Misconceiving Truth

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the Hessian
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by the Hessian » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:46 am

Gee, cladking,

You've made some provocative posts recently that have given me a lot to think about, especially the exchange you had with each other, as well as posts that Gee made earlier about IQ, and that cladking made on another thread today about intelligence not existing. It has helped make very visible to me where our thinking diverges. I'd like to attend to this divergence and see what happens, but that might mean delaying talk about "truth" for right now.

I'm going to lay a few cards on the table:
  • There is nothing special about humans. We are evolved animals. We are part of nature, not an exception to it.
  • There is nothing special about the human brain. It is an evolved organ. It is natural, not supernatural.
I hope these are not controversial cards, but in case they are, I ask that you consider them an honest possibility. I think that they are important when it comes to talking about learned knowledge/whole knowledge, natural/unnatural, analog/digital, conscious/unconscious and intelligence. Let's see how.

1. Evolution is Bananas

What color is a banana? Yellow? Well, we certainly experience it as yellow. Subjectively, it is yellow. But objectively, we know that the banana is not yellow. The philosophers in us might want to get sidetracked here and spin this conversation in a new direction, but let's not do that yet. There's another interesting point here. What color is a banana in the sunlight? When it's cloudy? In the moonlight? Again, subjectively it's yellow and objectively it's not yellow. But it's also objectively different in sunlight than it is in the moonlight, even though subjectively it's the same. Our subjective experience of it being yellow is arbitrary, yes, but it's also the function of an evolutionary adaptation whereby our eyes and visual cortex compensate for different objective conditions to produce the same subjective condition of yellow.

Now what color is a banana in a parking lot at night? Objectively again it's different, but this time it is also subjectively different. It is no longer yellow. The sodium-vapor lights that make parking lots look so weird at night are "unnatural," which is very loaded way of saying that they are evolutionarily novel. They represent environmental conditions that did not exist when the systems of perceiving color evolved. All of this is to say, that our "innate knowledge," "wisdom," "non-linguistic closeness," "whole knowledge" of yellowness (to use your terms) is inextricably tied to our ancestral environment.

2. Why Birds Don't Do Philsophy
cladking wrote:The bird doesn't know how it knows to build a nest but it can see the nest from four dimensions and "instinct" guides its ability to weave twigs, branches, and bits of plastic bottles.
That birds "don't know HOW they know" is key. Let's allow ourselves for now to describe their nest-building ability as knowledge. What kind of knowledge is it? I'm not sure why instinct is in scare quotes because it seems perfectly reasonable to call it instinctual knowledge. But what does that mean? We could say it's a knowledge that's evolved and innate, rather than formally learned. We could also say, very importantly, that it is knowledge which is extremely domain-specific. The knowledge to "weave twigs, branches and bits of plastic bottles" comes into play to build nests, but only to build nests. None of that knowledge transfers over for any other purpose, although the ability could certainly be put to lots of other advantageous uses. The bird "doesn't know how it knows" to build nests, and "not knowing how it knows" it doesn't know how to do anything else. This, and exactly this, is how I understand what Gee means when he talks about "analog knowledge."

3. Socrates was a Digital Intelligence
cladking wrote:It's all this knowledge we use to deal with and function in the world. It is knowledge which is remote from the object of the knowledge and is learned rather than instinctive.
Gee wrote:In order for the analog (sub/unconscious) knowledge, which is fuller and more whole, to be known in the rational aspect of mind, the information has to be digitized.
I'm very indebted to you for introducing me to the analog digital metaphor. Let's get to work.

We have tons of subconscious, instinctive, analog knowledge. This analog knowledge is the result of evolved psychological adaptations that are domain-specific. I want to suggest that it is the domain-specificity itself that makes it seem "fuller and more whole," the knowledge is welded to its function, it is not free-floating. We "don't know how we know" analog knowledge.

For example, we have evolved a psychological mechanism wherein our perception of being excluded from a social group triggers activity in the same region of our brain that activates when we feel physical pain. It hurts to be excluded. There is a sort of evolutionary wisdom here, as surely it was advantageous to our survival to be part of a group. But there is equally blind instinct here, a drive to herd mentality even where it is not advantageous.
Gee wrote:But we also get information internally from emotion, awareness, and the self, but this is not traceable, and not really confirmable. This is the information that is often attributed to spirituality, the paranormal, or "God" and is most often confirmed through religion -- it is subjective information.
If the "not traceable, not really confirmable" "don't know how we know" information is analogue, then what is digitial? I want to suggest that the emphasis on language as the source is, I think, misplaced. Language is a tool, an extremely powerful tool, an enabler. But the source is intelligence, or more specifically, general intelligence. General intelligence corresponds, I think, with what you mean by the ability to digitze. General intelligence is an evolved adaptation for dealing with the domain of evolutionarily-novel, non-recurring problems. It is the ability to reason deductively, inductively, think abstractly or from "infinite perspective," synthesize information and apply it to new domains. It is the ability to digitize what we know, but don't know how we know, in order to then put that domain-specific knowledge to work in new contexts where no pre-existing psychological mechanisms exist.

Think of walking across a busy street as a sort of analogue mathematics. There's a lot of complexity going on there, but it's easy "common-sense." All of the calculations just kind of do themselves in a way. We don't know how we know how to do analogue math. On the one hand, that might make it seem more "whole," more "present," and more like something of the "Self" or even supernatural. But on the other hand, it also means that it's not available out of context. We can't do analytical mathematics the way we walk across a street. That ability to transfer knowledge across domains requires "digitization" and "infinite persepctive," also known as general intelligence or rationality.

