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  • Posted by Lucky 1 year, 2 months ago
    “It is impossible for the same thing to belong and not to belong at the same time to the same thing and in the same respect”. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.).

    Also,
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    Part 1, Non-Contradiction
    Part 2, Either-Or
    Part 3, A is A

    The names of the parts are not questions but are precise statements.

    Rand, like some of us sometimes (compare with Alice who can believe in several contradictory things before breakfast) was unsure about some issues. I prefer the clarity of unambiguous clear statements when the logic demands. This is the strength of Rand's writing and thought.
    Where Rand was unsure, there is no sense in us being unsure when, now, proof exits.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      The principles of logic are used in all stages of gaining knowledge, from identifying something new or unexplained to certainty of a scientific principle or theory. Donway's speculative article "Does Objectivism Have a Rendezvous with Evolution?" shows poor understanding of Ayn Rand as he tries to attribute a "problem" to her views or mental state(?). She said she was not familiar enough with the science of evolution to be able to evaluate it and therefore did not say much about it. That's it. There is no "But Ayn Rand" in contrast with or clashing with any science. She knew the difference between general philosophy and the special sciences and did not speculate.
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    • Posted by  $  DeangalvinFL 1 year, 2 months ago
      I will grant you that set theory is a valuable and underutilized tool. Differentiating between that which is one thing and therefore is not something else can help two parties to understand each other better.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
        The topic has nothing to do with set theory. Telling us that logical distinctions help understanding between "two parties" does not offer us anything new.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 year, 1 month ago
    Regarding evolution, i often tell my wife that the reason I can't find things is because as having evolved from primitive hunters, men have trouble seeing things that aren't moving.

    One of the strengths of an alert human mind is a strong pattern detection. Being able to assess either physical or theoretical images and detect what doesn't fit the pattern is a natural consequence of having to detect game that has natural camouflage, or select edible vegetation from inedible surroundings. I discovered that with enough information it's possible to determine errors in a project without a long, involved analysis. The errors seem to stand out as not belonging to the correct pattern. Some people call this ability "gut feel" or "intuition," but I believe it's a natural survival skill unconsciously applied. Objectivism is a form of pattern matching skill. We instinctively know that certain behaviors just don't fit a pattern for successful outcomes.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 2 months ago
    "Man cannot survive as anything but man. He can abandon his means of survival, his mind, he can turn himself into a subhuman creature." ... This "“creature,” she hypothesized, may be among us, today"

    I surmise she was on to something akin to what I have observed. These creatures do exist and primarily are a hybred of pre-conscious human and non-conscious Nephilim...we call them: the parasitical humanoidal ruleless delete class or better yet...the great unwashed that have assumed rule over Conscious Human value creators and producers in an upside down, inside out and backwards paradigm.

    A more (unspoken) modern day anthropological view is that Humans did not evolve from lesser species, we were a species unto ourselves but devolved as a result of interbreeding with the Nephlim species. Reportedly, the ruless class claim decendentry of Nimrod of Babylon...a self professed Nephilim.
    Just an observation of their behaviors throughout history will tell you that they are not human, not conscious with no conscience...just a disconnected bicameral brain in a human looking body.

    Rand had every interlectual right to question the validity of Darwin's theory. (inter-lectual: integrated knowledge or wisdom).

    It doesn't get anymore bizarre than that...we must test these creatures, trace their dna and see if any of that might be accurate.

    I would say that Darwin was wrong on the accounts of one species evolving into another but perhaps correct on inner species evolution. We see that with the evolution of the 4 bloodtypes, skin colors and genotype body and head shapes; I would also add: the evolution of self aware introspection that resulted in a connection to the Conscious Mind. (Julian Jaynes; The Breakdown of the bicameral, (brain), Mind.)
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      Darwinian evolution is well established. Biblical Nephlim is not.

