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Thread: Is Human Nature Determined by Our Material Conditions?

  1. Top | #91
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Really? Maybe this will help. Back in a 1977 dissertation at FSU a student found movement of sound was examined using pink noise from a single source in an anechoic chamber in a study where device movement was masked. It was found that observers used two cues to determine whether sound, Traveling under 8 degrees per second, was moving in a forced choice discrimination experiment. Those cues were pinna effects for vertical movement and frequency differences for lateral movement. Both cues were the result of detecting relative change in apparent frequency IAC time-distance (doppler effect).

    In the other study conducted by the same student as a postdoc while at CalTech in 1980 recorded single and multiple cell response in rats to sound, visual, and somatosensory stimuli at various levels of hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain along appropriate sensory and motor tracts. Expectation was that at some point in these processing channels a new signal would be detected that predicted altered behavior as the rat performed in a multiple choice lever pressing experiment.

    Instead experimenters found electrical activity for ascending and descending was changing with repetitions at every level in every tract IAC information gains related to number of trials. IOW instead of a place for learning the neural substrate was generating differential activity IAC with practice up and down the sensory motor tracts. This fits with other studies which show similar neural practice and repetition effects for a variety of activities.

    Really just firmer confirmations of the universality of neural optimistic evolution. Using existing substrates within and across modalities to achieve similar neural solutions appropriate to physical dimensions and the existence of neural plasticity underlying behavior.

    Also, if you don't think successful researchers are survivors you are naive.

    If I were an actual BSer I would have claimed to be the scientist that destroyed multidimensional pilot workload estimating as appropriate for most theoretical models of workload published in Edwards AF publication in 1982, a primary designer of primary flight displays for MD-11 in 1989, proved the value of embedding measurements into images and video in support of distance R&M in 1997, Developed on the fly machine vision validation for C-17 in fuselage assembly in 1999, and retired here to happy rainforest in 2002.

    I actually did all those things but wasn't really given much credit for them except by my bride for finding our rainforest on the lake with an ocean view.
    Last edited by fromderinside; 06-11-2019 at 12:20 AM.

  2. Top | #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ryan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    Which new theoretical model do you favour? Why not post a summary?
    I just did. Then there is the Penrose and Hameroff paper. It actually supports free will using quantum mechanics.
    I don't see where or why or in what way these model actually support the idea of free will given the flaws that have already been pointed out. You need to provide something more specific than just posting links and mentioning this or that article.
    I have already explained.

  3. Top | #93
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    I don't see where or why or in what way these model actually support the idea of free will given the flaws that have already been pointed out. You need to provide something more specific than just posting links and mentioning this or that article.
    I have already explained.
    The problems that were pointed were ignored. Basically, if you can't access or regulate quantum activity or what your cells are doing while they are forming your experience of the world and self, thoughts, decisions, you have no regulative control of your underlying condition, hence no ability to have done otherwise in any given instance in time, therefore your definition of free will fails.

  4. Top | #94
    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Two scenarios, ryan:

    1. A quantum particle encased in a box is connected to a radio transmitter. When it randomly decays, it sets off the transmitter, which sends a message to a special receiver wired to my brain, causing me to lift my arm.

    2. A quantum particle residing in my brain somewhere undergoes a random event, setting off a cascade of events that in clusters of neurons that causes me to lift my arm.

    If I'm understanding you correctly, you would say that 2 is what free will means, but it sounds an awful lot like 1 except for the location of the quantum particle. In both cases, there's essentially a train of causality interrupted by an unpredictable zap from a phenomenon originating outside (1) or inside (2) the brain. Functionally the two scenarios are actually identical, if we assume the receiver in the first case exactly replicates all the functions of the neurons in the second case.

    One could picture a guy wandering around with a receiver in his head, and at random moments, a decaying particle in a box somewhere would cause him to do things like lift his arm, turn his head to the right, or wiggle his toes. That seems like a clear case of someone being manipulated by a force beyond his willpower. Yet, replace the receiver with his actual neurons, and have the decaying particle do its thing inside his brain, and suddenly it becomes a person exercising his free will?

