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Author Topic: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?  (Read 21334 times)

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2007, 07:17:10 PM »
Does anybody agree with this cognitive evolution book's argument that some cultures make people smarter? What's the LSAT score impact of gangsta rap? street culture? ebonics?

Ah finally, some direction ;).  How are they defining "smart"?  I think some cultures are better at imparting skills currently valued by our "meritocratic" society.

I'm slowly (very slowly) wading through the book. But from what I gather it's saying that patterns of thought physically alter the brain, and make new kinds of thoughts possible, which then further alter the brain in a continuing spiral. It keeps saying that what we know is what we demonstrate first in our physical brain form and then this is reflected in our surrounding society. ( a collection of brains in action)
It seems to say that if you walk through a neighborhood you see a snap shot of the thinking patterns of the people who live there. A chaotic area reflects disordered thinking.

There's a lot of technical stuff about how the brain created the thumb and so forth which made man's ancestors able to think and do different kinds of things.

I haven't come across a definition of smart yet, but it does appear to state that people are inherently equal (Homo sapiens) and that IQ scores are not immutable (evolutionary jerks), but standardized achievement test scores on average do reflect what in fact people know ( how they think) at any given point. The book claims that people must do what they can't do until they can do it. Then their brains are wired differently and they can do more.
There's a great line "illiteracy does not spawn literature."

I would imagine that in law school disordered thinking is not advantageous. Learning how to think like a lawyer has to change the brain.

Is it easier being a 3L than a 1L?



re: that final question, I think there are more factors involved in the answer to that question than how the brain has "evolved" through two years of law school. 

Still, I agree with the idea that some cultures/ethnicities (through their norms) and blood-lines (through the genetic make-up of the brain) do a better job at producing analytical thinkers than others.  A comparison of average IQs across cultures and ethnicities and races shows that to be true. 

And I see that we are all "equal" in the sense any culture or race lagging behind in this respect can "catch up" by changing certain thought patterns and mental activities while reinforcing others.

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2007, 07:20:29 PM »
Interesting.

I always saw language as being the key and essential difference between humans and other primates and animals.

I asked one of my sorta geeky friends about this and he said monkeys do not possess language. They do communicate, however. Mainly they send signals about food, or being the same as other monkeys, or warnings of pending danger to other monkeys. They squawk and cry out.
 
Monkeys can't perform the mental activities required for speaking human type languages but their brains have regions that are  similar in structure to language areas in people.

I guess this monkey math article is saying that counting dots in the head does not require a human language.
Obviously writing a report about the counting does.
I think it would be cool if we could get the monkeys' take on all this. ;D


To me, the importance of language always had to do with the fact that, in language, we both implicitly and explicitly assert our self-awareness.  By seeing that others are as self-aware as I am, I can identify and bond with them and we can work together to make sure that our collective needs are met.  It's like being in a club.  If you can assert that you are self-aware, then you are in the club.  If another animal species could do this (like we always imagine sentient aliens to be through science fiction), then they could be considered as "human" as us humans.

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2007, 07:28:07 PM »
Does anybody agree with this cognitive evolution book's argument that some cultures make people smarter? What's the LSAT score impact of gangsta rap? street culture? ebonics?

Ah finally, some direction ;).  How are they defining "smart"?  I think some cultures are better at imparting skills currently valued by our "meritocratic" society.

I'm slowly (very slowly) wading through the book. But from what I gather it's saying that patterns of thought physically alter the brain, and make new kinds of thoughts possible, which then further alter the brain in a continuing spiral. It keeps saying that what we know is what we demonstrate first in our physical brain form and then this is reflected in our surrounding society. ( a collection of brains in action)
It seems to say that if you walk through a neighborhood you see a snap shot of the thinking patterns of the people who live there. A chaotic area reflects disordered thinking.

There's a lot of technical stuff about how the brain created the thumb and so forth which made man's ancestors able to think and do different kinds of things.

I haven't come across a definition of smart yet, but it does appear to state that people are inherently equal (Homo sapiens) and that IQ scores are not immutable (evolutionary jerks), but standardized achievement test scores on average do reflect what in fact people know ( how they think) at any given point. The book claims that people must do what they can't do until they can do it. Then their brains are wired differently and they can do more.
There's a great line "illiteracy does not spawn literature."

I would imagine that in law school disordered thinking is not advantageous. Learning how to think like a lawyer has to change the brain.

Is it easier being a 3L than a 1L?



Hmm makes sense to me, although I don't know if I buy the "driving through a neighborhood" bit.  Being a 3L isn't necessarily easier, but doing the work of a lawyer is.

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2008, 02:09:18 PM »
Interesting.