      Ayn Rand did not question the validity of Darwin's theory. She simply said she did not know enough about it to evaluate it and did not write about it. She did not say that there is a "hybrid of pre-conscious human and non-conscious Nephilim". She described those in modern society who do not choose to develop and use their own capacity for rational thought with abstract concepts, the "anti-conceptual mentality".
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 1 month ago
        The statement was mine...I did not put words in her mouth.
        But darwin is wrong about one species turning into a totally different species...and we do have evidence the nephilim existed...read your history. Find the newspaper article that noted the many nephilim bones being destroyed by the Smithsonian so that darwin would not be challenged.
        I PERSONALLY have seen the 12' tall nephilim bones in AZ while traveling through to california.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
          You said that you "surmise she was on to something akin to" what you claim to have observed. The surmise is false; she had nothing to do with your theories.

          There is no conspiracy by the Smithsonian to destroy alleged evidence so Darwin would not be challenged. The science of evolution is well-established and scientists continue to investigate further, including the science of genetics, learning more about evolution despite the crackpots that are properly ignored as irrelevant.
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          • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 1 month ago
            The smithsonian did it in the late 1800's as part of the modern and now post modern idiocies creating another part of history being that much harder to track down and investigate...
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            • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
              Biological evolution is not "post modern idiocy". This is an Ayn Rand forum, not Anti-Science Conspiracy Central.
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              • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 1 month ago
                Within like species...Yes.
                But progressive and now, post modern, creatures have abandon facts, truth and reason altogether...Everything, even science, has been confounded.
                Just a few months ago it was expressed that Math is a racist, white supremacist construct and nothing more...and bet your bottom dollar the useless idiots will believe that...Now That's mysticism!

                PS...where have you been?...haven't seen you around here lately.
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                • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                  Evolution is across all species, shown by evidence ranging from skeletal structure to genes. Multiculturalist and ethnic assaults against math and science have nothing to do with science supporting the theory of evolution. On the other side, maybe some of the race mongers have claimed evolution is "racist" but I haven't seen that yet (except from creationists on the fringe of the fringe).
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                  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 1 month ago
                    It has everything to do with evolution...the nephilim's existence and neanderthals existence (after the flood) just did not fit their narrative at the time, that is why that observable evidence was hidden... these creatures were mentioned in the OT and they don't like that. Not to mention an accurate timeline on both sides of that issue.

                    I have never heard a creationist deny the evolution of skin colors, bloodtypes nor genotypes abet, of course...neither of these idiotologies understand the evolution of self introspection.

                    Don't get confused by the fact that all living things on this planet share some components of DNA...doesn't mean we evolved from any of those creatures. Those components of DNA can be found everywhere in the universe...especially the cosmic winds; as found by NASA scientist.

                    My point with Rand is in her statement that man can turn himself into a subhuman creature and these creatures may be among us today. Her observation and thoughts, I feel, reflected upon the worst of man and his rulers as she observed in her life.
                    I am in agreement with her there...I call them: parasitical humanoids and suspect that there is a connection to the Nephlim because they act much the same way.
                    She praises conscious man and his reason just as I do.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                      Nephlims are fantasized creatures in ancient religious mythology. It has nothing to do with science. This is truly bizarre.

                      No one with a basic understanding of evolution is "confused" about the role of DNA, and components of DNA are not "found everywhere in the universe" -- except at the atomic level in which atoms are a component of everything material, which has nothing do with genetic explanation of evolution of species of life.

                      In her article "The Missing Link" Ayn Rand said that some men do not choose to develop their own human conceptual means of consciousness. She did not say that man can turn himself into a "subhuman creature", let alone that there are "subhuman creatures" "among us today" with a "connection to the Nephlim". Trying to connect Ayn Rand to the bizarre is more bizarrely bizarre.

                      The anti-conceptual mentality is quite common; one of its effects is the spread of conspiracy theories, superstition and myths. But understanding Ayn Rand's concept of the "anti-conceptual mentality" requires a certain degree of conceptual development to know the difference.
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                      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 year, 1 month ago
                        Sorry you are missing the whole picture, I can not help you here, I tried.

                        Ignoring, not knowing or denying historical facts is the main cause of anti-conceptual mentalities...at one time, yes...the Nephlim were mythological, just like many of the Greek Tails of Sparta, the Iliad or the Odyssey....that is until you run smack dab into physical proof...as have been done on a daily/weekly basis in archaeological digs in Israel and other parts of the world.

