Humans have stopped Evolving in Developed Countries

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My 2c worth would be that Luminal appears to be saying that developed countries have gene pools that tend to phenotypes that aren't as well adapted to survival (because there's a McDonalds up the road, or a supermarket next to it).

In less-developed or 'poor' countries, its harder to survive, and people (phenotypes) tend to come up against more 'natural' selective pressures.

Also there's the issue that yourdad mentions about how genotypes that are 'inferior' or have genetic 'flaws' survive (and how this doesn't quite gel with how evolution "really" works, as we understand it -it's the accumulation of genetic changes, or drift in the gene pool), and how none of us would have much chance of surviving in the wild, as our predecessors did. These days special training and conditioning is needed to have 'survival skills', and face the 'wild' with nothing but your bare hands, or just a pocket knife, so to speak.

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Wouldn't it be smarter if we used our bountiful resources for everyone's good instead of for the few?

Smarter for who?

i.e., why is capitalism necessary for effective conglomeration?

I doubt that it is necessary. It may just be easier.

Put yet another way, what would it take for everyone to work together towards a simple common goal like making sure that no one has to worry about their next meal? And this cant be simplified by naming it communism or socialism or whatever.. even in those economic systems it is difficult to get people to really work together... often times you end up with some fascist dictator slaughtering half the country before some "ideal form of communism" is ever established! Certainly the gap between the rich and poor could be bridged by some common human agreement rather than being constricted by the confines of regular economic definitions like capitalism or communism.

In nature, the truly social all have identical genes. However, making a world full of clones is not likely to be the solution. To make people work together, you have to make it so that working together is best for each individual involved. I don't see how transferring money from the rich to the poor could be accomplished or how it would be of any benefit -- why then would people work if they get nothing for it?

Either we need to figure out a way to live "in harmony with earth" (i know it sounds silly..) or a way to travel to other planets so we can use them up as well.

How are we "using up" the earth? If you go to other planets, I guarantee you will not find pristine forest to exploit, just a barren wasteland far worse than the earth will ever be.

In other words.. what is the cause of the rush that the united states is in? why is it necessary to develop a country to the point that everyone is controlled by reality shows, flashy new cell phones, and the general desire to live a life in the shadow of the american dream?

?

why is it so necessary that the country with the most "world influence" has the most bombs?

Because if it were not so, a country with a bigger army could crush them and loot them and become the most influential. It seems unavoidable that the country that wants to have the most influence must have access to the biggest army.

innovation compounds the problem of capitalism to a higher degree than it seems: figure out a way to maximize your sales and minimize your costs and you will sell to wider audiences and reach a wider scope than you normally would have. then you will earn more profit and make the business even bigger, which will earn more profit, etc. thats all great for you and your family... and i guess its ok that you pay asians way under minimum wage to make the shoes you will sell for 20x the cost to americans... anything to make an extra buck right? doesnt capitalism breed the donald trumps of the world?

Yup. Glad you understand why capitalism is so effective. I hope you also understand that the asians are willingly working for these very high wages we are offering them. And do not forget that eventually the flow of money from our country to theirs will bring them up to about our level.

and lurking behind the problem of finite earthly resources is the trick that the government allows to happen with the reserve rate. banks are allowed to lend out money they dont have at a ratio of $1:$9 money they have:money they can lend. so if person A comes to a bank and deposits $10, the bank is allowed to lend out$90 based on that $10 deposit. they actually create$80, and the $90 that is lent to person A will be given to person B as payment and put into person B's bank account. now all$90 of the original loan is paid back by person A to the bank allowing for more loans to be made out in a ratio of 9:1 to person C. so we are basically driving our already rapidly accelerating economy with more and more debt!

No, they are allowed to lend out 90% of what is saved. So if you put in $10, they can lend out$9. If they could lend out more than they received, they would just borrow money and deposit it, getting infinite money.

If we are intelligent, it certainly doesnt show.

Heh.

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Wouldn't it be smarter if we used our bountiful resources for everyone's good instead of for the few?

No.

Certainly the gap between the rich and poor could be bridged by some common human agreement rather than being constricted by the confines of regular economic definitions like capitalism or communism.

Ah, a utopian hippy society...interesting.

In other words.. what is the cause of the rush that the united states is in?

