterwards that there was no pattern, or they couldn't figure it out, and just "got lucky" towards the end. Even though they were not consciously aware of it, some part of their brain had started to work on the problem and figure it out That may be an example of what we call intuition - knowing something without knowing how we know it.

    At the same time, intuition can be and often is wrong. Sometimes it is a "heuristic" - instead of answering the actual question, the brain answers a simpler or similar one, which may or may not give the same or correct answer. Heuristics can result in error ridden bias, stereotyping, and logical fallacies.

    Or with intuition, we are not responding to the stimuli we think we are responding to. For example, I heard a woman say she used to become anxious in Starbucks and couldn't figure out why - was it the people, something in the coffee? Finally she figured out that the beeping noise on their coffee machines sounded exactly like her alarm clock at home!

    If you're interested in the topic of intuition, a good book is Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast or Slow."
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    I think that memory has a lot to do with our intuitions being precise, but it does not mean that they are true. Intelligent people usually have a good memory, but they do not necessarily have better intuitions than ordinary people. They succeed because they learn faster and more completely than others, not necessarily because they have intuitions that work all the time. How to decide if an intuition has good chances to be right? Don't we rely only on the feeling that comes with it? If I have a good feeling about flying down a cliff with no wings, what is going to tell me that it is exaggerated?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    It is not relevant. I am addressing only one of your statements. What is so difficult to understand about that? Now, will you answer the question, or not?

    If you will answer it there is a possibility we may be able to move towards discussing your full idea. If you do not I shall assume that you do not want to discuss, but to preach. I shall request that the thread be locked and that if you continue this uncooperative behavior, that you be banned. Now please answer the question. Only two answers are acceptable - Yes, or No.
    Here is your demand:

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    You claim that intuitions appear randomly. That is the only claim I am dealing with here. Nothing else.

    You have implied that all intuitions, for all people, all of the time, appear randomly.

    I have demonstrated that in one case (my own) these intuitions are anything but random, but the product of a deliberate process.

    Do you, or do you not accept this? Please answer either yes, or no, or state that you do not understand the question. Please do not post another helping of word salad that fails to address my point.
    Here is my answer:

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    ...you probably used random process to fire many crazy ideas at first, and ... you also probably used it in the morning since the solution to your problem appeared naturally, which means without effort, thus without thinking for a long time, exactly as our intuitions come out.
    My answer thus means that I do not agree that you made your point (in bold characters), and it explains why and where: is that clearer?

    PS. Are you going to threaten to ban me each time we discuss together? Am I allowed to discuss my ideas without being constantly afraid?
    Last edited by Le Repteux; September 25th, 2014 at 11:43 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Intuition may be a fast form of processing information, especially when information is first perceived, or is somehow incomplete. It allows for a quick response, which may have saved our ancestors lives. The snapping twig in the woods, the sudden silence of birds, tells you something is up, not quite right, before some animal pounces on you. Some of the processing may happen slightly below the level of conscious awareness, which is why intuition seems vague, illogical, emotional.
    The intuition process that I am talking about is not fast, and it does not have anything to do with our perceptions. It happens when we think about a problem, thus when we have the time to do so, and when we are concentrated, thus when we are almost cut from external stimuli.

    That sort of subconscious processing can be logical, though. There was an experiment where participants played a game. They were asked to guess the next card being played, or the next coloured light that would flash. There was a pattern to the cards or lights, but it was generally too complex for most people to figure out before the experiment ended. But researchers found that most people started guessing more accurately, way above chance, as the game progressed, even though participants said afterwards that there was no pattern, or they couldn't figure it out, and just "got lucky" towards the end. Even though they were not consciously aware of it, some part of their brain had started to work on the problem and figure it out That may be an example of what we call intuition - knowing something without knowing how we know it.
    This would be subliminal learning, and intuitions are not about learning, but about random coincidences in our ideas.

    At the same time, intuition can be and often is wrong. Sometimes it is a "heuristic" - instead of answering the actual question, the brain answers a simpler or similar one, which may or may not give the same or correct answer. Heuristics can result in error ridden bias, stereotyping, and logical fallacies.
    This is the important part of my proposal. Since they depend on chance, even if we feel good about them, intuitions are wrong most of the time.