                        Take care ewe.
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                        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Those aren't Nephilims. They're obviously space aliens sent here by the Grand Order of Anti-Nephilim to mislead you. Ayn Rand didn't refer to them either (only to astronauts, but they were modern humans).
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 year, 2 months ago
    I have only thin knowledge about it, but I am confused as to why anatomically modern humans existed so long before behaviorally modern humans.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
      I question that such was ever the case. "Modern" refers only to the time period in which we are now. Modern is irrelevant to someone who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago because it is entirely relative. Thus people always live in their respective "modern" ages.

      Better to ask whether or not people have grown and embraced principles of rationality and personal accountability. To me, it doesn't matter what age someone lived in: there have been tyrants and saints in all ages of history. I don't embrace the false narrative that progression in time necessarily begets progression of ideals.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
        By "modern" he is referring to the recent history of mankind with respect to what is in fact now. To reject "modern" as "irrelevant" because the term is "entirely relative" is to reject the use of a valid concept that everyone else understands. The frame of reference is established by the context.

        It is not "better" to ask whether people have "grown" in their thinking. It is a different question than what he is asking in the context of evolution.
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        • -1
          Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
          I'll thank you to respond to questions I ask of you and not on behalf of someone else. I have no interest in your interpretations of what other people write.
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          • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
            Blarman's personal attacks and feuding have no place here. Public posts are open for anyone to respond to and comment on. That is what discussion is. Blarman does not restrict that with a belligerent, presumptuous "questions I ask of you".
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            • -1
              Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
              I notice that you still upvote yourself when you post. Classy. And that you downvoted me twice - from two different accounts. Flagged for the admin for outright dishonesty.

              Seriously, I want to hear what CG has to say and hear it from him - not you. If I want to hear your interpretation, I'll ask you.
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              • Posted by GaltsGulch 1 year, 1 month ago
                RE: "I notice that you still upvote yourself when you post."
                This did not happen.

                RE: "And that you downvoted me twice - from two different accounts."
                This did not happen.

                RE: "If I want to hear your interpretation, I'll ask you."
                This is a public forum blarman. Anyone can respond to anyone. If you'd like to hold a semi-private conversation, you can of course post in the Producer's Lounge.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      What time frames are you talking about? There are two potential sources of advancement: evolutionary changes allowing for better brains, and the accumulation of knowledge that can be learned and passed on. The second of those explains the last few hundred years in particular.
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      • Posted by  $  Maritimus 1 year, 1 month ago
        I am no biologist whatsoever, but it seems to me that it is likely that tens of thousands of years ago the distribution of brains, as born, would be at least somewhat similar to the famous bell curve of IQs today. But in those times the survival was granted, with some luck interfering, much more likely only to the smartest. Family and tribal help enhanced survival and increased the value of leadership.

        Only with the invention of "written" (first in stone) records greatly improved transmission of experiential knowledge from generation to generation and beyond.

        We have to remember that Faraday and Maxwell lived only some 150 (6 generations?) ago and came up with the theory of electromagnetism. The scientific and technological advancement has always and still is on an exponential growth. In early humanity days a noticeable improvement would take millenia.

        What we do have now is the means to afford the survival even of the weakest of brains. Just my opinion.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 year, 1 month ago
    But if those individuals simply did not choose to focus their consciousness, why would this choice against focusing be hereditary, and apply to a whole species?
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      It doesn't. Recognizing that is a major distinction between Darwinian evolution and its predecessors. The science of genes now shows the mechanism.
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  • Posted by WDonway 1 year, 1 month ago
    One point of the article is that more than half-a-dozen homo species existed before we who are called homo sapiens. There now is evidence that not all of these species may have perished entirely. And one difference between these species must have been the nature of consciousness--especially volitional or conceptual consciousness. And once evolution resulted in volitional consciousness, further evolution to some extent relied on...choice... Ayn Rand speculated that another species might still be among us, characterized by consistent failure to exercise volitional consciousness and so becoming, as she characterized types, Attila or the Witchdoctor (all force or all mysticism, not reason).
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      Ayn Rand did not speculate that there is another species among us. She explicitly said that those with the anti-conceptual mentality do not "choose" to develop and learn how to use their consciousness in order to fully live as a human by choice. Whatever evidence there may be about some other human-like "species" still living somewhere on earth and distinguished by development of consciousness as inherited (which would be interesting), Ayn Rand was talking about ordinary people mixed in with everyone else and part of the same families but who by their own choices do not develop their own conceptual faculty. That is not a separate species.