Oh dear.

why is it necessary to develop a country to the point that everyone is controlled by reality shows, flashy new cell phones, and the general desire to live a life in the shadow of the american dream? why is it so necessary that the country with the most "world influence" has the most bombs?

It isn't necessary. Of course most things in life aren't necessary. Like the computer you are using to browse the internet, none of that is necessary either.

If we are intelligent, it certainly doesnt show.

Interesting.

To be honest....most of that post had me visualizing a circle of hippies sitting around a camp fire smoking marijuana and singing kumbaya.

If that is your thing and you have no ambition then you are in luck. No one is forced in this country to be productive. If you don't want to be productive and you have no ambition it is perfectly ok.

But then complaining about the fact that some people have goals, ambition and drive is pretty silly.

Anyway, thats my take.

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Perhaps it would be better if you enquired as to Quartile's actual meaning, instead of pinning highly subjective viewpoints onto his post.

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This is horrific. Science uses a word which is misunderstood or misused by the popular consciousness and so science should change its definition? Should science not use the words "force", "speed", "light", or any of the other words which have strict scientific definitions but vague popular ones?

It's a matter of politeness to come into an argument on a science forum having at least attempted to investigate the evidence and thought on what you are trying to discuss. I admit this is not always possible on every topic, but given that information on evolution is so widespread and given the fact that you defended your ignorance in a rather bonkers way makes you a bit of a jackass.

If a word already exists and is well-defined in non-scientific fields before science uses it, then science has the obligation to generate intuitive terminology, not for the rest of society to change its definition of a word to fit science.

This is all part of the greater problem with many of those involved in science. Terminology and semantics is propped up as more important than understanding.

I doubt a single person who read my original post thought I was referring to evolution as anything other than beneficial change. Yet we had to go through multiple pages of arguments about one word that, as humans with an intuitive comprehension of language, everyone was already fully aware of what is was in reference to.

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If a word already exists and is well-defined in non-scientific fields before science uses it, then science has the obligation to generate intuitive terminology, not for the rest of society to change its definition of a word to fit science.

Uhhmm... How exactly does this comment apply to the concept of evolution by natural selection? Precisely where was this term used in general parlance prior to it being used in biology?

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Uhhmm... How exactly does this comment apply to the concept of evolution by natural selection? Precisely where was this term used in general parlance prior to it being used in biology?

JaKiri had moved on to the general use of words in science, so I responded in general terms as well.

As for the word "evolve" itself, there is this:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=evolve

Darwin used the word only once, in the closing paragraph of "The Origin of Species" (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the 18c. homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762), in part because it carried a sense of "progress" not found in Darwin's idea.

Thus, even Darwin agreed that there is better terminology. I personally prefer "Descent with modification" as well when you are only referring to change rather than change leading to progress.

Hmm, I wonder if an apology is forthcoming from JaKiri.

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Perhaps it would be better if you enquired as to Quartile's actual meaning, instead of pinning highly subjective viewpoints onto his post.

Um.

I didn't pin any viewpoints to any post.

I posted my opinions or "my take" of his ideals.

Just like prior people. If he believes I misinterpreted his post I'm sure he can point out where my opinion is wrong or something.

Heh.

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My 2c worth would be that Luminal appears to be saying that developed countries have gene pools that tend to phenotypes that aren't as well adapted to survival (because there's a McDonalds up the road, or a supermarket next to it).

In less-developed or 'poor' countries, its harder to survive, and people (phenotypes) tend to come up against more 'natural' selective pressures.

Also there's the issue that yourdad mentions about how genotypes that are 'inferior' or have genetic 'flaws' survive (and how this doesn't quite gel with how evolution "really" works, as we understand it -it's the accumulation of genetic changes, or drift in the gene pool), and how none of us would have much chance of surviving in the wild, as our predecessors did. These days special training and conditioning is needed to have 'survival skills', and face the 'wild' with nothing but your bare hands, or just a pocket knife, so to speak.

Precisely.

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Mr Skeptic:

Smarter for who?

smarter for the human race. unless you would think that everything is just fine the way it is...

I doubt that it is necessary. It may just be easier.

granted, it is only seemingly necessary. the most "successful" economic systems to date have been capitalist. capitalism serves well to answer the question, as YT stated: "whats in it for ME?"

