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Instinct vs Consciousness


Ten oz
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Well, until you can ask a fish ( or an Irishman ), you guys are just expressing an opinion.

 

The facts, on the other hand, show that we have become the dominant form of life on this planet, by using our intelligence to alter our environment, as opposed to our ancestors', and every other life form's method, of either adapting to the environment and surviving, or not, and becoming extinct.

 

I'm sure even the dolphins are hard-wired to procreate and survive as a species, and if intelligence, passing on of knowledge, and technology would facilitate this, they might do the same as humans.

 

( and yes, iNow, that's how fish evolved, by climbing onto land and eventually, trees )

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Give yourself some credit, Ten oz...

You can be taught how to build a car or a television, or even how strawberries grow.

( If you don't already have this knowledge )

 

No other animal can accomplish this.

And as Cladking says, it is language which facilitates our learning abilities, and 're-wiring' of our thinking.

( which doesn't mean our native 'instincts' are ever totally submerged by our thinking )

I think you missed the point. Sure most humans can follow intructions tailor made for them in their own language and with consideration for our tools and resources but the inventors that led the way did so without such. From Early Dynasty Egyt to Columbus humans lived without electricity or running water despite various flashes in history where both had already been invented, lost, re-invented, and lost again. Would we have AC power generation today if not for Nikola Tesla? It simply isn't accurate to list all technological achievements as examples of standard human intelligence and ability when comparing humans to animals. Tesla, Einstien, Galileo, and etc are exception and not the rule. Humanity has gone millenia without advancing then in a single persons life time shot forward due to individually brilliant, anomalous, minds. Humans have even experienced centuries of technological decline. It is the intelligence of those one in a million genius humans that is being referrenced when you say humans can build cars and TVs. The overwhelming majority of human minds which have ever existed and exist to simply are not intelligent to the magnitudes that associating all thuman echnological achievement would apply.

 

If you were sent back in time to the Dark Ages, given all the tool available during that time, all the man power you wanted, and 10yrs time to work you absolutely wouldn't be able to constuct a car muchless a tv. Successfully growing Strawberries would probably be too great a task all things considered. Strawberries are easy to grow in 2017 when one can buy fertilzer our make a greenhouse out of vinyl.

 

I am not saying humans are not more intelligent that animals. I am saying that we are not more intelligent to the order of magnitudes we generally assume. While humans collectively and overtime are responsible for launching satilites into space less than 0.01% of all the humans which have ever lived have any idea how it was accomplished.

Well, until you can ask a fish ( or an Irishman ), you guys are just expressing an opinion.

 

The facts, on the other hand, show that we have become the dominant form of life on this planet, by using our intelligence to alter our environment, as opposed to our ancestors', and every other life form's method, of either adapting to the environment and surviving, or not, and becoming extinct.

 

I'm sure even the dolphins are hard-wired to procreate and survive as a species, and if intelligence, passing on of knowledge, and technology would facilitate this, they might do the same as humans.

 

( and yes, iNow, that's how fish evolved, by climbing onto land and eventually, trees )

Tarigrade might feel this way as well. Ultimately your use of the word dominant is relative. Do you suspect Humans will out live all life on earth or will humans even last long as species like sharks and aligators already have?

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You're right about that aspect; We've become so intelligent, we can easily destroy ourselves, and most other species.

What other species can do that ?

 

But it is our capacity, through language, that allows us to pass on knowledge ( so that we may stand on the shoulders of those who preceded ), and we gained the ability to alter our environment as soon as we made the first tool and were able to start a fire.

 

Knowledge and understanding can alter a person's instinctive reaction.

Fear of the unknown is no longer instinctive for most of us, but it is for my cats.

Fifty yrs ago I may have been apprehensive if being followed by a person of different color.

Now, through gained understanding, I think nothing of it.

 

Knowledge changes people, and their animalistic instincts ( sometimes for the worse, unfortunately ).

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You're right about that aspect; We've become so intelligent, we can easily destroy ourselves, and most other species.

What other species can do that ?

 

But it is our capacity, through language, that allows us to pass on knowledge ( so that we may stand on the shoulders of those who preceded ), and we gained the ability to alter our environment as soon as we made the first tool and were able to start a fire.

 

Knowledge and understanding can alter a person's instinctive reaction.

Fear of the unknown is no longer instinctive for most of us, but it is for my cats.

Fifty yrs ago I may have been apprehensive if being followed by a person of different color.

Now, through gained understanding, I think nothing of it.

 

Knowledge changes people, and their animalistic instincts ( sometimes for the worse, unfortunately ).

What evidence of this can you provide?

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What evidence do I have ?

The third paragraph that you quoted listed two examples.

C'mon, at least read my posts.

Not your speculations and thoughts. You are saying the obtaining knowledging changes a persons instincts. I don't think you have any evidence (research/studies) to support that assertion. I also don't personally think it is remotely true.

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Thats funny when I read Migls post it sounds like he stated.