I always saw language as being the key and essential difference between humans and other primates and animals.
To me, the importance of language always had to do with the fact that, in language, we both implicitly and explicitly assert our self-awareness.  By seeing that others are as self-aware as I am, I can identify and bond with them and we can work together to make sure that our collective needs are met.  It's like being in a club.  If you can assert that you are self-aware, then you are in the club.  If another animal species could do this (like we always imagine sentient aliens to be through science fiction), then they could be considered as "human" as us humans.

I'm reading sections of the cognitive evolution book out of order to get a feel for the theory. Later I'll go back and try to delve into the scientific evidence offered.
Your "self-aware" comments are touched on in a sense. There are a few relevant paragraphs about cannibals. It's pointed out that most cannibals would not eat the flesh of a human being whose face was recognized. A "stranger" could be consumed.  Human value for "bonding" (not eating) was dependent upon visual recognition as part of or friendly to the tribe. Brain eating rituals were different. The brains of deceased wise elders, etc. were sampled to absorb the desirable qualities of the deceased.
This philosophy does appear to be similar to that of racial, ethnic & 'religious' gangs and movements today.
The primarily western idea of the value and sanctity of an individual human life (worthy of bonding) is actually quite revolutionary. Language permitted this evolution of thought. It did not mandate it?



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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2008, 02:35:00 PM »
Does anybody agree with this cognitive evolution book's argument that some cultures make people smarter? What's the LSAT score impact of gangsta rap? street culture? ebonics?

Ah finally, some direction ;).  How are they defining "smart"?  I think some cultures are better at imparting skills currently valued by our "meritocratic" society.

I'm slowly (very slowly) wading through the book. But from what I gather it's saying that patterns of thought physically alter the brain, and make new kinds of thoughts possible, which then further alter the brain in a continuing spiral. It keeps saying that what we know is what we demonstrate first in our physical brain form and then this is reflected in our surrounding society. ( a collection of brains in action)
It seems to say that if you walk through a neighborhood you see a snap shot of the thinking patterns of the people who live there. A chaotic area reflects disordered thinking.

There's a lot of technical stuff about how the brain created the thumb and so forth which made man's ancestors able to think and do different kinds of things.

I haven't come across a definition of smart yet, but it does appear to state that people are inherently equal (Homo sapiens) and that IQ scores are not immutable (evolutionary jerks), but standardized achievement test scores on average do reflect what in fact people know ( how they think) at any given point. The book claims that people must do what they can't do until they can do it. Then their brains are wired differently and they can do more.
There's a great line "illiteracy does not spawn literature."

I would imagine that in law school disordered thinking is not advantageous. Learning how to think like a lawyer has to change the brain.

Is it easier being a 3L than a 1L?



re: that final question, I think there are more factors involved in the answer to that question than how the brain has "evolved" through two years of law school. 

Still, I agree with the idea that some cultures/ethnicities (through their norms) and blood-lines (through the genetic make-up of the brain) do a better job at producing analytical thinkers than others.  A comparison of average IQs across cultures and ethnicities and races shows that to be true. 

And I see that we are all "equal" in the sense any culture or race lagging behind in this respect can "catch up" by changing certain thought patterns and mental activities while reinforcing others.

Would have to disagree with you here, Mortimer. I submit that it has been proven time and time again that environment, more so than race or culture alone, is the predominant factor in determining mental ability/analytical acumen.  To the extent that one's environment is dictated or defined by racial or cultural barriers, then you have a point there, but I would be careful to distinguish which one is the controlling factor here.  If Frank Lucas had been born into an environment such as, say, the Hamptons or something like that, he could have easily been the next CEO of Merrill Lynch or Chairman of American Express.

The factor of race is definitely relevant when we're talking about the conditions in the U.S., but I would have to submit that it plays a secondary roll to environment for purposes of determining the ability to think.


-Just call me Randolf  ;)
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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2008, 04:01:35 PM »
Does anybody agree with this cognitive evolution book's argument that some cultures make people smarter? What's the LSAT score impact of gangsta rap? street culture? ebonics?

Ah finally, some direction ;).  How are they defining "smart"?  I think some cultures are better at imparting skills currently valued by our "meritocratic" society.

I'm slowly (very slowly) wading through the book. But from what I gather it's saying that patterns of thought physically alter the brain, and make new kinds of thoughts possible, which then further alter the brain in a continuing spiral. It keeps saying that what we know is what we demonstrate first in our physical brain form and then this is reflected in our surrounding society. ( a collection of brains in action)
It seems to say that if you walk through a neighborhood you see a snap shot of the thinking patterns of the people who live there. A chaotic area reflects disordered thinking.

There's a lot of technical stuff about how the brain created the thumb and so forth which made man's ancestors able to think and do different kinds of things.

