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Author Topic: "Human brain result of 'extraordinarily fast' evolution  (Read 3673 times)
Telos
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« on: December 29, 2004, 13:22:47 »

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The sophistication of the human brain is not simply the result of steady evolution, according to new research. Instead, humans are truly privileged animals with brains that have developed in a type of extraordinarily fast evolution that is unique to the species.

...

"To accomplish so much in so little evolutionary time - a few tens of millions of years - requires a selective process that is perhaps categorically different from the typical processes of acquiring new biological traits."



http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1380407,00.html


Could OBE's (psychic phenomena) be a social skill resulting from an incredibly fast cognitive evolution powered by human society?
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Logic
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2004, 21:03:01 »

Terence McKenna believed that a regular diet of Psilocybin mushrooms caused the human brain to double in size over half a million years.

I dont see why you would consider it a social skill, powered by society, it just doesnt seem logical..
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2004, 21:03:01 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

Home of the best selling book Our Ultimate Reality.

Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2004, 21:10:19 »

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Could OBE's (psychic phenomena) be a social skill resulting from an incredibly fast cognitive evolution powered by human society?
 If I understand you correctly, then why are we still looked upon by most of society as wackos?

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Telos
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2004, 22:37:53 »

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I dont see why you would consider it a social skill, powered by society, it just doesnt seem logical..


Shamans were highly valued members of primitive societies for ages. They were often the leaders that held societies together, organizing burial rituals, keeping people optimistic and raising their spirits. The survival of a society often depended on having a good shaman.

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why are we still looked upon by most of society as wackos?


However, shamanism and other forms of spirituality have been gradually usurped by mathematics and causal science. The OBE community is seen as a whacko community because its members haven't found a way to include themselves in the paradigm shift.
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2004, 22:47:39 »

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However, shamanism and other forms of spirituality have been gradually usurped by mathematics and causal science. The OBE community is seen as a whacko community because its members haven't found a way to include themselves in the paradigm shift.

Hehehe, you lost me at pardigm shift.. Tongue

I hope you don't think I'm that little sister holding my finger a inch away from your face saying....'I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you'... cheesy

I've just had the time to be online today, not pickin on ya.

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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2004, 22:47:39 »



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Telos
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2004, 01:00:27 »

Since my only experience with siblings is having 5 older sisters, I can't imagine having a younger sister be anything but a great joy. Smiley

I mean this definition of paradigm:

A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

Using math as a model to explain reality was a new paradigm that started around the time of the Egyptians and the Ionians. Math allowed a more precise allocation of resources across society - people knew exactly how much land they owned by using geometry and could also calculate their net worth to society. People used math to figure out how much seed they had to sow in order to feed a given population. Math also opened doors in construction, allowing the creation of the pyramids and the other wonders of the ancient world.

People needed more than a spiritual guide in their leader, they needed a technical manager. So, the shaman's role was elevated to Pharoah or a divine King. Gradually, villages became cities, cities became city-states, city-states became nations, and nations became empires.

The point is, Pharoahs and Kings weren't spiritual leaders as much as they were emperors. Mankind always had its warring tribes. The violence wasn't that big because tribes were small and weapons were primitive - so shamans never needed to be great military leaders. But with math, you could support vast armies with resources, draw strategic maps, and engineer new defenses and weaponry.

No shaman was created equal. Like us, they were spiritual people, but were more aware of the spirits of nature and the afterlife than they were with the brotherhood of mankind.

Since then, mathematics has grown to be a more successful model of explaining reality. Probably the only reason spirituality seems to stick around is because we're afraid of death huh
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RenaissanceMan
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2005, 04:09:20 »

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Since then, mathematics has grown to be a more successful model of explaining reality. Probably the only reason spirituality seems to stick around is because we're afraid of death

Exactly, its a comfort for people in their powerless state.  It's a way of dealing with those things we are the victims of : disease, death, poverty.  If science manages to solve these problems to, spirituality either disappears or it gets reduced to 'explaining' the things that we are still ignorant of (if anything).
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2005, 05:16:31 »

Evolution should happen exponentially faster for smarter species, because we get exponentially more selective on who we have kids with. Its not even limited to the number of people we meet. We eliminate huge groups by where we choose to look and what we see each person there doing.