      Biological evolution relies on choice only indirectly in which kinds of people propagate and survive in accordance with the capacities they are born with: Choices made in life do not change genes determining future offspring.

      How Ayn Rand thought that those of the anti-conceptual mentality might represent what others had called a missing link in evolution isn't clear (it wasn't clear to her either). Is there any evidence of variations in genes correlated with degrees of ability to choose to think?
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
    Evolution is stalled. Socialism and lack of natural predators and challenges has shut it down. Now we de-evolve to another semi-stable point to be defined by tbd parameters.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
      I would argue that we were never in the same evolutionary class as the common animal to begin with. Animals don't possess the capacity for Reason. Thus the only challengers we have are ourselves (barring alien intervention). Our own failure to Reason is our greatest impediment.

      Also, knowledge doesn't pass from parent to child as a matter of heredity, but as a matter of education. Thus our capacity for using our rational faculties is limited to our education in large degree (we have to learn what to do). Add to that the disparity in cognitive ability from one person to the next and as a race, I question what type of cognitive evolution could take place - if it ever has.
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      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
        At some point we were in the same evolutionary class as other primates. We just moved to new challenges.

        Reason is semi-special, but not completely unique. Just another evolutionary hurdle.

        Cognitive ability is not objectively challenged. We can relatively arbitrarily increase our number, and take what we choose. There is no real challenge to the reproductive cycle today, or the last 50 years in first world economys.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
          So you agree with the Arthur C Clarke "2001: A Space Odyssey" notion that some event granted to man the capacity for reason?
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
            I don't know the specifics of his assertion. I just think it evolved from necessity. Ancient human ancestors who 1) had superior mental capacity, and 2) episodic memory could learn and pass on knowledge, and this made them win out over others. Thus, we because mentally superior to other animals.
            "Granted" is a huge leap, I have no information to base a belief in.
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            • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
              The reason I ask is because the ability to reason is a binary condition - you either have it or you don't. If the assumption is that humans were once animals without reason, what flipped the "off" to "on" as it were? (The notion of the obelisk in "A Space Odyssey"). I would posit that mental capacity only affects the quality of reasoning - not the ability to reason itself. Case in point being that some animals show similar capacity to humans - or superior in certain areas like dogs and smell - but yet consciousness and reason remain absent.
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              • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                Consciousness is not absent in dogs. Consciousness means awareness. It is a broader class than the faculty of reason, which is an advanced form of consciousness with conceptual awareness, which is what the lower animals do not have.

                Superior smell and hearing of dogs is an inherited perceptual ability involving both sense organs and the nervous system, not conceptual, which is why they can be superior to humans in some ways without having the ability for conceptual reasoning.

                But there are different levels of "reasoning", ranging from immediate, simple physical problem solving all the way to the highest level of abstract conceptual thought in science. Whether or not one is including elementary problem solving of dogs, there is a difference in emphasis in speaking of "reasoning" versus the human faculty of reason. Everyone engages in some kinds of reasoning with simple concepts (even though some often do not choose to even for immediate problem solving even at an elementary level), but many do not choose to use and do not develop their human capacity of reason in the sense of conceptual thought. The latter is what Ayn Rand discussed in "The Missing Link".
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                Clearly many animals are both conscious and self-aware.
                Your hypothesis is supported in the very limited set of data we have, but not by a definitive scientific analysis (e.g. physics). AI's can reason. They can beat us in most games (apparently Go, is an exception).
                I find it flawed to believe that what separates humans from animals is completely fundamental, yet we can replicate it in computers, today with relative ease.
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                • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                  Human reason is not replicated in computers. They are programmed, not conscious with volition. They do not reason, they follow programmed algorithms.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Disagree. Some systems are self-learning, and modify their own program. To assert they are algorithmic is false.