    If you're interested in the topic of intuition, a good book is Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast or Slow."
    Thank's!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    I think that memory has a lot to do with our intuitions being precise, but it does not mean that they are true. Intelligent people usually have a good memory, but they do not necessarily have better intuitions than ordinary people. They succeed because they learn faster and more completely than others, not necessarily because they have intuitions that work all the time. How to decide if an intuition has good chances to be right? Don't we rely only on the feeling that comes with it? If I have a good feeling about flying down a cliff with no wings, what is going to tell me that it is exaggerated?
    You might well rely on the feeling that comes with it - emotions are "drivers" - especially if that emotion is intense - a strong feeling "rightness" or a terrible sense of foreboding. The only things that might cause you to question your intuitions are past experience ("hey, I've been wrong before, maybe I should try to think logically about this, or find out more information") We tend to employ both approaches - fast and slow thinking, especially when discrepancies or contradictory evidence pops up. The lady in the coffee shop didn't go with her first theory- "these people are giving me bad vibes!" or "it's the coffee!" because logic told her "there's nothing unusual about this group, and I always drink coffee, so there must be another explanation for my anxiety in Starbucks."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    The intuition process that I am talking about is not fast, and it does not have anything to do with our perceptions. It happens when we think about a problem, thus when we have the time to do so, and when we are concentrated, thus when we are almost cut from external stimuli.
    I suppose it does depend on how you want to define intuition or the particular type of mental processing you are interested in. But whether the task is constructing a painting or figuring out a mathematical pattern, there is still often a combination of deliberate, logical, step by step processing, as well as a more holistic, "mulling over" of the problem.

    But there may be a basis for the random or seemingly spontaneous generation of ideas that I think you are referring to. In sleep, there seems to be a kind of random firing in the brain that results in images, thoughts and emotions, that you then try to knit together into a story that makes some kind of sense. And those images in our dreams are not generally under our conscious control.
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    I think logical and intuitive processes act as a kind of check and balance. You use logic to test the validity of your intuition or over all impression. Conversely, if you've reasoned something out carefully but still have a nagging sense that something about it still doesn't feel right, you will go back and check your work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    The only things that might cause you to question your intuitions are past experience
    Like falling off a chair for my example of trying to fly without wings. Of course, and this experience tells us to be careful with our intuitions, because it is often precisely because of them that we get experience. "Who doesn't risk anything gets nothing" says the proverb, and I would add "and no experience either".

    The lady in the coffee shop didn't go with her first theory- "these people are giving me bad vibes!" or "it's the coffee!" because logic told her "there's nothing unusual about this group, and I always drink coffee, so there must be another explanation for my anxiety in Starbucks."
    Its problem was anxiety, and she had to think a while before the reason for this feeling appears loudly: she probably made the connection between the coffee at home and the coffee at the job while hearing the sound. She had help from the outside to make the connection in her head. But when we think, sometimes, all we have to remember our problem is a word written on a piece of paper, and what we have to solve is not a feeling, but a physical problem. If we think long enough, ideas will come, and we will have to decide if they please us or not. Facing an idea, we can use specific criteria to analyze it, and if we have many, we can decide which one is best this way. All this analyzing means that our new ideas are not very well defined in the beginning, which might mean that part of them might comes from a random function associated with the process of thinking.

    I think logical and intuitive processes act as a kind of check and balance. You use logic to test the validity of your intuition or over all impression. Conversely, if you've reasoned something out carefully but still have a nagging sense that something about it still doesn't feel right, you will go back and check your work.
    Exactly, which again leads to the idea that our ideas contain an important part of randomness.
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    This looks just like the kind of study you're looking for! It popped up today on Science Daily. Strategic or random? How the brain chooses -- ScienceDaily
    "Many of the choices we make are informed by experiences we've had in the past. But occasionally we're better off abandoning those lessons and exploring a new situation unfettered by past experiences. Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus have shown that the brain can temporarily disconnect information about past experience from decision-making circuits, thereby triggering random behavior."
    "
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    Good morning Diane! Nice Indian summer coming up!

    Interesting article. How to apply these results to humans? Humans are much more creative than rats. I think we use that random function all the time. When we speak, for instance, we improvise a lot. There is numerous ways of saying the same thing, and there is probably a lot of improvisation with them, a bit like for a Jazz singer for example. As the author says, it is sometimes useful to move randomly, and as I described sooner, I think that it is useful to learning and to developing our new ideas.
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    Another area you could look into are studies of improvisation. Here's two where they hooked jazz or rap musicians to fMRIs.

    Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/this_is_your_brain_on_jazz_researchers_use_mri_to_ study_spontaneity_creativity


    http://www.ted.com/talks/charles_lim...ov?language=en


    Yes, the last few days on Manitoulin have been like summer! I've been kayaking or fishing every day!
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    You live on Manitoulin island? Wow! A great place to live, but not much people around, isn't it? You would not belong to a native nation, by chance? Ive been whitewater kayaking a lot when I was young, these days, we made our kayaks ourselves.