I see John is angry and his girl is happily using his credit card. If I were an animal, I might attack John and want his girl. But intelligence tells me John isnt angry at me (at the girl), and even though the girl is happy, I'd hate her. So I direct my "attack" at the girl.

The more a species can think about what others are thinking (and other abstract things), the faster it will evolve. John knows his girl knows John knows his credit card company knows John has little money...
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Logic
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2005, 05:39:09 »

Mmmm, was only a matter of time before those credit cards evolved  rolleyes
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catmeow
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2005, 01:36:50 »

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The scientists found that the human brain's genes had gone through an intense amount of evolution in a short amount of time - a process that far outstripped the evolution of the genes of other animals.

"We've proven that there is a big distinction," Prof Lahn said. "Human evolution is, in fact, a privileged process because it involves a large number of mutations in a large number of genes.

"To accomplish so much in so little evolutionary time - a few tens of millions of years - requires a selective process that is perhaps categorically different from the typical processes of acquiring new biological traits."

So in other words, conventional Darwinism ("the typical processes of acquiring new biological traits") can not explain the evolution of the human brain.

I've always been suspicious about Darwinism.  It never added up to me.  Just exactly how many chance mutations does it take to evolve a human brain from nothing?  And just what sort of selective process was operating to so strongly favour "good" mutations over "bad" mutations?  And in such a short space of time?

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Telos
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2005, 01:52:45 »

Catmeow, they never mention the words "Social Darwinism" in the article, but by suggesting that societies played the central role in establishing this new selection process, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they're referring to.
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no_leaf_clover
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2005, 01:55:36 »

That's where interventionists would say something helped us along genetically, either God or an advanced race, etc.  It actually makes more sense than anything else when you look into it. The only big problem with it is we don't know who did it or why, which is a big problem given the nature of science.
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Telos
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2005, 02:41:35 »

Quote from: no_leaf_clover
It actually makes more sense than anything else when you look into it. The only big problem with it is we don't know who did it or why, which is a big problem given the nature of science.


Actually, it does not make much sense when you realize that...

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The evolution of life forms required billions of years for the first steps (e.g., primitive cells); later on progress accelerated. During the Cambrian explosion, major paradigm shifts took only tens of millions of years. Later on, Humanoids developed over a period of millions of years, and Homo sapiens over a period of only hundreds of thousands of years.


Evolutionary processes that have positive feedback loops result in Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, which IMO makes more sense as an evolutionary model than interventionism. With such evolution, agents undergo paradigm shifts (in this case, hominids switching from mobile hunter-gathering to settled societies).

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• Evolution applies positive feedback in that the more capable methods resulting from one stage of evolutionary progress are used to create the next stage. As a result, the
• rate of progress of an evolutionary process increases exponentially over time. Over time, the "order" of the information embedded in the evolutionary process (i.e., the measure of how well the information fits a purpose, which in evolution is survival) increases.
• A correlate of the above observation is that the "returns" of an evolutionary process (e.g., the speed, cost-effectiveness, or overall "power" of a process) increase exponentially over time.
• In another positive feedback loop, as a particular evolutionary process (e.g., computation) becomes more effective (e.g., cost effective), greater resources are deployed toward the further progress of that process. This results in a second level of exponential growth (i.e., the rate of exponential growth itself grows exponentially).
• Biological evolution is one such evolutionary process.
• Technological evolution is another such evolutionary process. Indeed, the emergence of the first technology creating species resulted in the new evolutionary process of technology. Therefore, technological evolution is an outgrowth of--and a continuation of--biological evolution.

...

If we apply these principles at the highest level of evolution on Earth, the first step, the creation of cells, introduced the paradigm of biology. The subsequent emergence of DNA provided a digital method to record the results of evolutionary experiments. Then, the evolution of a species who combined rational thought with an opposable appendage (i.e., the thumb) caused a fundamental paradigm shift from biology to technology. The upcoming primary paradigm shift will be from biological thinking to a hybrid combining biological and nonbiological thinking. This hybrid will include "biologically inspired" processes resulting from the reverse engineering of biological brains.


http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0134.html?printable=1
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no_leaf_clover
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2005, 20:53:20 »

Another logical theory, I guess, Telos, but not without holes of its own.