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Since most neurons in primary sensory tracts are know to receive communication from higher processes and lower processes that pretty much excludes a neuron from being The Decider. It may permit that cell adapting it's output from responding to lower processes information to what has taken place at some previous time what has resulted at pentultimate processes. Unfortunately that can be said for most any neuron in the ascending and descending process.

    A more plausible conclusion would be that whatever information being processed is the result of both more recent and previous input. This seems to be what fMRI studies suggest. Activity at some time at some process corresponds to what will be the organism's overall response prior to any action being taken by the organism. Not exactly promising data for those who suggest 'choice' is optional at some level.

    A reasonable conclusion from the above is that our nature is determined by Material conditions. There is no evidence of divine chimes other than what other animals are known to to be subject. There is no support to be drawn for any 'free' choice hypothesis from examination of organization or behavior.

  6. Top | #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    https://isreview.org/issue/82/marxis...d-human-nature

    In another thread, someone posted a picture of Engels holding his book, The origin of the family, private property and the state, and pointing out that what we view as human nature depends on our material conditions. I was intrigued and had never considered this. I always assumed that what we meant by human nature was something eternal that exists across different societies. So I googled the issue and found this article from a socialist website. I found it an interesting article and thought I would throw this out for criticism and discussion. Is what we think of as human nature then not really set, but is it dependent on how society is organized and what our material conditions are?

    One of the criticisms of Marxism I’ve seen from others is that it contradicts human nature. But if human nature is not so set, then the question becomes whether human nature could thus be altered in a way that socialism becomes feasible. If human nature is malleable, then do we always need a profit motive to be productive? By socialism, I mean the ownership of the means of production by society as a whole, rather than by shares of stock by individuals who thereby benefit from the profits of the enterprise. In true socialism there’d be no profits and all would share equally in work and what is produced. I’m not sure how human nature could be altered so that ideal would work. I think the article does have a point that in our distant past, we were probably very socialist in our organization. But our society is no longer a hunter gatherer society and we are not going back to that. (See my post in Nature and Science about Agriculture which also spun off from reading this article.)

    Still the basic question remains, is human nature truly malleable, set by our material conditions? Or is it something more eternal?

    SLD
    It is human nature that humans' behaviour is very much affected by external circumstances.

  7. Top | #97
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    It is also very much human nature that it is social which can color external circumstances.

  8. Top | #98
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    I would argue that human nature is not determined by our material conditions, but our behavior very much is.

    - Evolution moves slowly. Over broad swaths of time our DNA can be considered a constant, and genetics account for the brunt of our behavior. Meaning there should be something of an unchanging core to our nature and culture.

    - Where environmental conditions are constant we see similar cultures arise, and even when environmental conditions vary the cultures have more similarities than they do differences.

    - While it is true that we're able to adapt to the cultures we're born into, under normal circumstances our nature gives rise to the culture in the first place

    This is why socialism in the vein of Marx was such a failure, because it tried to create an artificial society too quickly, and reality bit it in the nads. Turns out Marx had elements of good intent, but for the most part was pseudo-scientific nonsense.

  9. Top | #99
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    Or perhaps humans are socialists on a small scale, family, friends, tribe, but not identifying with "the other" see an opportunity to profit from trade, war, etc....

  10. Top | #100
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    The word socialism has been so politicized I'm not sure most of the people who use it know what it means. Marx had the right idea - capitalism has inherent problems - but his theory on how it would evolve created more problems than it solved. That's not a knock at his intent, that's where he was on the right track. The problem came when people disrupted the natural order of things too quickly.

    But toward your point charity has always been a part of most societies, counter-balanced with our tendency to.. capitalize. But now what we call socialism really has nothing to do with Marx, and when both Conservatives or Liberals use the term, they're usually either disingenous or misinformed.

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