                    Not only that, but some systems can out reason many humans in many areas.

                    There is no doubt that humans are more capable at reasoning than computer systems. However, given one has been worked on for a few decades, and the other has been evolving for millions of years, the comparison is 1) unfair, and 2) will clearly yield closer results, as the last 20 years provides overwhelming evidence.

                    Humans are better, smarter and first (maybe). However, humans are fundamentally different.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                      A self learning system is programmed in accordance with algorithms to change its own program in accordance with future data. A self-modifying program is still a program.

                      That programs can outperform humans for specific kinds of tasks says nothing about the hardware allegedly having "reason". Mechanical adding machines did the same thing. The difference is volitional consciousness.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                        I think you have not studied this area very deeply.
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                        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                          No matter how complex the scoring and goal setting programmed or itself modified by self-modifying programs, it is not volitional consciousness. That is the fundamental difference. (Creating "value systems" is irrelevant to this since that only means defining goals in a hierarchy, with criteria for evaluating when they are met.) It says nothing about how complex or successful AI may become. (If you are working on this, please do better than the corporate telephone-answering mazes.)
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                • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                  How are you measuring consciousness and self-awareness in animals? Can animals be trained to perform certain tasks? Sure. But can they invent? Not to my knowledge. Can they build lasting structures? Farm? Plan and invest for the future? Trade amongst themselves? Maybe my bar is pretty high, but I set it high because to me consciousness and reason imply purpose and self-consideration for the long-term - something beyond merely sustaining life or fulfillment of immediate need.

                  I also disagree that AI's qualify - though if you could invent one which read womens' minds I could be persuaded otherwise. :) AI's are created to fulfill a specific purpose - they do not invent or discern purpose in and of themselves. No Isaac Asimov, Skynet, or "Person of Interest" (great TV show) level AI (yet) exists, though I will admit that if we do get to that point it will be a pivotal moment in history. When a computer can create its own value system - not merely act on someone else's at a faster rate than humans - then it will meet one of my criteria for consciousness, but not until then.
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                  • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Animals cannot conceptualize in order to invent, plan for the future, trade, discern purpose, etc., but some of them, such as intelligent dogs, do have a degree of problem solving ability at a low level, restricted to specific instances. That is a kind of "inventing" but not at the human conceptual level.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Animals know they exist, are separate from animals and do not want to be hurt or die. They are clearly self-aware. They know "self".

                    Animals are conscious: "aware of and responding to one's surroundings; awake". This is the opposite of unconscious, which animals and humans can both be. I think you had something else in mind.

                    These rest of what you use for evidence is technical and societal advancement, which is enabled by episodic memory and higher mental capacity. These are not distinctly uniquely magic things. They are just something we have more of...today, and we have used them to further separate ourselves.
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                    • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                      "Animals know they exist..."

                      That definition fits all life down to and including one-celled organisms. (More below)

                      "These rest of what you use for evidence is technical and societal advancement..."

                      The examples I cited were first conceptual in nature and then realized - including the creation of society itself. For example, in order to be able to trade or form societies, one must recognize 1) the state one is currently in 2) relative to where one wants to be and 3) that something possessed by someone else can facilitate progress toward where one wants to be. Yes, these do require mental capacity, but also reasoning faculties far beyond the instinctual. Animals do not create economies. They do not invent tools to help them move away from a lower state of being toward a higher. I consider that level of conceptualization to be the base requirement for "self-awareness" and/or "consciousness" because it is the point at which one then assumes natural rights and their corresponding responsibilities. To me, that's where the rubber meets the road, but your thoughts are welcome.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                        Animals DO create societies. Animals Do use tools. Animals are self-aware. Animals are conscious.

                        One should not use one's own definitions of terms in communication or discussion. This confuses many.

                        There is no doubt humans are smarter, have vastly superior reasoning and got here first. However, humans are not fundamentally different than animals.

                        If you want to move to natural rights and the beginnings of law, that is a different matter entirely. I've made no assertions about using animals as livestock and denying them the level of rights as people. That is a wholly different matter.
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                        • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year, 1 month ago
                          Thanks for your thoughts. We'll have to agree to disagree.