First, it would make a lot of sense that we should suddenly become a lot smarter from settling down and growing food. Not because of an evolutionary step, necessarily, but because we first had time to start really working on language and writing, which of course greatly enhanced human civilization by giving us the capability of passing on all that we know from our ancestors plus our own discoveries onto our children to work with. In this way, technology has logically, though not 'exponentially', progressed.

Some sick psychological tests have occured in the past few decades, and we can be sure that humans today are no more capable of creating a practical language or any other basic, yet learned skill on their own than early man was. We don't seem to have become any smarter by any biological evolution. The Discovery Channel's made a good point in that if you took a Cro-Magnon and dressed him up and threw him into a modern society, no one would notice anything peculiar as far as facial features, etc. either.

The jump around Erectus to Sapiens (Neanderthals have been shown to be an advancement of Erectus, but Sapiens outdate Neanderthals based on current evidence, as well as being much more evolved) is still unprecedented in human evolution, biologically.

There's another problem in that we have unexplained genes. We have genes that apparently popped up from nowhere on the jump to Sapiens. For this to be natural, we would have to redefine evolution completely. Natural selection has absolutely nothing to do with the spontaneous spawning of new genes from one species to the next, yet it has happened with us.

Sitchin explains on his site, as we were being compared to earlier species...

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It was here, in tracing the vertical evolutionary record contained in the human and the other analyzed genomes, that the scientists ran into an enigma. The “head-scratching discovery by the public consortium,” as Science termed it, was that the human genome contains 223 genes that do not have the required predecessors on the genomic evolutionary tree.


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In the evolutionary progression from bacteria to invertebrates (such as the lineages of yeast, worms, flies or mustard weed – which have been deciphered) to vertebrates (mice, chimpanzees) and finally modern humans, these 223 genes are completely missing in the invertebrate phase. Therefore, the scientists can explain their presence in the human genome by a “rather recent” (in evolutionary time scales) “probable horizontal transfer from bacteria.”

In other words: At a relatively recent time as Evolution goes, modern humans acquired an extra 223 genes not through gradual evolution, not vertically on the Tree of Life, but horizontally, as a sideways insertion of genetic material from bacteria…


It is also noted that 223 is quite a big deal when dealing with our own evolution:

Quote
So, 223 genes is more than two thirds of the difference between me, you and a chimpanzee!


We've had no such evolutionary steps since (no constant, exponential evolution as Kurweil's 'Law' apparently details), and no links that explain the 223-gene jump, so this jump does indeed appear to be singular. To consider technological advances another side of evolution is irrelevant here unless one thinks ancient man edited his own genes. Dinosaur evolution is also another subject, as is the controversial dating methods which can get pretty fuzzy at such ages, especially apparent when you consider the fact that glaciers were apparently gliding across continents resting on the equator millions of years ago (which would be impossible without the 'Snowball Effect').

I don't think there's been any real definite answer yet as to how and why exactly we wound up where we are evolution-wise.
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catmeow
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2005, 22:40:46 »

Very interesting points!  A couple more thoughts to throw into the pot:

1. Given that the world population has been estimated to be approximately 1.3 million at the time of Neandethal/Sapiens, and is now 6.5 billion, we should be seeing approximately 5000 times as much genetic mutation activity happening now than was happening during that early period.  So the human race should be advancing, mutating and changing very quickly now.  But is it?  How many times do we see genetic mutations (other than near nuclear power stations!) these days?

2. If we compare the human brain and its neural pathways to an electrical circuit of transistors, resistors and the like, then we can get a feel for the likelihood of a useful mutation occurring, at random.  It would be extremely unlikely to improve a transistor circuit by randomly altering its wiring, or randomly adding resistors, transistors etc. The likelihood of improving an electrical circuit via a random change must be in the region of thousands-to-one or even millions-to-one.  Surely this is also true of the human brain?  So we would need millions of mutations to occur before we see even the slightest random improvement.  Remember that this million-to-one (?) figure is just for one improvement.  And we would need to see millions, perhaps billions of these little improvements to create the human brain.

