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andycap

Why have we evolved the capacity to handle advanced maths?

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Maybe it didn't evolve. Since it's happened in such a short time it seems unlikely to me.

Brain power evolved to handle the basic needs which could be selected for, and then more recently that brain power was expanded more by collective learning and by passing on that knowledge through the generations by teaching rather than via mutation and selection.

 

+1. Wise words.

 

If our capacity for mathematics is not tied to the evolution of our species, then where did it come from? Some supernatural source?

 

I think what delboy means is that we didn't evolve enough as individuals. Only a handful of people have knowledge and the rest of civilisation advancement was done by collective learning and passing of the knowledge from generation to generation. As an example I would use a smartphone - everybody has one but only a handul of us could describe in detail how it works.

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As an example I would use a smartphone - everybody has one but only a handul of us could describe in detail how it works.

 

 

Does that make me far more ignorant than average because I don't actually have one?

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Does that make me far more ignorant than average because I don't actually have one?

 

I'm afraid DrKrettin that you might not even exist if you don't have one :P

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I'm afraid DrKrettin that you might not even exist if you don't have one :P

 

Ah - that's what Descartes meant - habeo smartphonum ergo sum. True true

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Ah - that's what Descartes meant - habeo smartphonum ergo sum. True true

My latin is a little rusty but that sounds about right. If you don't belive Descartes on that one just ask any child ;)

 

Edit: "habeo smartphonum ergo sum" I am stealing this Sir.

Edited by koti

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andycap - missing for 1 week now?

To re-phrase, why is H. sapiens clever enough to understand the universe.

 

Because he wanted a good laugh?

 

Since we have shifted to pidgeon latin

 

Civili si ergo

Foritibuses in ero

Gnoses mare

Thebe trux

Vatisinem?

Causan dux.

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We in live a universe for which we have been able to create mathematical models to describe & predict its behaviour. Some of those models are quite complex. I can see how we've evolved skills to handle basic maths.

Math is an evolved skill.

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This article suggests there is a link between the structure of the brain (more specifically, why neural networks can be effective) and the physics of the real world: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602344/the-extraordinary-link-between-deep-neural-networks-and-the-nature-of-the-universe/

 

Maybe that goes some way to answering the question.

 

I also think it is related to our language ability: that appears to build on other skills that exist for good evolutionary purposes: the ability to relate signs and meaning (important to know which plants are edible or poisonous, for example), which means we can relate words to things or concepts; being able to organise and recall that information rapidly so we can understand and create sentences; a theory of mind so we know it is worth trying to understand or create sentences ...

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I believe it is inherently tied to the development of language.

 

language required our ancestor's brains to develop the abilities to visualize abstractly, to find new ways to describe what the thinker was trying to communicate. The process has directly improved itself in quality and quantity of information since the first utterance all the way to the present.

 

The process of mankind's development and improvement of language moved continuously towards, and then in conjunction with mathematics, the abstract representations of the number of animals seen over the nearby hill as represented by the scouts upheld fingers would require improvement when numbers exceeded fingers and words lost their preciseness to quantity. Mathematics is and probably will always be the most precise and concentrated form of information man will ever discover/devise.

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Relativity as in understanding cause and effects is something that any hunting animal should have. Having a memory to compare the results of past experiences and predict the future is also a hunting skill. Add the two up and you get advanced maths.

 

 

You see evolution is a tricky thing because it can create new random laws within itself. First hunters are formed because cannibalism leads to transmission of infections. Once that happens evolution gets a new sublaw that all animals need to adapt to. This law is that whoever predicts the future better based on patterns wins. The hunters with less physical strentgh and speed will specially be pressured by this new law to adapt.

 

 

It's also important that the hunting animals would be able to acquire food in more than one way, So the poor things wouldn't go extinct due to their inferior physical strength in the short term.

Edited by nimae

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Why can humans handle advanced maths?

 

One of humans greatest gifts is their ability to break events into component architectures. Together, they form context. This ability is one feature of creative problem solving by allowing components of multiple systems to be combined in a novel system. Another gift, which may just be a product of the previous, is the ability to assess the utility of a system, potentially due to the cognition that the system is not concrete because the components may be rearranged. Because systems can be assigned utility, they can be compared to one another.

 

Maths at their core rely on the ability to compare 2 symbols, each symbol representing any context but conventionally must be members of a container system so that their comparisons may have quantitative merit.

 

Word.

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We use different parts of our brain for language and mathematics, as brain scans show.

 

Visualisation and number judgement seem to be key.

 

 

Greater volume and connectivity of two areas forecast [math] skill development: the ventro-temporal occipital cortex, which is a brain region that supports visual object perception, and the intra-parietal sulcus, which helps people compare and make judgements about numbers, such as understanding that four is more than three.

 

As to how we got from basic math to advanced math: practice. If you practice a skill, you become better at it, especially if you practice as a child. On top of that, better nourishment, health and education for young children also results in better brains, even with the same genes.

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