    I am having a look at your links.
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    Sorry Diane, I was out for a three days forced march.

    Here is an exerpt from your first link:

    "In the study, rats playing a game for a food reward usually acted strategically, but switched to random behavior when they confronted a particularly unpredictable and hard-to-beat competitor. The animals sometimes got stuck in a random-behavior mode, but the researchers, led by Janelia lab head Alla Karpova and postdoctoral fellow Gowan Tervo, found that they could restore normal behavior by manipulating activity in a specific region of the brain. Because the behavior of animals stuck in this random mode bears some resemblance to that of patients affected by a psychological condition called learned helplessness, the findings may help explain that condition and suggest strategies for treating it."

    It seems to me that this supports my point about humans being able to execute random moves, but it doesn't prove that such a behavior is useful to learning, on the contrary, Karpova and Tervo refer to the strategical mode as being the normal mode, and the rats having difficulty to get out of that random mode. The experiment is about learning, but the random process happens when the rats cannot be rewarded from their learnings, thus when they cannot learn. Here is Karpova:

    "We thought if we came up with very sophisticated competitors, then the animals would eventually be unable to figure out how to out-compete them, and be forced to either give up or switch into this [random] mode, if such a mode exists," Karpova says. And that's exactly what happened: when faced with a weak competitor, the animals made strategic choices based on the outcomes of previous trials. But when a sophisticated competitor made strong predictions, the rats ignored past experience and made random selections in search of a reward."


    She talks about the outcomes of previous trials, but what about the first trial, when the rats could not know about the outcomes of the precedent ones, does it trigger their random process behavior? Here is Karpova again:

    "Karpova says that now that her team has uncovered a mechanism that switches the brain between random and strategic behavior, she would like to understand how those behaviors are controlled in more natural settings. "We normally try to use all of our knowledge to think strategically, but sometimes we still need to explore," she says. In most cases, that probably means brief bouts of random behavior during times when we are uncertain that past experience is relevant, followed by a return to more strategic behavior -- a more subtle balance that Karpova intends to investigate at the level of changes in activity in individual neural circuits."

    What she says is quite close to what I do when I encounter a new phenomenon or when I develop a new idea. What about you?
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    The neural correlates of creativity from your other link is a bit more difficult to interpret though. To see where the random activity takes place does not tell us how it develops. Here is an exerpt:

    "This pattern – activation of medial and deactivation of dorsolateral cortices – may provide a context in which self-generated action is freed from the conventional constraints of supervisory attention and executive control, facilitating the generation of novel ideas."

    Not a word about a random process here though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Sorry Diane, I was out for a three days forced march.

    Here is an exerpt from your first link:

    "In the study, rats playing a game for a food reward usually acted strategically, but switched to random behavior when they confronted a particularly unpredictable and hard-to-beat competitor. The animals sometimes got stuck in a random-behavior mode, but the researchers, led by Janelia lab head Alla Karpova and postdoctoral fellow Gowan Tervo, found that they could restore normal behavior by manipulating activity in a specific region of the brain. Because the behavior of animals stuck in this random mode bears some resemblance to that of patients affected by a psychological condition called learned helplessness, the findings may help explain that condition and suggest strategies for treating it."