In nature, the truly social all have identical genes. However, making a world full of clones is not likely to be the solution. To make people work together, you have to make it so that working together is best for each individual involved. I don't see how transferring money from the rich to the poor could be accomplished or how it would be of any benefit -- why then would people work if they get nothing for it?

transferring money from the rich to the poor could never happen unless the rich had some sort of moral backbone. it is the desire to do what is fair that needs to be brought alive. think outside the box..

How are we "using up" the earth? If you go to other planets, I guarantee you will not find pristine forest to exploit, just a barren wasteland far worse than the earth will ever be.

first of all, i was saying in so many words that limited resources do not mix with rampant capitalism. and second, how can you say that we will never develop a method by which we could migrate to other planets? is terraforming completely impossible? are you well versed on the subject?

Because if it were not so, a country with a bigger army could crush them and loot them and become the most influential. It seems unavoidable that the country that wants to have the most influence must have access to the biggest army.

oh right... considering the possibilities, this one is the best? humans killing humans sounds like backwards evolution.

Yup. Glad you understand why capitalism is so effective. I hope you also understand that the asians are willingly working for these very high wages we are offering them. And do not forget that eventually the flow of money from our country to theirs will bring them up to about our level.

mindless greed and exploitation of other human beings. so evolved! the united states is a prime example of what those in the seat of world power should be doing! all hail capitalism!

No, they are allowed to lend out 90% of what is saved. So if you put in $10, they can lend out$9. If they could lend out more than they received, they would just borrow money and deposit it, getting infinite money.

yes youre right I seem to have made a pretty bad err there. regardless, the $9 that is lent out is assumed to be redeposited into a bank somewhere and then$8.1 is lent out based on the $9 deposit. so a$10 deposit allows for a total lending of $9+8.1+7.2+... =$90. where did that extra $80 come from? why is there this much manipulation of the buying and selling of goods and services? surely it serves a greater purpose to the government than it does the individuals living under it. theCPE: Ah, a utopian hippy society...interesting. Ah, more labels... I should have expected as much It isn't necessary. Of course most things in life aren't necessary. Like the computer you are using to browse the internet, none of that is necessary either. I thank you for responding to this rhetorical question. perhaps it didn't serve its purpose and you still have little understanding of the meaning I intended by it. considering that these things arent necessary, why are they here? what purpose do they serve? this thread is about evolution, and it would seem that all facets of human society should be included in a discussion about human evolution. if the fruits of capitalism are not necessary and they are causing the tree to run bare, why are we picking them? To be honest....most of that post had me visualizing a circle of hippies sitting around a camp fire smoking marijuana and singing kumbaya. then you have failed to critically examine my post for meaning, especially in light of the topic. If that is your thing and you have no ambition then you are in luck. No one is forced in this country to be productive. If you don't want to be productive and you have no ambition it is perfectly ok. it is not "my thing." if YOU were the one "visualizing a circle of hippies sitting around a camp fire" then why would you assume it to be a sentiment shared between us? But then complaining about the fact that some people have goals, ambition and drive is pretty silly. I only complain that people limit themselves in their goals and ambitions and the means they employ to succeed in realizing them, especially with regards to thinking "what's in it for me?" sorry, but who are you and what makes you so different and/or deserving of something special? why is it so hard to recognize the inherent problems with the human race at this point in time? Just like prior people. If he believes I misinterpreted his post I'm sure he can point out where my opinion is wrong or something. no problem Anyway, thats my take. thanks for your take. bye. Sayonara³: Perhaps it would be better if you enquired as to Quartile's actual meaning, instead of pinning highly subjective viewpoints onto his post. No worries though. I could always hunt down his posts and do the same... but I wouldn't. I am sorry I made such an abrupt post. I have to admit that the topic set me off on a rant, albeit imo an applicable one. I definitely could have kept the clutter out of the thread if I had simply shortened my original post to the following: In short, I am of the belief that the evolution of the human race has brought us to understand many more things than we would like/are able to admit. At this point in time, many of these things that we understand as part of our human nature are moot as they have no place in the dealings of ruling authorities or the systems that have been installed by their hand. So in effect, we haven't evolved at all. We hardly hold ourselves accountable for realizing our potential as human beings. Share this post Link to post Share on other sites yes youre right I seem to have made a pretty bad err there. regardless, the$9 that is lent out is assumed to be redeposited into a bank somewhere and then $8.1 is lent out based on the$9 deposit. so a $10 deposit allows for a total lending of$9+8.1+7.2+... = $90. where did that extra$80 come from?

why is there this much manipulation of the buying and selling of goods and services? surely it serves a greater purpose to the government than it does the individuals living under it.