 

Knowledge and understanding allows one to overcome his instinctive reaction and exercise a concious reaction instead of an instinctive reaction.

 

I don't see anything Migl posted about knowledge changing instincts.

 

However even assuming I am wrong. There is in fact studies that show knowledge can induce genetic memories.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3923835

 

here is one such study

Edited by Mordred
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So I have an opinion.

And you have an opinion.

 

Yet you still jump from an airplane, knowing that your parachute will glide you to safety, overcoming a basic survival instinct not to jump from great heights.

You will still face a lion or tiger on safari ( I don't think your that kind of person ), knowing that your rifle will easily take it down, overcoming your primal fear.

With training, you would handle a cobra in a zoo, paying no attention to the instinctive ( some say ) fear of snakes.

You will still ride a plane, train or automobile at great speed without fear of all the air being sucked out and suffocating, because you know that's not how things work.

Heck, you would ( I know I would jump at the chance ) float in orbit, outside your rocket capsule, without any fear of falling because you know how gravity works.

Try any of those things with any other animal; My cats scratch me half to death when I try to throw them in a shower once every blue moon.

 

Or maybe you'll wait for a study...

 

 

PS: I should add that I've never stated that instinct is completely eliminated, but knowledge does modify ( some ) instinctive reactions.

Edited by MigL
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So here is a question to stir the pot.

 

What process allows a species to develop instincts regarding an evironmental change?

 

Lets pick a simple example. Take a species that has instincts and knows which foods to gather and eat.

Then introduce a new food that is compatible to its diet. How does this new food become part of that species instinctive knowledge without gaining experience with the new food item first ?.

 

Neural hardwiring isn't enough that information must have a genetic hardwiring mechanism of some form in order to be passed down.

 

Concious knowledge must at some point be connected with later gained instinctive knowledge in order for a species to evolve with environmental changes.

 

PS this is one arena where I have zero expertise.

Edited by Mordred
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So here is a question to stir the pot.

 

What process allows a species to develop instincts regarding an evironmental change?

 

...

From what I have been reading the last couple of days, the short answer is that nobody [yet] knows. Seems there was a flurry & flap over the claim it was an epigenetic effect, but the consensus was that the idea was not well supported. I haven't saved any of the links I read, but I searched the phrase 'evolution of instinct' to find them.

 

As to not having expertise, you're in good company. :)

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Yeah I tried Google as well seems most papers refer to Konrad Lorenz's theory that was developed back in the 50's.

 

Couldn't find much beyond that. Is that still the leading theory on the topic?

Edited by Mordred
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It happens only over many generations and the effect (if it exists at all in a measurable way) us almost certainly tiny. Perhaps after a few centuries it will become more noticeable, but we can't think of it in timescales that make sense to our intuition and common sense. Beware the appeal of Lamarckism.

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Hrmm lets see if I remember Lamarckism. A divine programming as the divine knows the future and programmed that knowledge into the genetic code of every species.

 

That correct lol.

 

edit oops no wrong one 😅

Edited by Mordred
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I'll join the club also.

I'm as far removed from an expert as can be.

 

I do know however that my two housecats, who never go outside ( I live on a busy street ) except for the odd visit to the vet, are deathly afraid of things overhead. Turning on a ceiling fan will make them scurry for cover, even if you're carrying them in your arms, yet they have no fear of fans below their level.

 

How did they learn to be afraid of overhead predators if they've never experienced that particular danger ?

By what mechanism does an ancestral memory become an instinct ?

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lol I have two cats, both play fetch. How is that an instictive action?

 

A side note My one Siamese cat literally follows me around the house constantly. One day I was bored and tried seeing how long it would take for her to stop.

 

So I walked around the house for literally two hours. The cat stayed at my feet at in essence the heel position. I got tired before she did.

Edited by Mordred
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I'll join the club also.

I'm as far removed from an expert as can be.

 

I do know however that my two housecats, who never go outside ( I live on a busy street ) except for the odd visit to the vet, are deathly afraid of things overhead. Turning on a ceiling fan will make them scurry for cover, even if you're carrying them in your arms, yet they have no fear of fans below their level.

 

How did they learn to be afraid of overhead predators if they've never experienced that particular danger ?

By what mechanism does an ancestral memory become an instinct ?

Asking the question again and again in slightly different forms is useless. Nobody yet knows, and those claiming they do are talking through their hats.
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I am however curious as to what advances we have made.

Well, sounds like you have made similar searches to mine so what we found is what we found (or didn't find as the case were). In the general sense of evolution, I see no reason why instinct or consciousness or curiosity should be any different in the way they evolve(d) than any other attributes of evolved creatures. While interesting, I'm not losing any sleep over the issue. :)

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I think I can say in all honesty that most of us here do not understand the functions of thought inside an animals brain and that this topic is very interesting to say the least. I just wanted to throw-in my .02 and say...what if animals do have a conscious and use it but do not have any emotions? I know that my last dog would "pout" when he was yelled at...he would put his head down (like in shame) and walk away and lay down somewhere for awhile. Is that an emotion? or is it a conscious? If animals had no emotions then maybe this is why we cannot understand how they think because humans main base is emotions. I'm probably all wet but wanted to throw this in the mix.