                          I do not consider a group of animals a "society" but rather a pack (or even a gang). Packs have no laws based on natural rights or private property: law-giving and "enforcement" is performed by an alpha-male who got to his position by brute strength - not superior intellect or reason. There is no recognition of equality among animal packs - not even as potential trade partners - and certainly no equality of the sexes. Nor do animals agitate for a change to these systems. Animals which do use tools (such as blades of grass to get termites) use them to fulfill short-term needs - primarily for sustenance - not for long-term goals. They maintain their existing status but do not move to a higher one.

                          I see the ability of humans to make these critical distinctions (by reason) as no small evolutionary improvement but rather a quantum leap in difference separating us from the animal kingdom. Of course, the mice may have another opinion entirely (nods to Douglas Adams).
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                        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                          There are rare instances of some animals "using" tools; they do not plan,invent and create tools, which requires concepts. Blarman said "invent", not "use". Some animals gather out of instinctual behavior into groups such as packs or flocks; they do not "create societies", which requires conceptually understanding abstract ideas of advanced interrelations including trade and rights, and implementing the concepts. Animals are conscious in their perceptual awareness of the external world; they do not have concepts as a form of awareness integrating percepts. Some animals are perceptually self-aware; they do not have concepts of self.

                          I don't see anything in Blarman's post indicating that he was using his own definitions. He emphasized "The examples I cited were first conceptual in nature".

                          Missing from your comments throughout are the role of concepts as a form of awareness distinctive to humans. That is the fundamental difference between humans and the lower animals. That is man's rational faculty. Concepts mentally integrate percepts into higher level abstractions in a hierarchy through the ability to focus on and compare similarities and differences and to assess what is essential for the classification. That is what allows us to subsume unlimited numbers of referents into broad abstractions in the form of a single mental unit concretized with a word as its symbol and with which we logically reason. The lower animals do not do that.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                      Animal self awareness is not conceptual. Some higher animals, like dogs, perceive and are aware of themselves in contrast to what is around them, but they don't conceptualize it to use the concept in further thinking.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                        No one said animals have the same level of self-awareness as humans. Nor did anyone assert all humans have a similar level of self-awareness. I'm sure there are a number of humans without a "conceptual" level of self-awareness.
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                        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                          The self awareness of animals is not conceptual. Such a level of self awareness is not just a matter of degree. That has nothing to do with non-claims of animals or all humans having the same "level". The conceptual form of awareness is fundamentally distinct from perception.
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        • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
          What do you mean by "At some point we were in the same evolutionary class as other primates"? What class and who were "we" (before humans existed?)?

          What do you mean by "reason is semi-special, but not completely unique"? The capacity for conceptual thought is a form of consciousness, but essentially different than perceptual and more primitive forms of awareness.
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          • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
            I mean at some point on a very large timescale, we were primates without the capacity to reason.

            You and I have disagreed in the past about this (I think). I believe our ability to reason is just an increase in mental capacity and episodic memory over animals. This is unique now, but there is no reason to think another species can not evolve to have it as well, or that some animals dolphins/whales don't have it already, but have an easy enough life that they are driven to use it as we have.
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            • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
              The prior species without a capacity to reason were not "us". We do have it and it is the essential characteristic distinguishing us from lower animals. The capacity to form abstract concepts and think logically in terms of them is not a degree of perceptual capacity and memory. Concepts are not percepts and do not amount to remembering more at the perceptual level.

              The nature of concepts is described in Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. She described the "anti-conceptual mentality" of humans who largely do not learn to use their rational faculty for abstract concepts and characteristically do not think with them in the article "The Missing Link" that Roger Donway referred to. It is in Philosophy: Who Needs It.
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              • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                I think we are coming into alignment. I only assert the difference between humans, prior humanoids and other animals is a difference in capability, not a "special portion" in the brain never to be evolved in another species.

                What started this entire branch was my assertion that human evolution had stalled, and is perhaps reversing. I maintain this statement. Regardless of capability, the lack of necessity is causing widespread lethargy and atrophy.
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                • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                  It's not about a "special [physical] portion in the brain". There is something physical about our brains which makes conceptual thought possible (and which is necessary as the means of our survival as humans). But what and where that underlying physical difference is and how it works neuorlogically -- which came through evolution -- is not necessary to understand in order to recognize that we in fact have a conceptual form of awareness that is distinct from a degree of capability of perception.