I haven't come across a definition of smart yet, but it does appear to state that people are inherently equal (Homo sapiens) and that IQ scores are not immutable (evolutionary jerks), but standardized achievement test scores on average do reflect what in fact people know ( how they think) at any given point. The book claims that people must do what they can't do until they can do it. Then their brains are wired differently and they can do more.
There's a great line "illiteracy does not spawn literature."

I would imagine that in law school disordered thinking is not advantageous. Learning how to think like a lawyer has to change the brain.

Is it easier being a 3L than a 1L?



re: that final question, I think there are more factors involved in the answer to that question than how the brain has "evolved" through two years of law school. 

Still, I agree with the idea that some cultures/ethnicities (through their norms) and blood-lines (through the genetic make-up of the brain) do a better job at producing analytical thinkers than others.  A comparison of average IQs across cultures and ethnicities and races shows that to be true. 

And I see that we are all "equal" in the sense any culture or race lagging behind in this respect can "catch up" by changing certain thought patterns and mental activities while reinforcing others.

Would have to disagree with you here, Mortimer. I submit that it has been proven time and time again that environment, more so than race or culture alone, is the predominant factor in determining mental ability/analytical acumen.  To the extent that one's environment is dictated or defined by racial or cultural barriers, then you have a point there, but I would be careful to distinguish which one is the controlling factor here.  If Frank Lucas had been born into an environment such as, say, the Hamptons or something like that, he could have easily been the next CEO of Merrill Lynch or Chairman of American Express.

The factor of race is definitely relevant when we're talking about the conditions in the U.S., but I would have to submit that it plays a secondary roll to environment for purposes of determining the ability to think.


-Just call me Randolf  ;)

Oh, Randolf, I was definitely NOT trying to say that environment is a non-factor.  Wouldn't culture be considered an environmental factor? 

I do believe that genetics is also a factor, but I certainly would not exclude upbringing and conditioning.  Which set of factors (genetic vs. environmental) is most responsible for analytic thinking is debatable.  Personally, I see no reason to think that it can't be moreso genetics for one great thinker and upbringing/environment for another great thinker and maybe split even for a third.  Depends on the circumstances. 

Would you exclude genes as a factor in cognitive or analytical ability?

-Mort

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2008, 05:30:10 PM »
do you have any links?  I was under the general impression that that genetics was more responsible for analytic capacity, while family upbringing and cultural conditions were responsible for shaping the genetic capacity.  That is probably what the original post was referring to by societies.

http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html

My personal opinion is that genetics plays the positive factor, while the vast majority of cultural indoctrination introduces a negative influence.

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2008, 06:34:31 PM »
do you have any links?  I was under the general impression that that genetics was more responsible for analytic capacity, while family upbringing and cultural conditions were responsible for shaping the genetic capacity.  That is probably what the original post was referring to by societies.

http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html

My personal opinion is that genetics plays the positive factor, while the vast majority of cultural indoctrination introduces a negative influence.


The last chapter of cognitive evolution has an unusual take on the g factor. See table of contents.
http://universal-publishers.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581129815

There is also a picture of Einstein's brain in the book which shows some structural differences from the 'control' brains. Did that result from an original difference or the extraordinary use of his spatial intelligence?

The theory is claiming that on average our brains (if physically normal) are created by what our existences (from conception at least) feed into them, primarily our culturally imposed identities of self.

For example, Black children reared by normally functioning Whites have higher average IQs than similar Blacks reared by normally functioning Blacks. The kidsí genes did not change when they became part of white households.

Maybe the kids reared by white families did not fully internalize a 'victim mentality.' Maybe they dared to begin to think of myriad possibilities like free White people.

Honestly, if this theory is correct, the Black White achievement gap is unconsciously culturally self imposed.  This is not the same old, same old. This book is explosive.

simonsays

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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2008, 07:48:33 PM »
Not to make light of your thread.... but some might sacrifice a few IQ points for some more fun  :)


http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/04/intercourse-and-intelligence.php

By the age of 19, 80% of US males and 75% of women have lost their virginity, and 87% of college students have had sex. But this number appears to be much lower at elite (i.e. more intelligent) colleges. According to the article, only 56% of Princeton undergraduates have had intercourse. At Harvard 59% of the undergraduates are non-virgins, and at MIT, only a slight majority, 51%, have had intercourse. Further, only 65% of MIT graduate students have had sex.

The student surveys at MIT and Wellesley also compared virginity by academic major. The chart for Wellesley displayed below shows that 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 72% of biology majors were virgins, and 83% of biochem and math majors were virgins! Similarly, at MIT 20% of 'humanities' majors were virgins, but 73% of biology majors. (Apparently those most likely to read Darwin are also the least Darwinian!)