As I understand it, the extra $80 would be Fed magic so they don't have to go around printing and collecting money. Also, it is a 90% cap, not a requirement. If it weren't for that law, the banks would lend out as close to 100% as they could, which would result in disaster. -- As for your other posts, Quartile, it seems to me that you are a hopeless idealist. I agree with many of your ideas, but see no way that they could be accomplished. How would you convince the rich to give their money to the poor? How would you get people to work together (let alone work at all since the rich will give them money if they need it)? How will you get individuals to live in harmony with the earth when they would be much better off exploiting it? How would you get counties to accept the leadership/influence of a weak country when it would be more benefital to them to take control themselves? I guess I'm asking: how will you get rid of greed, especially since greed is benefitial to the greedy individual? I still disagree with your comment about asians being exploited. They willingly take the jobs we give them because they pay better than other jobs they might get. The costs of living are much smaller there so they can get by fine with less money -- try living in Silicon Valley with your current job and you'll see what I mean. Share this post Link to post Share on other sites theCPE: Ah, more labels... I should have expected as much Well, then explain what you described and yourself commented sounds "silly" is if the label utopian hippy society is wrong or off. I thank you for responding to this rhetorical question. perhaps it didn't serve its purpose and you still have little understanding of the meaning I intended by it. considering that these things arent necessary, why are they here? what purpose do they serve? this thread is about evolution, and it would seem that all facets of human society should be included in a discussion about human evolution. if the fruits of capitalism are not necessary and they are causing the tree to run bare, why are we picking them? I see no bare tree. But perhaps you can explain where capitalism has failed or where you expect it too...from my perspective it is succeeding with vigor. then you have failed to critically examine my post for meaning, especially in light of the topic. It seemed that most of your post focused on abolishing the ideas of structured economy specifically capitalism and shifting to (again you called it silly yourself and its your idea) an idealistic "hippy" everyone working together and geting equal shares of everything and no one is in a "rush" society. Anyone with ambition and goals is going to hate such a society. Like others have pointed out, it is an impossible task to convince people to give up what they feel is rightfully theirs through work etc. it is not "my thing." if YOU were the one "visualizing a circle of hippies sitting around a camp fire" then why would you assume it to be a sentiment shared between us? You wrote the post didn't you? I only complain that people limit themselves in their goals and ambitions and the means they employ to succeed in realizing them, especially with regards to thinking "what's in it for me?" sorry, but who are you and what makes you so different and/or deserving of something special? why is it so hard to recognize the inherent problems with the human race at this point in time? Wow. You should take a pysch class in motivation. People think they are something special and deserve what they have because of the things they do through effort, creativity, work, sweat, tears, etc etc. I recognize no inherent problem with ambition within the human race. The inherent problem within the human race I recognize is the problem of multitudes of unmotivated unproductive people and how self replicating it is. Share this post Link to post Share on other sites This thread is rapidly de-evolving. Share this post Link to post Share on other sites This thread is rapidly de-evolving. Actually, to be precise, all it's done is evolve. It's had some rather strange mutations, and the mutations haven't exactly contributed to the assumed "end state" the OP originally intended, but it has definitely evolved. I get the feeling though that it will be selected against very soon. Share this post Link to post Share on other sites Here it goes again... Mr Skeptic: As I understand it, the extra$80 would be Fed magic so they don't have to go around printing and collecting money. Also, it is a 90% cap, not a requirement. If it weren't for that law, the banks would lend out as close to 100% as they could, which would result in disaster.

There is an inherent problem with believing that any economy can run perpetually with this type of "fed magic." Money is supposed to be a means of exchange for real-world things, not something that banks create to speed up an economy artificially. As the economy spins faster and faster debt is reaching never before seen levels and eventually everything will come tumbling down - an economic collapse of much greater magnitude than the great depression. This system is not self-sustaining.

As for your other posts, Quartile, it seems to me that you are a hopeless idealist. I agree with many of your ideas, but see no way that they could be accomplished.

How would you convince the rich to give their money to the poor?

How would you get people to work together (let alone work at all since the rich will give them money if they need it)?

How will you get individuals to live in harmony with the earth when they would be much better off exploiting it?

How would you get counties to accept the leadership/influence of a weak country when it would be more benefital to them to take control themselves?