                  Recognizing that capability does not mean that no other species can evolve to also have it. After all, that is how we got it. The difference between humans and other animals because of the conceptual faculty is a difference in fact in the current evolutionary states now (and back into our history), not magic outside of evolution.

                  Human evolution in the Darwinian sense -- but not by other means and not other species -- may have "stalled" for the reasons given here https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post... But it isn't fundamentally lethargy and atrophy. Even ignoring the welfare state, advanced civilization makes it possible for a wider variety of people to live (and mate). Yet it also makes biological advances possible through application of science.
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                  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 1 year, 1 month ago
                    Advanced society allows the feeble, weak-willed, and poorly endowed to succeed as much as the successful. Present evidence is highest growth among the poorest performing.
                    Some cool biological events may take place, and go unnoticed. Nothing is driving success among the successful.
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                    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
                      Advanced society allows everyone to live without having to battle in a one-on-one brute survival of the fittest. Success in such a society is irrelevant to genetic evolution: If someone merely lives long enough to breed at an early age, weak-willed or by any other choice, or with any inherited physical strength or weakness, he is influencing the gene pool. Whether or not over the course of a lifetime he makes the choices required for success within the society or defaults by choice to spending a lifetime on welfare does not affect biological evolution. The result is an average relative decline in genetic strength in comparison with what otherwise would have been with direct survival of the fittest biological competition.

                      On the other side, the intellectual advancement of science has the potential to make man-made genetic improvements reducing tendency for major diseases and who knows what else. The average effect may not be intentional, as in the result of accumulated individual choices aborting high risk births. But that kind of genetic improvement in the species is not the Darwinian mechanism, other than at an abstract level in which the intellectually fittest have the inherited potential to make the changes for the species.
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      • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
        If by not the "same evolutionary class" you mean after man evolved, yes, the rational faculty is an essential difference between man and the rest of the animal kingdom. Mankind still had challengers anyway since survival among wild beasts and in a wild environment was never guaranteed, but that has become largely overcome by the development of civilization. Especially in more modern times it has come from accumulated knowledge, not biological evolution, but it doesn't rule out that there ever was a biological evolution in man's consciousness after his first emergence. It's highly likely there was.

        As for differences in cognitive ability from one individual to the next now, it appears that so many people not using the capacity they have is a bigger factor, related to but not the same as "own failure to reason is our greatest impediment."

        The nature of biological evolution for mankind, cognitive capacity or otherwise, is different now because survival now depends on civilization, not breeding between individual survivors. "Designer babies" (metaphorically) through chosen use of advancing technology appears to be a potentially more dominant factor than the original mechanism of evolution.
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  • Posted by  $  DeangalvinFL 1 year, 2 months ago
    To my all or nothing friend ewe, please read this. There is more to be learned in this here world of ours.

    Our hero, Ayn Rand, was not so bold as to proclaim absolute truths regarding the human mind and/or what life is, or what human is. She was careful to distinguish between strong assumptions or hypothesis and declarative "must be" truths.
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    • Posted by ewv 1 year, 1 month ago
      This is a presumptuous, intentionally demeaning personal 'instruction' that does not belong here. "All or nothing", in the sense of integrity and consistency of Ayn Rand's principles (she does not use the phrase "all or nothing") does not mean omniscience and is not to be used without regard to context. Galvin doesn't define what he means by it; he just uses it as a way to undermine objectivity and consistency. No one needs Galvin's lecturing that there are continuous gains in human knowledge or that an advancing status of various fields requires proof as more information and better ideas become available -- let alone his impugning that anyone in particular, whom he doesn't even know, does not know it and needs to be instructed.

      Ayn Rand did know the difference between life and inanimate matter and the "truth" of man's rational faculty in contrast to lower animals. She knew that our rational faculty is the essential distinguishing factor conceptualizing man in distinction with lower animals regardless of other similarities and differences. It's not a tentative "assumption".
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