    It seems to me that this supports my point about humans being able to execute random moves, but it doesn't prove that such a behavior is useful to learning, on the contrary, Karpova and Tervo refer to the strategical mode as being the normal mode, and the rats having difficulty to get out of that random mode. The experiment is about learning, but the random process happens when the rats cannot be rewarded from their learnings, thus when they cannot learn. Here is Karpova:
    I took it to mean that they could not be rewarded from applying any of their previously learned experience, or could not learn fast enough to adapt to the requirements of the new situation, so a random "strategy" was the next best option. At least their own unpredictability would be unpredictable to a predator as well. But I made the assumption that in the rat would still notice in its own random actions if one particular movement among them had a positive outcome, it would later become part of a learned strategy.
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    It is specified that the rats often got stuck in a random strategy after the end of the experiment, which means that all they learned from it was that random strategy was the only possible response to a normal problem, which is not the good learning they should have made. To me, this experiment shows that rats don't learn out of a random process, whereas my hypothesis is about learning by essay and error. It is a recognized method for research, and what I suggest is that it is also a process for developping intuitions in our mind. Chance is an answer for evolution of species, for social evolution, and for evolution of knowledge, why not try to apply it to evolution of an idea in the mind? Maybe it could help us to understand it better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    It is specified that the rats often got stuck in a random strategy after the end of the experiment, which means that all they learned from it was that random strategy was the only possible response to a normal problem, which is not the good learning they should have made. To me, this experiment shows that rats don't learn out of a random process, whereas my hypothesis is about learning by essay and error. It is a recognized method for research, and what I suggest is that it is also a process for developping intuitions in our mind. Chance is an answer for evolution of species, for social evolution, and for evolution of knowledge, why not try to apply it to evolution of an idea in the mind? Maybe it could help us to understand it better.
    Well, I'm not sure I follow you, perhaps because I don't think intuition is all that random. The fact that intuitive knowledge or ideas seem instantaneous, or to come out of the blue, doesn't mean they do. Ive heard more than one neuroscientist say, the simpler or more effortless a mental process appears or "feels", the greater the likelihood that a lot of complex neurological machinary underlies it. We just don't have consciousness awareness of its workings. A good example of this principle would be the hugely complex machinery that processes visual images. Our brain devotes a lot of space and energy to it, and yet when I see red or blue or even a more complex image, it doesn't "feel" complicated or take a lot of effort or time to process. It just "is."
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    Don't forget the effortless task of walking. While we've been able to design robots that can see, the real challenge has been to make something that can walk and navigate properly :P
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    Diane, I agree that it is not evident to imagine that our mind uses chance, because we like to think that we are free to do what we want, and because it is difficult to understand how we could use some other information than the one we already have acquired. But in the same token, what a freer way to live than to use chance to improvise, artists do that all the time, and what a better way to introduce new information in our mind than by changing what is already there at random? Yes our brain is complex, and it is also complexity that produces chance around us.

    Hi Curiosity,

    I think that you are mixing the execution of our automatisms with the possibility we have to learn a new one while executing an old one. Of course we do not have to pay attention to what we do when we walk, because it is an automatism, so that if we want to acquire a new automatism while walking, we can.
    Last edited by Le Repteux; October 5th, 2014 at 01:50 PM.
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    I was actually merely agreeing with Diane, that seemingly simple processes have highly complex neurological processes behind it. Artists use solely chance to improvise? Prove it. Without any anecdotes for once please.
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    Talking about chance arises the same objections as talking about liberty, and I think it is because we cannot take two different point of views at a time: the one from our automatisms, and the one from our imagination. From our automatisms, nothing must change and we must not either, from our imagination, everything changes and we are free to do so. But life is not all black or all white, it is a mix of both. Artists are like anybody, they have automatisms and they have imagination. The difference with some of them is that they take more chances with their imagination, they try more new ways than usual, or at least they show more of it. It is the same for scientists, some of them show more of their imagination than others, they take more risks. How is it for you, do you like risk?
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    Same thing as usual. A bunch of claims and no proof. Call me back when you have something more than alcohol induced philosophising at midnight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Talking about chance arises the same objections as talking about liberty, and I think it is because we cannot take two different point of views at a time: the one from our automatisms, and the one from our imagination. From our automatisms, nothing must change and we must not either, from our imagination, everything changes and we are free to do so. But life is not all black or all white, it is a mix of both. Artists are like anybody, they have automatisms and they have imagination. The difference with some of them is that they take more chances with their imagination, they try more new ways than usual, or at least they show more of it. It is the same for scientists, some of them show more of their imagination than others, they take more risks. How is it for you, do you like risk?
    I'm not sure I see the connection between the random generating mechanism you've been talking about and risk taking. Risk seems calculated. People take big risks for big pay offs. Or they might risk a lot, if the chance of actually losing is remote. But there's a calculation involved of some kind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Same thing as usual. A bunch of claims and no proof. Call me back when you have something more than alcohol induced philosophising at midnight.
    You don't show as much curiosity as your name could suggest, Curiosity! On the contrary, I detect some carefulness in your language. Take care, but try to be curious also, who knows what you could discover!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Repteux View Post
    Talking about chance arises the same objections as talking about liberty, and I think it is because we cannot take two different point of views at a time: the one from our automatisms, and the one from our imagination. From our automatisms, nothing must change and we must not either, from our imagination, everything changes and we are free to do so. But life is not all black or all white, it is a mix of both. Artists are like anybody, they have automatisms and they have imagination. The difference with some of them is that they take more chances with their imagination, they try more new ways than usual, or at least they show more of it. It is the same for scientists, some of them show more of their imagination than others, they take more risks. How is it for you, do you like risk?
    I'm not sure I see the connection between the random generating mechanism you've been talking about and risk taking. Risk seems calculated. People take big risks for big pay offs. Or they might risk a lot, if the chance of actually losing is remote. But there's a calculation involved of some kind.
    This is exactly what I meant: part imagination and part automatism, thus part chance and part calculation.
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