Perhaps more revealing, HS, also showed that intelligence correlates with less sex within marriage for the same age range. While still consistent with pregnancy fears and competing interests, lower sex drive seems like a better fit. In fact another revealing finding from the Counterpoint survey was that while 95% of US men and 70% of women masturbate, this number is only 68% of men and 20% of women at MIT!


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Re: Evolutionary prospects for labeled "dull" and "superior" ?
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2008, 12:44:12 PM »
Does anybody agree with this cognitive evolution book's argument that some cultures make people smarter? What's the LSAT score impact of gangsta rap? street culture? ebonics?

Ah finally, some direction ;).  How are they defining "smart"?  I think some cultures are better at imparting skills currently valued by our "meritocratic" society.

I'm slowly (very slowly) wading through the book. But from what I gather it's saying that patterns of thought physically alter the brain, and make new kinds of thoughts possible, which then further alter the brain in a continuing spiral. It keeps saying that what we know is what we demonstrate first in our physical brain form and then this is reflected in our surrounding society. ( a collection of brains in action)
It seems to say that if you walk through a neighborhood you see a snap shot of the thinking patterns of the people who live there. A chaotic area reflects disordered thinking.

There's a lot of technical stuff about how the brain created the thumb and so forth which made man's ancestors able to think and do different kinds of things.

I haven't come across a definition of smart yet, but it does appear to state that people are inherently equal (Homo sapiens) and that IQ scores are not immutable (evolutionary jerks), but standardized achievement test scores on average do reflect what in fact people know ( how they think) at any given point. The book claims that people must do what they can't do until they can do it. Then their brains are wired differently and they can do more.
There's a great line "illiteracy does not spawn literature."

I would imagine that in law school disordered thinking is not advantageous. Learning how to think like a lawyer has to change the brain.

Is it easier being a 3L than a 1L?



re: that final question, I think there are more factors involved in the answer to that question than how the brain has "evolved" through two years of law school. 

Still, I agree with the idea that some cultures/ethnicities (through their norms) and blood-lines (through the genetic make-up of the brain) do a better job at producing analytical thinkers than others.  A comparison of average IQs across cultures and ethnicities and races shows that to be true. 

And I see that we are all "equal" in the sense any culture or race lagging behind in this respect can "catch up" by changing certain thought patterns and mental activities while reinforcing others.

Would have to disagree with you here, Mortimer. I submit that it has been proven time and time again that environment, more so than race or culture alone, is the predominant factor in determining mental ability/analytical acumen.  To the extent that one's environment is dictated or defined by racial or cultural barriers, then you have a point there, but I would be careful to distinguish which one is the controlling factor here.  If Frank Lucas had been born into an environment such as, say, the Hamptons or something like that, he could have easily been the next CEO of Merrill Lynch or Chairman of American Express.

The factor of race is definitely relevant when we're talking about the conditions in the U.S., but I would have to submit that it plays a secondary roll to environment for purposes of determining the ability to think.


-Just call me Randolf  ;)

Oh, Randolf, I was definitely NOT trying to say that environment is a non-factor.  Wouldn't culture be considered an environmental factor? 

I do believe that genetics is also a factor, but I certainly would not exclude upbringing and conditioning.  Which set of factors (genetic vs. environmental) is most responsible for analytic thinking is debatable.  Personally, I see no reason to think that it can't be moreso genetics for one great thinker and upbringing/environment for another great thinker and maybe split even for a third.  Depends on the circumstances. 

Would you exclude genes as a factor in cognitive or analytical ability?

-Mort

Obviously our genetic make up is ultimately responsible for everything that we are, biologically speaking.  There's no escaping that.  But for purposes of this debate, if we are to isolate those factors that are most responsible for producing analytical thinkers, once we assume that we're all (mankind) composed of roughly the exact same stuff going on at a genetic level (10 fingers, 10 toes, two eyes, etc.), the difference between analytical thinkers and non-analytical thinkers becomes one of upbringing and environment.

Now you bring up an interesting twist to environment - and that is the fact that environment is largely shaped by culture & race.  Whites tend to live around other whites, blacks around other blacks, professionals around other professionals, blue collar workers around other blue collar workers, etc. 

Environment is an interesting dynamic made up of many different factors.  What's even more interesting is when we take a an astute young white male like Winthorp, take away his job and put him in the ghetto and simultaneously take a downtrodden young black male like Valentine, pull him out of the ghetto and give him an ivy league job.  The proof is all around us everyday - people from well off families tend to do well academically.  This makes sense when you consider that once you can eliminate negative environmental factors, such as where your next meal is coming from or where you will sleep tomorrow, etc. you can begin to allow your brain to analyze items more academic in nature such as mathematical formulae, logic problems, and the like.

- Randolf
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston