The human brain is not part of of the natural organism

Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 12:54 pm
I call the human brain (mine included of course) 'defective'.

- We evolved very fast not only biological but also in our ways of social behaviour, the transition from nomadic to sedentary...
- If we are or were predators, why then do we procreate as if we are animals of prey?
- wherever we appear, we disturb the balance in nature (except 'old' communities living in the same way as thousands of years ago without destroying or altering the environment they live from and in).

So I tried to find some explanation which of course is hypothetical and in no way scientifically proven.

a) a primal fear (perhaps the wrong word...) because we want to be part of nature but we don't succeed because our brain itself is an obstacle. If we (still?) would have an instinct apparatus, we would of course be a specie of animals like all the other species, fulfilling a balance function in nature.

b) because we feel or know or experience that we are no longer part of nature, and therefore are unable to achieve a balance between ourselves and nature, and between ourselves, we invent with our defective brain rules and laws to create order. We try to imitate natural laws. Rules and laws (religieus laws (animistic (first?) and later on civil laws) are imitations of rules which we would have had if we would have been part of nature.

c) these religious and civil laws, including ethics, including politics, morals... can never guarantee that progeniture obeys these laws and rules. They are not perfect since they are a product of our brain and therefore they need to be changed and adapted all the time. They also differ from one part of the world to another part of the world, and very often they are even contradictory to each other, although we all belong to homo sapiens.

The prominent question is 'why did we start to think?'.
I cannot understand that nature would allow one specie to destroy her or to disturb the balance the organism tries to maintain in producing a brain that is not capable of receiving x number of factors to respond adequately upon.

I don't want to proof anything, I'm in fact challenging this vieuw but I can't think of arguments to pull it down. I'm on this trail since I was eleven yars old and it never left me. When I tried to talk about it, persons felt offended and even called me arrogant, just because I put some question marks behind human intelligence...

So do not spare me. Perhaps I can at last let it go and remove f.i. the two big and beautiful spiders hanging above my kitchen sink without remorse.

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Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 02:05 pm
We didn't evolve very quickly. We've had our current brain for 100,000 to 150,000 years. It was crucial to our evolutionary success. Our brains excel at pattern recognition. This has been crucial to the development of our hunting and gathering skills, which, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago allowed us to begin the process of the domestication of plants and animals.

Not to mention bank cards, car keys and iphones . . .
Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 02:10 pm
I don't know about your brain-
but mine is really bossy
I come home from a day on the golf course
and I find all these messages
scribbled on wrinkled up scraps of paper
And they say thing like:
Why don't you get a real job?
Or: You and what army?
Or: Get a horse.
cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 02:12 pm
Of coarse, the human brain is not perfect; nothing is. However, we must learn to measure relevance and its relative quality as a "natural organism." The use of the human brain has been phenomenal over the span of our brains evolution.

If you believe the human brain is not part of the natural organism, you need to explain why that is so.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 02:56 am
an interesting thing to consider is the relationship between brain-size, the upright posture, and the physiology of birth.

The transition to the very large cranium happened very quickly in evolutionary terms. The combination of this with the upright gait has many consequences. The birth canal of the human female relative to the size of the cranium is very narrow. This is one of the reasons that human infants are born with a soft skull which does not harden for several months after birth.

As a result of this, human birth mortality is much higher than it is for the other primates. Also human infants are extremely helpless at birth, and cannot cling to their mother, like other primates.

So it is interesting to consider how it is that the higher infant mortality rates and other hazards of being born human were offset by the immediate evolutionary advantages of being born with a brain which would eventually be able to type this message. You do wonder what it was out there on the primeval plains that provided an evolutionary advantage to our amazing intellectual capacity, prior to the invention of any of the devices and technologies which we now associate with it.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 04:26 am
either you have a lot of money, or insufficient medication. Possibly both.
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Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 11:35 am
jeeprs wrote:
So it is interesting to consider how it is that the higher infant mortality rates and other hazards of being born human were offset by the immediate evolutionary advantages of being born with a brain which would eventually be able to type this message. You do wonder what it was out there on the primeval plains that provided an evolutionary advantage to our amazing intellectual capacity, prior to the invention of any of the devices and technologies which we now associate with it.