 

Also, regarding the following quote by Ten oz I want to thank Ten oz for putting it on here because although I am a big dummy, this quote has ran through my mind in the past regarding these types of people but of course not in those exact words.I just hope I am not one of them....or maybe all of us are in some small way.

 

 

"the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superioty, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude. Without the self- awarenessof metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

 

 

Edited by Coherentbliss
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So I have an opinion.

And you have an opinion.

 

Yet you still jump from an airplane, knowing that your parachute will glide you to safety, overcoming a basic survival instinct not to jump from great heights.

You will still face a lion or tiger on safari ( I don't think your that kind of person ), knowing that your rifle will easily take it down, overcoming your primal fear.

With training, you would handle a cobra in a zoo, paying no attention to the instinctive ( some say ) fear of snakes.

You will still ride a plane, train or automobile at great speed without fear of all the air being sucked out and suffocating, because you know that's not how things work.

Heck, you would ( I know I would jump at the chance ) float in orbit, outside your rocket capsule, without any fear of falling because you know how gravity works.

Try any of those things with any other animal; My cats scratch me half to death when I try to throw them in a shower once every blue moon.

 

Or maybe you'll wait for a study...

 

 

PS: I should add that I've never stated that instinct is completely eliminated, but knowledge does modify ( some ) instinctive reactions.

Yes, we both have opinions any time I make the mistake of asserting mine as fact or certian feel free to challange.

 

In every example you provided there are many people unable to overcome those fears regardless of knowledge obtainment. People suffer from claustrophobia, agoraphobia, arachnophobia, glossophobia, acrophobia, aquaphobia, and etc, etc, etc. I have never seen a evidence of a link between IQ or level of education obtained and the prevalence of phobias. There are very intelligent people in this world whom are afraid to speech in people and very stupid people who absolutely love to.

I think I can say in all honesty that most of us here do not understand the functions of thought inside an animals brain and that this topic is very interesting to say the least. I just wanted to throw-in my .02 and say...what if animals do have a conscious and use it but do not have any emotions? I know that my last dog would "pout" when he was yelled at...he would put his head down (like in shame) and walk away and lay down somewhere for awhile. Is that an emotion? or is it a conscious? If animals had no emotions then maybe this is why we cannot understand how they think because humans main base is emotions. I'm probably all wet but wanted to throw this in the mix.

 

Also, regarding the following quote by Ten oz I want to thank Ten oz for putting it on here because although I am a big dummy, this quote has ran through my mind in the past regarding these types of people but of course not in those exact words.I just hope I am not one of them....or maybe all of us are in some small way.

 

In different ways I suspect we all do.

 

Do animals have emotions........do we humans all have the same emotions? If we look at the biology of emotions they are chemical based. different levels of adrenaline and dopamine creating various levels of anxiety and comfort. Despite our ability to define human emotions I don't personally think everyone experiences emotions the same. A narcissist doesn't experience empathy and modesty the same way others do for example. So it is possible that animals experience emotions but they are ones humans do not experience.

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Thread,

 

I had learned in HS psychology class that humans, outside of perhaps suckling, have no species wide complex unlearned behaviors suitable to be classified as instinctual. Common reflexes and proclivities, sure but no behaviors like building the same shape nest out of the same materials, just because you are a certain species of bird.

 

As a species though we do have language and stories and books and architecture to where we might all build a house in the same way with square rooms made out of wood or something and it would not be instinctual, because it was learned.

 

To the Dunning-Kruger effect I would say we rightly use the smarts provided by objective reality to our own advantage, and we actually can accrue that capability to our own capability. While it is true that there is always someone smarter than you, unless you are the smartest person on the planet, the large majority of these smarter people are actually on your side, in the effort to understand, and modify the world to our mutual advantage as a species. To this, for me, it is not the fact that we inappropriately accrue superiority to ourselves, it is that we appropriately accrue the strengths of our leaders to ourselves as members of the team.

 

We, as a group, instantly accept good, workable ideas when we see them, and fold them into our thinking, regardless of where we got the idea, whether it was from watching how a bird did it, or a lion, or a wolf, or a glacier, or a parent or a teacher or a genius scientist.

 

So, as people on the thread have already discussed, I think animals are conscious of the world, and learn from it, the same as we do. My dogs follow my wife around, and have to be in the same room as she is in. Pack behavior possibly is behind the exercise, but she is also the one that lets them out in the morning and gives them breakfast, lets the little one sit next to her, and feeds them peanut butter at bedtime in the kitchen. I think our dogs have us trained as much as we have them trained.

 

Regards, TAR

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