Ape genius.
Posted: 13 June 2013 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Well, some chimpanzees have become spear hunters and cn be taught very complex procedures, even in cooperation with each other.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/ape-genius.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/cooperative-apes.html

[ Edited: 13 June 2013 03:09 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 June 2013 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If you want to go into more depth with this read Fran’s De Waal’s new book “The Bonobo and the Atheist”. he’s a primatologist and his research has led him to conclude that primates have a moral system, ethics, empathy and knowledge of death. He expands his thesis to include other animals such as whales and elephants. He’s an atheist but has an interesting take on the neo atheists whom he says are fighting a loosing battle with religion as it’s his contention that it’s built into the society and the only way it will ever be eradicated is for it to evolve away as anachronistic. Although I don’t agree totally with his contention about religion, it’s a good read.

Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

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Posted: 13 June 2013 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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So he is saying that we have inherent instinctual capacities for cooperation and empathy, and that modern religions somehow emerged out of that.  I can see that, if you throw in our evolved capacity of complex language and our tendencies to form larger and more complex social groups.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 13 June 2013 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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However, I don’t see how they would evolve away (in the strict sense of the word “evolve”).  I think that it is more likely that modern religions could be replaced by ideas and organizations and cultural groups that serve similar functions, but without the associated superstitious trappings.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 15 June 2013 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 13 June 2013 03:42 AM

If you want to go into more depth with this read Fran’s De Waal’s new book “The Bonobo and the Atheist”. he’s a primatologist and his research has led him to conclude that primates have a moral system, ethics, empathy and knowledge of death. He expands his thesis to include other animals such as whales and elephants. He’s an atheist but has an interesting take on the neo atheists whom he says are fighting a loosing battle with religion as it’s his contention that it’s built into the society and the only way it will ever be eradicated is for it to evolve away as anachronistic. Although I don’t agree totally with his contention about religion, it’s a good read.

Cap’t Jack

Sounds interesting. I may agree with some of his theses regarding religious evolution. It does seem more apparent to me that logic alone is insufficient to cause change overnight. Even if we have a future where religion as we know it was gone, I can still imagine that we’d try to incorporate aspects of it into our fantasies by creating or recreating them in different ways. It is sort of like how video adventure role playing games usually like to create a premise based on some good vs. evil. Even if you are not religious, we still like to incorporate these things in our entertainment. Even romance takes on elements of this and can seem pretty dull without it. But certainly, then, religion would be perceived as something quite different by then too…perhaps no longer a threat to cause any real problems.

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Posted: 15 June 2013 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Write4U - 13 June 2013 03:06 AM

Well, some chimpanzees have become spear hunters and cn be taught very complex procedures, even in cooperation with each other.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/ape-genius.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/cooperative-apes.html

I look at all animals, including people, as likely all having somewhat similar reasoning capabilities and consciousness. The differences just depend on necessity to require reason for the animal’s apparent survival and physiological constraints that limit how long the animal has to attempt thought processes.

Cat Story
  I’ve seen many documentaries that show how non-human animals lack the supposed quality of self-realization or awareness and so some conclude that these animals are somehow either less conscious or not conscious at all. One experiment the use to test this is the mirror experiment. If the animal is capable of self-recognition, for example, the animal would learn to be able to determine certain truths about itself. For instance, a human baby eventually learns to recognize that you covertly places something on them that they can infer by looking in the mirror. Although they have claimed through these experiments that this has not occurred with most animals, I discovered by accident that this was wrong.
  I had a unique situation that those experiments seemed to lack. I had adopted a deaf albino white cat. I taught her to read hand signs to communicate and she picked up fairly easily. Then while playing with her in front of mirrors, she easily learned to use it to determine where I or something else was in relation to her reflected image. I’ve tested this by playing with her. It was clear that she knew where I was in relation to it and her because she would respond to things like me playing with her. And since she knew the mirror’s use, she would sometimes like to continue to play by strictly choosing to use it rather than direct observation.

Ant Story
I had an ant problem one summer in my place. They discovered my open topped sugar container on a counter that I’d kept there regularly by the coffee pot. They were coming from under my stove at some crack in the foundation or wall. I moved the container to a cupboard just above that area but they rediscovered it soon and continued.
  I didn’t have anything to kill them off. I wasn’t really concerned about eradicating them altogether either. I cleaned everything up with various things like vinegar (they don’t seem to like) and added using a de-calcifying general purpose cleaner on the floor areas. This ‘erased’ their chemical tracking trails and disoriented the next phase of ants coming from under the stove. I also killed many ants directly in doing all this. But instead of simply washing away the dead ants from cleaning, I placed many of the dead ones where they were coming in as they seemed to reclaim them and take them back to their nesting home. Then, just as a trial, I placed a line of vegetable oil around the front of the stove.
  In order for them to attempt to refind their sugar source, they would be forced to cross that barrier. Only a few seemed to attempt it before they communicated it to the rest of their ‘group’ and thought of something clever. They brought up pieces of dirt from a distance to build a bridge across the oil line at one spot.
  I don’t know why I decided what I did next…I think I was just intrigued at watching them work. But I decided to give them a small sample pile of sugar to those that made the bridge crossing. I even tried to give some of them individually a grain. I would also pick up some and let them walk all over me, and then let them go on without killing them.
  This isn’t properly scientific but for whatever reason, it appeared that they respected me from then on. I even cleaned up the oil line and after that they would be very discreet about invading my sugar. I would still find one or two at the sugar container, but they didn’t send large troops to get it. It seemed as though somehow I communicated with them. Ever since, I don’t have an ant problem.

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Posted: 15 June 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Some interesting research in animal intelligence,

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/what-animals-thinking.html

and what is the difference between individual intelligence, hive intelligence and pseudo intelligence?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brainless-slime-molds

[ Edited: 15 June 2013 12:41 PM by Write4U ]
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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

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Posted: 15 June 2013 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sounds interesting. I may agree with some of his theses regarding religious evolution. It does seem more apparent to me that logic alone is insufficient to cause change overnight. Even if we have a future where religion as we know it was gone, I can still imagine that we’d try to incorporate aspects of it into our fantasies by creating or recreating them in different ways. It is sort of like how video adventure role playing games usually like to create a premise based on some good vs. evil. Even if you are not religious, we still like to incorporate these things in our entertainment. Even romance takes on elements of this and can seem pretty dull without it. But certainly, then, religion would be perceived as something quite different by then too…perhaps no longer a threat to cause any real problems.

The concept of “evolving” away from religious thought was mine. His contention was similar to yours in that fantasies make our World more palatable. That was why he felt that the neo atheists were off the mark in expunging religion entirely. We will fill the void with some fantasy if only because it enriches our lives via entertainment as you stated. Kind of like religious ecstasy without the dogma.

 

Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

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