3.  There are many random changes which can occur to both the human brain and the other organs of the human body, which would simply add redundancy.  For instance the addition of useless neural pathways in the brain or useless tissue to the other human organs.  Such changes would be neutral as far as natural selection is concerned.  So we should expect to see quite a lot of redundancy appearing as a direct result of Darwinian evolution.  But this does not seem to be the case?  There is almost no redundancy in the organs of the human body.  (I admit that we don't know if there is redundancy in the brain, because we don't understand it very well, but the argument holds I believe for the other bodily organs).

It seems that natural selection, although clearly a functional theory, is nevertheless a theory with a lot of problems, particularly where Homo Sapiens is concerned...!?

catmeow
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Telos
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2005, 22:42:25 »

That's really interesting. I've never heard of the 223-gene jump. Can you point me to the sites you were quoting?
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no_leaf_clover
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2005, 22:59:42 »

It's on Sitchin's site here..

http://www.sitchin.com/adam.htm

..which is apparently based on an article from the magazine Science but was published in Nature as well.

Also here..

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn411


Apparently there was a challenge to this claim as well, that there were only as many as 40 (if any) of such genes, which would still raise questions. I haven't had time to really read into the ideas behind it so I'm not sure what they're going off of but I'll post these links and then read them later I guess.

http://whyfiles.org/shorties/079bact_gene/

http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/05_01/Gene_transfer.shtml[/u]
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2005, 22:58:37 »

Cannot this faster human evolution be seen in relation to the free will? Animals have free behavior patterns, whereas humans can shift between different patters (including there the possibility to behave like different animals, let's say dogs, snakes... wink  evil ). This freedom is being given to humans in order to allow them to develop a more and more subtle perception of the behavior pattern concept - the moral pursue. (So the acquisition of the free will would be a paradigm shift, too.)

Generally it is considered that genes should have a physical causal evolution, determined strictly by mutations occurred in the reproduction process. And it was considered for a long time that genes remain unchanged throughout the life of an individual.
Now, I've heard in a spiritual context this idea, that genes will not remain unchanged, but are influenced by our behavior. (This would bring the science and the moral-religious views at a common point, and would imply also that particularities as homosexuality, for instance, cannot be blamed on genes, but are the result of an behavior which does not reflect the adequate pattern.) Can this be correct?
Later I found an article in a 'Science et vie' magazine, reporting about a laboratory in Israel (I don't seem to find a related link), where it has been concluded that the DNA structure does not remain intact, but each second segments of it DNA are being hit and destructed under the influence of different cell particles, and of course, these segments are immediately replaced, of course not with identical fragments (is would be impossible), but with what is available at that moment in the particular cell. This was the the report.
Is it now logical to consider that these available substances are directly influenced by the cell activity, by hormones, which on their turn are influenced by what we eat, what we do and what we think? And, of course, by our moral behavior?
It's interesting that, when noticing a major change in the DNA, which cannot be explained by physical causal mutation, scientists assume there must be some bacterias responsible for it. So they always have to look for answers at a physical level. But our emotions and feelings are not influencing our cell condition more then a flue or other bacteria caused diseases or symptoms? This Tree of life has to be always a physical one? It is obvious that for a person whose attention is mainly focused on the intellectual level, the mind activity will strongly influence the physical side and the cell activity, too. At least by adrenaline and endorphins, they might by the most common to think of.
C.G.Jung reports in "Memories, dreams, reflections" (I hope this is the correct English title) about a patient who had murdered her husband, and subsequently, though she succeeded in concealing her deed and had absolutely no remorses, had started being instinctively avoided by her daughter, by friends, even by her favorite animals, who had become aggressive to her. It' interesting, because Jung suggests by this that we inter react at a subtle moral level.
Then, if our moral behavior is being felt at a subtle level by other beings, is it not felt also by our own body? Will it not leave it's tracks on a cell level?
Maybe those 223 genes are the result of a paradigm shift.
And I think that it was M.Foucault who asserted that we are heading to another paradigm shift.
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pharmakeia
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2005, 20:46:15 »

Quote from: Logic

I dont see why you would consider it a social skill, powered by society, it just doesnt seem logical..


For some reason we've allowed abstract geometry to control and channel our lines of natural human relationship energies. As pink floyd said " bring down the wall!"

Just something else to keep the imaginary ferris go wheel going round.
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