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Thread: Survival of the luckiest?

  1. #1 Survival of the luckiest? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    If the dinosaurs hadnt been extinct by a meteor, does that mean intelligence as a trait may not have devoloped at all because we never got the chanse?

    Is intelligence an inevitable trait that will lead to success nomatter what in a species or was it just a random lucky event?

    Its kinda weird to think about, that if a meteor hadnt accidentally hit our planet we may not have come to exist.


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    You are presuming that no dinosaurs were intelligent, or that intelligence to a human level could not have devloped in dinosaurs.

    One of the most intelligent of non-human species alive today, the crow, is a dinosaur, so I think that answers your question.


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    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You are presuming that no dinosaurs were intelligent, or that intelligence to a human level could not have devloped in dinosaurs.

    One of the most intelligent of non-human species alive today, the crow, is a dinosaur, so I think that answers your question.
    Interesting Didnt know that tbh.

    Is that intelligence compared to brain size? How exactly is that measured?

    And by a dinosaur you mean because all birds are decendant from them?

    Is this list wrong? Seems this article states crows are only 8th.

    http://worldmustbecrazy.blogspot.com...imal-ever.html

    ild hooded crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs as fish bait, thinking in advance and anticipating the catch. Man im glad crows dont have arms.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  5. #4  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    And by a dinosaur you mean because all birds are decendant from them?
    Birds are dinosaurs in the same sense that humans are apes. And in the same sense that apes and dinosaurs are vertebrates.
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    Its kinda weird to think about, that if a meteor hadnt accidentally hit our planet we may not have come to exist.

    If you find that impressive, just imagine how mind-blowingly unlikely it is that you as an individual should exist. Momentarily ignoring the rest of Evolution, just think of all the precise matings between ancestral humans that had to occur in order to producr your mother's and your father's exact genomes. When you compare what actually happened to all of the divergent matings that could potentially of happened, it is shrinkly unlikely that it would have done so. And yet, obviously it did, since you are reading these words. Once your parents were born, imagine the chances that the two particular gametes required to make you be allowed to meet out of all of the thousands of alternatives. And then you can start to think about all of the genetic lotteries prior to Homo sapiens. As it has been said, there are infinitely more ways of being dead than alive and yet here we are, in our ordinariness, you and I, exisitng. Personally, I feel very lucky.

    kinda weird, huh.

    Tri :P
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  7. #6  
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    Its kinda weird to think about, that if a meteor hadnt accidentally hit our planet we may not have come to exist.

    If you find that impressive, just imagine how mind-blowingly unlikely it is that you as an individual should exist. Momentarily ignoring the rest of Evolution, just think of all the precise matings between ancestral humans that had to occur in order to producr* your mother's and your father's exact genomes. When you compare what actually happened to all of the divergent matings that could potentially of** happened, it is shrinkly*** unlikely that it would have done so. And yet, obviously it did, since you are reading these words. Once your parents were born, imagine the chances that the two particular gametes required to make you be allowed to meet out of all of the thousands of alternatives. And then you can start to think about all of the genetic lotteries prior to Homo sapiens. As it has been said, there are infinitely more ways of being dead than alive and yet here we are, in our ordinariness, you and I, exisitng. Personally, I feel very lucky.

    kinda weird, huh.

    Tri

    *produce
    **have
    ***shrinkingly

    I'm tired, sorry.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by tridimity
    Its kinda weird to think about, that if a meteor hadnt accidentally hit our planet we may not have come to exist.

    If you find that impressive, just imagine how mind-blowingly unlikely it is that you as an individual should exist. Momentarily ignoring the rest of Evolution, just think of all the precise matings between ancestral humans that had to occur in order to producr your mother's and your father's exact genomes. When you compare what actually happened to all of the divergent matings that could potentially of happened, it is shrinkly unlikely that it would have done so. And yet, obviously it did, since you are reading these words. Once your parents were born, imagine the chances that the two particular gametes required to make you be allowed to meet out of all of the thousands of alternatives. And then you can start to think about all of the genetic lotteries prior to Homo sapiens. As it has been said, there are infinitely more ways of being dead than alive and yet here we are, in our ordinariness, you and I, exisitng. Personally, I feel very lucky.

    kinda weird, huh.

    Tri :P
    That's why I chuckle at parallel dimension story lines in science fiction. They always have these worlds, like where someone else won WW1 or WW2 or something like that, and they're still full of the same people, except they have had different lives.

