bahman wrote: ↑Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:35 pm
[What do you mean by 'conditioned'? To believe something? To do something? To accept something?]
To accept that there is a correlation between two data.
You don't need conditioning for that; all you need is simple cognition. Conditioning is the formation of a habitual response to a specific stimulus or related set of stimuli.
Of course, there is wire in the brain so-called axons.
Those are not wires; they're the projections of neurons. They form networks with other neurons through synapses between the terminals of an axon and the dendrites of other neurons. Nothing is wired or rewired; neural networks from through learning, sensation and experience all the time. Pattern recognition also goes on all the time, regardless of intent or purpose.
[there are no "initial patterns" and what we call instinct are very complex thought-patterns that have been established through the many-generations-long survival of our ancestors]
Think of a dog who gets conditioned to the sound of a bell when afterward food is provided to him.
The known data are the sound of bell and food in which food is recognized through instinct.
Food is recognized by dogs primarily through smell. There is a complex pattern of identifiable smells, sounds and other environmental factors to the acquisition of food. The skills for tracking, hunting and killing of food in the wild has to be learned by each generation of carnivores over months of maturing, and is far more varied and complex than could be covered by a conditioned reflex. The acquisition of easy food, like roadkill or being fed by a human takes no special skill, so any puppy can do it without training. However, every puppy learns how to persuade its particular human to feed it. That's not instinct or conditioning; that's reasoned, experimental problem-solving.
The bell trick is an instance of conditioning. A bell has no natural correlation to dog-food: the objective of the conditioning is to form an artificial association, thus training the dog to respond to a bell in the same way
that it would respond to the presence of food.
Similarly, there is no natural (or initial, if you like) connection between the physical pleasure of masturbation and the fear of God, but if a parent hits a child and shouts "God will punish you!" every time he touches his genitals, the child learns to associate sexual pleasure with fear of punishment. The reproductive instinct being as strong as it, even most god-fearing individuals will eventually have sex - first surrounding it with appeasement rituals - and never entirely without fear.