Homo sapiens sapiens lived on the periglacial steppes of the ice ages, and the obvious advantages of the brain are cooperative hunting, and the pattern recognition which allows hunters and gatherers to predict where game or forage will be found. There are many other advantages which accrue, also. I believe i am correct in stating that archaeologists now believe that even homo neanderthalis used iron pyrite and flint to start fires many tens of thousands of years ago. It is necessary to determine what constitute the technologies and devices which our intellects provided. The evidence is good that tools were being made and used long before homo sapiens arrived on the scene.
cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 12:14 pm
That reminds me of the tools that monkeys use to extract termites for eating.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 12:22 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Otters will use a flat rock to smash the shells of shell fish which they wish to eat, too. Tool use is not restricted to humans. Our brains have given us the opportunity to exploit tool use.
cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 05:03 pm
Yes, I've seen videos about them.
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Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 06:14 pm
It is also interesting to see how the vocal tract changes from new born to toddler. Speech and upright walking may have developed simultaneously along with the increase in cranial capacity. Newborns, even though researchers have show that they understand a lot more than previously thought cannot physically talk back. Their vocal tract is still that of a primate. It is that way seemingly so that they can breath and swallow at the same time. As they grow their vocal track expands to create the resonance space and tongue movement space required for human speech, but in doing so we lose the ability to swallow and breath at the same time and increase our likelyhood of choking.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 06:34 pm
certain species of Homo actually had larger cranial capacities than Hss. Hs idaltu had a larger cranial capacity as did many specimens of Neanderthal.

I guess Im not fully understanding the original position of this thread.
Years ago, on "Outer Limits" there was an episode with David Mcallum (Who plays " Dr ducky" on NCIS today). He was caught in an evolution machine and began going through several stages of human evolution to an ultimate "stage of pure reason". It was kinda hokey but fun.
In several cases of animals evolution , the brain FOLLOWS function, not leads.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 10:53 pm
Thank you, Setanta.

I had to look up 'pattern recognition' : 'the act of taking in raw data and taking an action based on the category of the pattern' .It is more complex than that : 'a prior knowledge, statistical knowledge'. I still have to read more about it.

If I understand correctly what is meant by 'pattern recognition', I'm thinking spontaneously of my birds in the aviary. I offer them plants, seeds and insects from the garden they've never been confronted with. Their parents could never have taught them which plants and seeds...are edible. Yet they make a very sharp selection not only between the different plants and seeds but also between the growth stage in which the plant and the seed is offered to them.
Some seeds they don't eat in July. In August, however, they do.
Some species of plants they never eat, idem with some species of seeds. By mistake I offer them poisinous plants. They don't touch these.

How can they make this distinction? Do they smell whether a plant is edible or not?
We, as humans, have the tendency to smell our food before eating... sometime even in a restaurant, I observed. But even with our smell, sight and brain, we can never make a distinction between edible and posionous food unless we were taught and what is taught to us, is not always healthy.
Quails and chicken bred in an incubator breed naturally afterwards and are also able to select food they've never seen before. Is that not excellence in pattern recognition?
These are birds and not mammals. But even a petrabbit born in a flat on the seventh floor makes this selection. Most people think that a rabbit eats carrots, lettuce and the dry food from the petchop. They eat much more and not because they don't have enough food. Mine ate even the thorns of rosary branches, but... here again... not in every stage of growth of the rosary branches. So animals don't only select different kinds of food but also have the capacity to distinguish or select the best time to eat that specific plant.
Some plants they never ate. I have observed many more things in connection with the choice of the right spot to build a nest

So that makes me think of the possibility that humans excelled much more in hunting and gathering skills before they used fire, spoke, buried their deceased clanmembers.