Reference the last paragraph of my second post. Think outside the box.

I guess I'm asking: how will you get rid of greed, especially since greed is benefitial to the greedy individual?

The question is: how will YOU get rid of greed? Do you have control of yourself, or are you retarded? Not to say that you are greedy, but the same applies to those who are. We have greater evolutionary potential than to be impeding the progress of ourselves and others by being greedy.

Why dont the labor laws in the US apply to the way businesses handle employees who are not US citizens? Sweat shop workers are exploited in that, in the eyes of business, they are machines to which labor laws do not apply.

The costs of living are much smaller there so they can get by fine with less money -- try living in Silicon Valley with your current job and you'll see what I mean.

I live on Earth. What is my cost of living? Do I owe something to someone by virtue of being born?

theCPE:

Well, then explain what you described and yourself commented sounds "silly" is if the label utopian hippy society is wrong or off.

I was referring to living "in harmony with Earth" as sounding silly to hopefully bypass the need for someone to slap this label on my post. I specifically chose the word sounding because the way something sounds does not infer its meaning. Indeed, you have to actually involve your mind when you read posts. Living in harmony with Earth is necessary if we are to expect ourselves to remain on it for another five hundred years. How much longer will it be before the balance that Earth was in is completely upset?

I see no bare tree. But perhaps you can explain where capitalism has failed or where you expect it too...from my perspective it is succeeding with vigor.

Look at the dustbowl and see the obvious repercussions of unrestrained capitalism. That is one example and there are many, many more.

It seemed that most of your post focused on abolishing the ideas of structured economy specifically capitalism and shifting to (again you called it silly yourself and its your idea) an idealistic "hippy" everyone working together and geting equal shares of everything and no one is in a "rush" society.

You are the one who is proposing what we would shift to if capitalism were to be abolished. I am only saying that capitalism is not in check with evolution. We have more potential than to be wasting it slaving away to the dollar.

Anyone with ambition and goals is going to hate such a society. Like others have pointed out, it is an impossible task to convince people to give up what they feel is rightfully theirs through work etc.

Who is trying to convince anyone to give up what is rightfully theirs? You?

You should take a pysch class in motivation. People think they are something special and deserve what they have because of the things they do through effort, creativity, work, sweat, tears, etc etc.

Regardless of what they think, people are special. And I have not yet met a single person who doesnt have the ability to exert their fullest effort, create with their wildest imagination, work to their highest ability, sweat through their determination, or cry out in great desperation, etc etc. It is when we limit these traits to one person or to an 'elite few' that we arrive upon the strange capitalistic belief that just because my great grandad was John Rockefeller I can walk through the alleyways of an inner city slump in my armani suit while smoking my cuban cigars and fancy myself some sort of superhuman who has managed to 'succeed' more than those who are less fortunate than I. Funny that it is these types of 'gentlemen' who run our government.

You wrote the post didn't you?

No I did not write your post.

I recognize no inherent problem with ambition within the human race. The inherent problem within the human race I recognize is the problem of multitudes of unmotivated unproductive people and how self replicating it is.

The problem with ambition is that there is not enough of it. People are satisfied with living under the status quo, slaving to the dollar, and thinking only of themselves. We have evolved to this point through a long process of being on earth. How can we continue to evolve if capitalism would have that within 500 years there are no more resources to support us? 500 years is the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms..

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Well, time to put it back on track then.

I propose that humans will evolve more within the next 200 years than they have for the past 2,000,000 years due to genetic engineering.

sorry!

im leaving

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sorry! im leaving

Don't leave just because theCPE is condescending.

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Well, time to put it back on track then.

I propose that humans will evolve more within the next 200 years than they have for the past 2,000,000 years due to genetic engineering.

Technological singularity, I beckon to your sweet embrace!

Indeed, when humans start tampering with the very stuff that generates high-order intelligence, exponential results are not to be unexpected.

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If a word already exists and is well-defined in non-scientific fields before science uses it, then science has the obligation to generate intuitive terminology, not for the rest of society to change its definition of a word to fit science.

This is all part of the greater problem with many of those involved in science. Terminology and semantics is propped up as more important than understanding.

I know I'm coming to the discussion a little late, but I felt compelled to answer this accusation.

Establishing clear semantics and terminology is not more important than understanding - it's essential to communication and discussion. Just look at what exploded when people started lobbing the word "intelligence" around. If all parties are not clear on exactly what the word intelligence represents, then misunderstandings will begin, and someone may think that you're saying something that you're not, and will begin to argue with you when you may in fact actually be in agreement when it comes to the heart of the matter. It's impossible to effectively communicate when you don't understand each other, and its easy to have misunderstandings when you're dealing with a complex, nebulous concept in the first place.

And you should doubt that everyone will automatically know exactly what you're talking about when you use a world like evolution. You yourself said it has its own connotations in layman's terms, yet it has different connotations in scientific terms, and you are, after all, posting in a science forum. And even so, it often happens that people with a less complete understanding of the theory of evolution still don't have a clear idea on the exact scientific definition of the word and the process that it represents.

Humans do not have an "intuitive comprehension of language;" a language is a complex communicative system whose particular rules and definitions must be learned. We may be predisposed to be able to accomplish that learning better than most other animals, but it still must be done. It is a (somewhat unfortunate) part of the complexity of the English language that one word can have multiple meanings depending on context. This is true even when you completely exclude scientific meanings. By forcing scientists to yield to the definitions of lay people, you won't be making the language any easier. And it will be to the detriment of scientific progress, as without agreed upon, clearly defined terminology, communication and development of ideas within the field would slow down significantly. It is a lot easier to say "quantum mechanics" than to have to apply a paragraph full of exact descriptions in layman's words every time you want to refer to a certain phenomenon.

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Technological singularity, I beckon to your sweet embrace!

Indeed, when humans start tampering with the very stuff that generates high-order intelligence, exponential results are not to be unexpected.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. I'm not saying it can't happen, but we simply don't know enough about what intelligence really is and how it works to predict how easy or difficult "exponential increases" would actually be, or even whether the phrase has meaning. Personally, I think crazy intelligence enhancement is a lot like the flying car: always right around the corner...

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By forcing scientists to yield to the definitions of lay people, you won't be making the language any easier. And it will be to the detriment of scientific progress, as without agreed upon, clearly defined terminology, communication and development of ideas within the field would slow down significantly. It is a lot easier to say "quantum mechanics" than to have to apply a paragraph full of exact descriptions in layman's words every time you want to refer to a certain phenomenon.

Definitely there is a need for precise terms, and agreement on meaning. This, as we all know, is only a probability or a possible outcome that depends crucially on each individual's view of a particular terminology or phrase. It is, indeed, most difficult to "achieve communication" using a "language" as overloaded with semantics and polymorphism as a written and spoken 'algebra' (perhaps especially so where English is concerned), and explains why we develop alternative 'languages', such as math or music or programming code; we try to make the communication channels less "noisy".

We desire conciseness and accuracy, but we're stuck with dodgy old language. Maybe when we can communicate directly (mind-to-mind), the problems with language will start to disappear, but somehow I feel sceptical about the possibility...

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That may be, so it would probably be a good idea to agree upon a definition of intelligence before using it in an argument or stating that "we have more of it" than other life on Earth.

I encountered a quote from Carl Sagan today which reminded me a bit of my approach in this thread.

"It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to fifty words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese. "

~Carl Sagan

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We desire conciseness and accuracy, but we're stuck with dodgy old language. Maybe when we can communicate directly (mind-to-mind), the problems with language will start to disappear, but somehow I feel sceptical about the possibility...

We require "dodgy old language". If we did not have potentially vague and/or ambiguous language, we would have to know the exact definitions of every word we wanted to use. It would definitely improve communication and careful thinking, but would be too restrictive. People seem to acquire language mostly by induction, so they can recognize the meaning of a word, but not necessarily define it clearly.

Our language is the way it is because our mind is like a neural network shaped by experience rather than a specific algorithm.

Not to say that clear definitions are not useful. I certainly value very clear definitions in anything I study, but they can be hard to learn and even harder to agree on. For subjects I don't care about much, it often isn't worth the effort.

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Certainly language is something we humans need (we developed this ability to use our "sound-making" into something more abstract than grunts and yelps, perhaps). Possibly because it meant we could co-operate better.

By the time most of us are 3yrs old we have acquired a vocabulary of >10k words, with distinct semantics. How is this achieved? We're still looking at this (rapid) process and how a brain does it. But that's a bit OTT, I guess.

P.S. The "dodgy" reference was a throw-away...

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