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Human Intelligence - Exceptional?
#1
With many (most I guess) biologists asserting that human intelligence emerged through evolution, I have wondered if any study had been given to how remarkable or mundane this would be relative to other life forms/attributes.  It seems to me that no other evolutionary development has had near the impact and differentiation to that of human intelligence.

I'm sure there are many extreme or even unique evolutionary traits, but is there anything on par with human intelligence?

Take running speed for ground based animals.  Seems like a favorable survivability trait.  Let's compare the cheetah to the ostrich (referenced as the fastest two land-based animals).  The cheetah's top speed is 75 mph while the ostrich can hit 60.  There are a bunch of animals in 55 mph range and down.  It clusters relatively tightly.

I would see our intelligence, as compared to the next most intelligence species, as having a significantly higher delta than the running speed example between the cheetah and ostrich.  Is this notable?  Are there other "evolutionary traits" where one species exhibits such an off the charts differentiation?

This may be something quite simplistic that I am asking.  Perhaps folks will take exception to the elevated status I've given to our intelligence over the next group of intelligent animals.  I doubt its an original thought.  Would be curious to see what folks might have to say.

Thanks.
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#2
(09-09-2017, 02:59 PM)Brian Wrote: I would like a specific definition of intelligence because I am not sure whether we are more intelligent or whether we simply have more concepts to deal with.  I often feel that we are just expressing instincts in more complex ways.  Is this intelligence?  I don't know.

I guess the degree to which animals can manipulate their surrounding environment to their advantage would qualify as intelligence, or maybe as byproduct of intelligence.

If that's the case it seems humans have made quite the leap forward compared to other species.

cheers
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#3
Perhaps it depends on what one means by intelligence. If the aim from the outset is to demonstrate human uniqueness, then it may be a combination of factors which does that. For example culture, in the broad sense such as storytelling, sharing of ideas whether fact or fiction plays a major role. There are other features once could point to, which I don't claim makes humans special, but may have played a role in (our perceived view of) our position.


But on the subject of intelligence, I was going to raise the subject of the octopus, which seems to have a quite remarkable degree of intelligence.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_q...telligence
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#4
The way I would look at the problem is through these questions:

1) Can the number of mutations affecting the brain that distinguishes humans from apes have occurred naturally in the amount of time they had to occur? (Actually a question more to the point is whether an ape's brain could evolve naturally in the first place. It is a huge question with many facets such as "could life have arisen naturally?", "could evolution have occurred through natural means?", "could the brain have evolved naturally?", "could humans have evolved from apes in the time necessary?". If you don't believe evolution occurred naturally, the question of human vs animal intelligence seems to me to be beside the point. If you are trying to question natural evolution by comparing human intelligence to animal intelligence, I think there are better ways to question natural evolution: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-an...subject_id If you are trying to show intelligence is non physical because it is not a result of material processes, again I would say there are better ways to do it than comparing human intelligence to animal intelligence: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-m...on-of.html).

2) What selective pressure could explain the development of intellectual capabilities that seem to have no survival advantage such as advanced mathematics?
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#5
(09-09-2017, 02:59 PM)Brian Wrote: I would like a specific definition of intelligence because I am not sure whether we are more intelligent or whether we simply have more concepts to deal with.  I often feel that we are just expressing instincts in more complex ways.  Is this intelligence?  I don't know.

I have my own questions about the definition (and source) of instincts but perhaps that's for another discussion.
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#6
(09-09-2017, 07:43 PM)Kamarling Wrote: I have my own questions about the definition (and source) of instincts but perhaps that's for another discussion.

It is for a completely different conversation. Smile

I'm not looking to parse the word "intelligence" but rather would appeal to the community to take the more garden variety common sense approach here:  Humans seem to be by any measure remarkably more "intelligent" than any other known life form.  The margin here seems exceedingly large.  If this is too controversial then I guess we should debate it.  Doesn't seem so to me.