I know that domestication of animals is always presented as an achievement, a success... I had to to teach it as such in secondary school. I don't see it as an achievement anymore. To me it is more the first significant indication of a gap between human beings and nature. Look where we are now. I give two extreme examples : in Europe most cows can not give birth anymore in a natural way, the selling of sowing seed which are genetically manipulated to farmers, and yes, of course there where there is a 'market' (food shortage or analphabetism). Corn f.i. produces corn that cannot be used as sowing seed. It's sterile. Feodality in the 21st century... without borders.
My two grandfathers who were farmers would turn in their grave if they would know such a thing existed. I have a small garden, but I've started to collect the seeds of vegetables and flowers.
Where did it start? Around 10,000 bc as you mentioned, sedentarism and domestication of animals and plants.
I'm just mentioning in additon the cattle industry in South-America, the palm oil development in Asia...

I suspect that plants also excell in 'pattern recognition'. They are very intriguing in their different stages of growth.

But I have to read much more about 'pattern recognition'. Thank you for mentioning it!
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 10:56 pm
Thank you, djjd62

I also would like to have a horse, if only to smell and to look at it daily.
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Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 11:55 pm
indeed they did. Although smaller frontal areas and their vocal tracts although not fully primate did not have the same capacity for distinct phoneme variety that we have.
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Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 12:08 am
@cicerone imposter,
Thank you, Cicerone Imposter

To me the organism of nature without human intervention of any kind, is the most perfect thing I know. This impression has grown over decennia. I want to know more about it but my brain is the obstacle itself. I have to throw a lot of education over board, get rid of truths taken for granted for so long.
Ten years ago I was looking for something I could trust. So I came to nature. The fact that it existed long before homo sapiens was very important.
Nature has always been depicted as lovely..., but when she causes collateral damage, she is the enemy and vengeful... lately more than ever because of the extreme floods, the extreme droughts...

I don't mean the brains physically, I mean the way it functions, its productions, the consequenes of our thinking, the inventions and/or adaptations and applications.
I'm trying to explain why I think it can't be part of nature. I can't explain it in a few sentences because there is so much:

- the fact of language, speech,
- the way we procreate,
- the way we organise our community (village to country, to alliances between countries) hiërarchically
- why cultures contradict each other (ethics, moral,...)
- the consequences of patriarchal leadership (did matriarchal communities exist much more than we think?)
- homosexuality
- why we need religion
- why we drug ourselves (alcohol or otherwise)
- one reality or more, and what about virtual realities?
- economy for the people or people for the economy
- citizenship or consumership and why
- why do humans deal with pain and suffering the way they do (torture,...)
- why are mystical, spiritual elements mostly located in space?

Perhaps some of these items will be brought to attention and then, of course, I will explain. The list itself is not finished.

An overall explanation is : we destroy nature and/or disturb the balance wherever we intervene (at the exclusion of small communities living the way they have lived for thousands of years). Most people are afraid of wild nature (a park where you jog every day has nothing to do with nature, even if the birds are singing in the trees).
If we want to know anything about nature we have to have labs, microscope, statistics, methods of study...even then we fail to see the connections between most plants and most animal species... there is no overall vieuw.
We also maintain the illusion more than ever that we don't need nature at all.
So all that, the way we think, the fact that we think doesn't belong in nature. Where it belongs, where it came from, I don't know.

Sometimes I think in ways of a big joke, that a young alien had to do some homework and was sent to earth. By mistake he injected something in one of the living creatures... the whole thing got out of hand... Since that happened they are watching from a safe distance... a big joke.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 04:34 am
well I hate to open the darwinism can of worms again, but the fact is that all of the individual, incremental changes that came about in the transition from primate to h sapiens look awfully as though they are kind of 'orchestrated'. In other words, any one of those changes seems rather difficult to account for in terms of providing immediate adaptive advantages, especially when viewed individually. Again, I am not disputing that H Sapiens did evolve from Ramapithecus, very much as per the current model, but I do wonder whether to what extent the engine of development was 'random changes'.
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:24 am
You seem to have a pretty good grasp of reality; we are capable to destroy this planet, and we're on our way to do so. Not only because of the explosion of our population, but because of the advances we have made to create creature comforts. Humans talk a good game about greening our society, but the reality is that more and more cars occupy roads around the world that uses raw materials that are a limited resource. We build buildings we call skyscrapers, and airplanes cover our skies every day burning fuel by millions of gallons every day.