    But.... if you really look at all the chaos involved in conceiving a child, the odds that the same sperm and egg would have met up if your parents had chosen a different, hour, location, or..... even just ate a different meal that day.... it's unlikely any of the same people who exist in our dimension would still end up being born in a different time line.
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    That's why I chuckle at parallel dimension story lines in science fiction. They always have these worlds, like where someone else won WW1 or WW2 or something like that, and they're still full of the same people, except they have had different lives.

    But.... if you really look at all the chaos involved in conceiving a child, the odds that the same sperm and egg would have met up if your parents had chosen a different, hour, location, or..... even just ate a different meal that day.... it's unlikely any of the same people who exist in our dimension would still end up being born in a different time line.


    True, I never thought of it that way. I guess it would ruin their storylines a bit if they had to take account of gamete variation and things!
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    That's actually the basis of a philosophical argument called the "argument from disappearing beneficiaries" to argue that we have no responsibilities to future generations, because any actions we try to take to benefit future people would change who those future people are.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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    That's actually the basis of a philosophical argument called the "argument from disappearing beneficiaries" to argue that we have no responsibilities to future generations, because any actions we try to take to benefit future people would change who those future people are.

    Hm, interesting. Isn't it more important, though, to ensure that there is a sustainable future generation - rather than a generation of pre-determined people whom are almost guaranteed to secure an ill fate? E.g. imagine if we embraced the 'argument from disappearing beneficiaries' and agreed that we have no responsibilities to future generations. So we did not try to avert global warming. We may have succeeded in not tampering with who future people are. However, we would have failed in securing a sustainable future for those people. I doubt that the 'argument from disappearing beneficiaries' would provide much consolation to anybody born in that generation who was to discover their ill fate.

    I may have seriously misinterpreted this.

    Tridimity
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  12. #11  
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    On multiple universes.
    The Everett interpretation of quantum physics actually postulates an almost infinity of new universes appearing every instant. From a personal viewpoint, each choice you might have made was made. Each different choice made a different universe. So you are out there, in an almost infinity of universes, living lives that are only slightly different to what you only think is the correct one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation


    On intelligence.
    There are a wide range of opinions as to what animals are smartest. It is highly likely that there are many surprises in store. For mammals, there are five ape species, all of which can pass the mirror test, and are all very smart. There are numerous species of cetacean, besides the bottlenose dolphin, which may be ultra-smart. The Orca, for example, has a brain much larger than the bottlenose, and is demonstrably very intelligent. The only thing we can be sure of is that whatever we think will be wrong.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Is that intelligence compared to brain size? How exactly is that measured?
    Not really. Gross size means nothing for the emergence of sophisticated functions or intelligence. Elephants and whales have brains larger than human's, and yet they are not as intelligent as us.

    Brain size to body mass ratio would be a more accurate indicative of intelligence, but even this isn't very reliable. The cortical micro-circuitry is another good indicative of sophisticated brain function. Whales have way more cortex than primates, but at close inspection we can that the neurons are organized in a very simplistic fashion compared to humans.
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  14. #13  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Is that intelligence compared to brain size?
    It is primarily a qualitative assessment of their ability to understand and manipulate their environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    And by a dinosaur you mean because all birds are decendant from them?
    Exactly so. I find it oddly comforting that dinosaurs survived the KT boundary event and have remained so successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Is this list wrong? Seems this article states crows are only 8th.

    http://worldmustbecrazy.blogspot.com...imal-ever.html
    The list is a popular examination of animal intelligence. I wouldn't place to much reliance on it as an objective quantitative reflection of reality. e.g. they say crows and ravens are "widely considered the most intelligent of all birs" then go on to place African Grey parrots three or four places higher. Even if they are eight, that still is consistent with my statement that they are "one of the most intelligent animals".
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    If you compare brain size to body size than we are just as smart as mice.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

    http://spuriousforums.com/index.php
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  16. #15  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    There was an article in New Scientist recently on this. It is correct that in terms of brain to body size ratio, we are similar to mice. However, the human brain contains a lot more neurons packed into the same space, and more importantly, has an awful lot more interconnections, per unit volume.

    For bird intelligence, there are two broad groups that excel - the corvidae (crows ands ravens) and the parrots. The African grey parrot is the best vocal communicator in the world, after humans. However, David Attenborough lists the Kea as the most intelligent of all birds.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twg4Yg4gFoo
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  17. #16  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    was that the same article that said that our brain evolution wasn't that remarkable when examining the ape lineage?
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  18. #17  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To spurious

    Yes.
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