So, presuming this is the case are there any other attributes of any other life form that are as remarkably differentiated from other species?  (Again, my land speed analogy.)
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#7
(09-09-2017, 05:54 PM)Jim_Smith Wrote: The way I would look at the problem is through these  questions:

1) Can the number of mutations affecting the brain that distinguishes humans from apes have occurred naturally in the amount of time they had to occur? (Actually a question more to the point is whether an ape's brain could evolve naturally in the first place. It is a huge question with many facets such as "could life have arisen naturally?", "could evolution have occurred through natural means?", "could the brain have evolved naturally?", "could humans have evolved from apes in the time necessary?". If you don't believe evolution occurred naturally, the question of human vs animal intelligence seems to me to be beside the point. If you are trying to question natural evolution by comparing human intelligence to animal intelligence, I think there are better ways to question natural evolution: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-an...subject_id If you are trying to show intelligence is non physical because it is not a result of material processes, again I would say there are better ways to do it than comparing human intelligence to animal intelligence: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-m...on-of.html).

2) What selective pressure could explain the development of intellectual capabilities that seem to have no survival advantage such as advanced mathematics?

Thanks Jim.

I guess I am coming at this from a "does natural selection/evolution explain human intelligence (and at the risk of confusing things "consciousness")"?  My specific and rather narrow focus here is to ...

a) allow that it could explain our intelligence

b) examine if our intelligence, if accepted as a naturally evolving trait, is remarkable when compared to all other evolutionary traits of life

c) if it is remarkable, how much so and does this create any challenge for the initial premise that natural selection/evolution led to the emergence of our intelligence?
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#8
(09-09-2017, 07:57 PM)Silence Wrote: Thanks Jim.

I guess I am coming at this from a "does natural selection/evolution explain human intelligence (and at the risk of confusing things "consciousness")"?  My specific and rather narrow focus here is to ...

a) allow that it could explain our intelligence
In my opinion: no because natural selection cannot explain the origin of life or the evolution of species. 
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-an...subject_id

Part of human intelligence which is "supposed" to separate us from animals is self-awareness, ie consciousness, and consciousness cannot be explained by physical processes.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-m...on-of.html


The other questions below are dependent on intelligence being "accepted as a naturally evolving trait" so I don't have an answer for them.
Quote:b) examine if our intelligence, if accepted as a naturally evolving trait, is remarkable when compared to all other evolutionary traits of life
Assuming human intelligence can be explained by evolution for the sake of discussion would not, in my opinion, be not be productive because so many of the assumptions you would have to make to analyze the "remarkableness" of human intelligence would be false. But if you wanted to do that anyway, you could look at rates of mutations and look for selective pressures that would result in the development of abilities like higher mathematics. I don't think trying to say whether human intelligence is "remarkable" compared to animal intelligence can be answered because "remarkable when compared to all other evolutionary traits of life" is going to be an opinion - you are comparing apples to oranges by necessity. People will defend their answer yes or no by forming their definition of "remarkable" based on what they need to support their preexisting beliefs about evolution. You have to look at a question from a quantitative (rate of mutation) or a theoretical (selective pressures) points of view to come up with an objective assessment. If you found you needed too many mutations to have occurred in the necessary time or that you cannot explain higher mathematics by any known selective pressures, then you might say human intelligence is remarkable.

But there is an inherent controversy in looking at rates of mutation. Materialists determine the rate of mutation by assuming mutations are caused by natural processes - they compare the DNA from species that diverged at a known time in the past - then they say that is proof that the mutations could occur in the needed time - they assume what they are trying to prove. But attempts to develop independent information on natural rates of mutation through laboratory experiments yield rates of mutation that are orders of magnitudes lower than those based on the naturalistic assumptions.

Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors
Douglas D. Axe
http://www.toriah.org/articles/axe-2000.pdf

Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds
Douglas D. Axe
http://www.toriah.org/articles/axe-2004-1.pdf

The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds
Douglas D. Axe*
http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/....2010.1/56

Quote:c) if it is remarkable, how much so and does this create any challenge for the initial premise that natural selection/evolution led to the emergence of our intelligence?
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#9
Jim, appreciate the in depth response.

I'm guessing there's "nothing there" with my line of thinking. Purely from a cursory, layman's perspective I've always been struck at the remarkable impact human intelligence has had on life as we know it. There doesn't seem to be another trait from any other known life form that has done so much to differentiate a species. I've wondered if science had contemplated this and if it said anything about the prevailing view that all attributes of all know life forms came about through natural selection.
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#10
good explanation of the difference between human / animal   or goto 13mins in.





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