The only thing that slows down this so-called progress is the world economy depression. The level of production slows down a little, but these things live in cycles. There will be a time in the future, maybe in about 5 to 10 years, when productivity will grow to past growth rates of 3 to 10%. There is a contradiction between what we call wealth and the survival of this planet.

Human intelligence is an oxymoron.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:53 am
I've read anthropologists who assert that humans have color vision, as do other animals, in order to see which plants (especially fruits) are ripe, which are not yet ripe, and which are rotting. (Rotten fruit might be avoided, but not necessarily--in a December, 1940 National Geographic article which i once read, the orange crop in South Africa was rotting due to the war, the German u-boats making it too risky to ship what was to the Brits a luxury crop. Elephants from the surrounding plains would come into the orange groves for the express purpose of eating oranges which were beginning to ferment. According to the South African farmers, the elephants knew when the oranges would get them high, and they claimed that the animals got excited and tore around acting silly until they fell asleep.)

It is entirely possible that the clues for your birds are olfactory--after all, there is nothing which states that pattern recognition must be restricted to vision. However, i believe that it is true that birds are the other animals, like humans and other great apes, which rely primarily on their vision. It is entirely possible that even when presented with unfamiliar seeds, plants and insects, their pattern recognition tells them which ones are edible. For an animal such as a dog, of course, olfactory clues would be paramount, as they rely on smell in the same way that we rely on sight. If a dog shows curiosity about what you are doing, "show" it to their nose, that's the main way they get information about their world.

I can't claim to know enough about birds to tell you how important the sense of smell is to them.


The domestication of plants and animals, it seems, took place in situations in which game and forage were sufficiently plentiful that humans did not have to travel far to meet their needs. It is significant that Israeli archaeologists have identified sites in which modern humans lived, and into which Neanderthals subsequently moved. The Neanderthals eventually moved on, or died. The middens from their sites showed that they primarily relied on hunting. If game grew scarce, it behooved them to move on.

But the early modern humans could supply a good deal of their diet with forage, and in the Middle East and the northern part of what is now China, a situation obtained between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago in which there was sufficient game and forage that the hunter-gatherers could become relatively sedentary, allowing for domestication. Jared Diamond also points out that the axis of trade and travel in the Eurasian landmass is east and west. Any plant or animal which could survive in the Middle East in those days could survive in what is now northern China. So goats and melons could travel east to China, and chickens and pigs could travel west to the Middle East and Europe. Domestic plants from the central Mexican plateau took far longer to penetrate central and northern North America because they had to cross hostile desert regions, and to penetrate South America, they had to cross rain forest zones--they wouldn't just spread over the generations as they probably did in the Eurasian landmass.

Pattern recognition would quickly have told early modern humans, with their very diverse diet, that these places offered them the chance to eat well year round. The early modern humans of the ice ages lived well, because the periglacial steppes were rich in game animals. The conditions mitigated against forest (which is what they became in the centuries after the retreat of the glaciers), but favored grass lands. However, late winter and early spring was the dying time. Weak children and old folk (which in those days meant over 35 years of age) died off in great numbers. Arriving in post-ice age China or the Middle East, and seeing all the game, and all the forage, and quickly discovering that good forage was available throughout most of the year must have made these regions seem truly to have been promised lands to the hardy modern humans who moved south from the former periglacial steppes as the game which had specialized in those grass lands died off.

Curiously, the most recent archaeological evidence is that the first domesticated plant was the fig, about 11,500 to 13,000 years ago in central Asia. Not much is known about the conditions which obtained there at that time, because not much archaeological investigation has been done in the central Asian highlands. Archaeology in the west focused on "classical" civilization and the biblical regions from the 19th century onward, so information about early modern man was "stumbled upon" as they looked for Ur of the Chaldees and Noah's Ark.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:56 am
Ramepithicus is far from "the current model." In fact, many modern scientists have abandoned the notion that there ever was a ramepithecus. It seems to me that you're trying to shoe-horn the evidence into your preferred religious model. The bible boys always trot out that "random" bogeyman.

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