I know you have both objected to the notion of intelligence, but what's fascinating to me is how close this all seems to fit with what you are both saying. Let's be clear that intelligence does not mean "smart." It means something like an evolved adaptation to deal with the evolutionarily novel. (Usually this comes at the expense of "common-sense" due to the tendency to over-analyze what Gee might call "wisdom.") Anyway, the evidence supporting general intelligence is overwhelming. General intelligence is measurable, and these measures correlate very highly across all kinds of socio-graphic data at statistical levels indicating the chance of coincidental relation to be between 1:100,000 all the way up to 1:4,000,000,000. Those are incredibly significant data effects for something that doesn't exist.

Here are some of the strong correlations for general intelligence taken from General Social Surveys (GSS), National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health), and National Child Development Study (NCDS):
  • political ideology (positively correlates with being more liberal, negatively correlates with conservatism (aren't conservatives common-sense?))
  • negatively correlates with religiosity (not at all surprising considering what we just talked about)
  • positively correlates with the value of sexual exclusivity in men (seems like evolutionary suicide)
  • positively correlates with later time to go to bed (again, not very in keeping with ancestral environment)
  • positively correlates with expressions of homsexual attraction (again, evolutionarily novel)
  • positively correlates with vegetariansim (not too much common-sense there!)
  • negatively correlates with number of children (evolutionarily stupid to not reproduce)
  • no meaningful correlation at all with navigation skills (analogue working jsut fine thank you very much)
I've gotten a bit off-track and it's late and I'm tired. Thanks for reading and awaiting your reply.

Ginkgo
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:25 am

There is actually such a things as intelligence. It is a generic term used in language that requires refinement depending on the organism we have in mind. All living things problem solve,including computers. If we don't like the term "intelligence" when talking about computers and single cell organisms then we can talk about how these things have the capacity to problem solve.

Single cells organisms problem solve in a similar way computers problem solve and plants problem solve. The difference centers on the capacity of the organism to problem solve based on experience. If an organism has the mental capacity to have experiences then it can be said to have consciousness. A protozoa is a single cell animal that can problem solve, but it doesn't have experience, so it isn't conscious.

The idea that intelligence doesn't exist is a nonsense.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:16 am

Hessian;

I have asked AMod to split this page off into a new thread, because in order to answer it, I will have to take it wildly off-topic. My suggested title was, analog-digital thought, intelligence, and wisdom.

G

the Hessian
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by the Hessian » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:53 pm

As you wish Gee, but it's all very relevant, and just one post away from tying back to the notion of misconceiving truth. There's not an unwieldy amount of us participating in this thread anyway.

But I'm happy to walk down the rabbit hole with you however you want.

the Hessian
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by the Hessian » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:34 pm

Ginkgo wrote:The difference centers on the capacity of the organism to problem solve based on experience. If an organism has the mental capacity to have experiences then it can be said to have consciousness. A protozoa is a single cell animal that can problem solve, but it doesn't have experience, so it isn't conscious.
Is there any merit to thinking that life itself is the ability to problem solve based on experience, where "experience" is not just a mental capacity, and not just something that begins and ends on the level of the specific, actually existing organism in question? Isn't genetics itself a type of problem-solving based on experience, where the problems remain stable over generations?

If we allow ourselves to shift the goal-posts like this, what happens to the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge? Is a priori knowledge then really transcendental, or is it the knowledge gained through genetic experience? Is our life even ours to begin with?

Ginkgo
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:31 pm

the Hessian wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:The difference centers on the capacity of the organism to problem solve based on experience. If an organism has the mental capacity to have experiences then it can be said to have consciousness. A protozoa is a single cell animal that can problem solve, but it doesn't have experience, so it isn't conscious.
Is there any merit to thinking that life itself is the ability to problem solve based on experience, where "experience" is not just a mental capacity, and not just something that begins and ends on the level of the specific, actually existing organism in question? Isn't genetics itself a type of problem-solving based on experience, where the problems remain stable over generations?

If we allow ourselves to shift the goal-posts like this, what happens to the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge? Is a priori knowledge then really transcendental, or is it the knowledge gained through genetic experience? Is our life even ours to begin with?

All of this is just my opinion so I am happy to give you my take on it.


As far as a protozoa is concerned I would say that problem solving is based on information rather than experience. I like to draw this distinction. The a posteriori is knowledge gained through cause and effect so it needs experience.

Your other question is interesting because it seems to draw a distinction between apriori knowledge and apriori information. Apriori information acting as a sort of genetic code. The problem is that the apriori is subject to truth or falsity claims about the knowledge gained. Information is neither true nor false.

cladking
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by cladking » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:11 am

Excellent post but I have several areas of disagreement.
the Hessian wrote: There is nothing special about humans. We are evolved animals. We are part of nature, not an exception to it. There is nothing special about the human brain. It is an evolved organ. It is natural, not supernatural.
I doubt we are any more evolved than elephants or tigers; we are merely different. All organisms have some level of consciousness and as humans we mistake this consciousness as intelligence. This "confusion" is the result of language since we can't even see what we don't know.

What color is a banana? In the moonlight?
Curiously the ancients described the moon as that which allows sight and removes color at night.
That birds "don't know HOW they know" is key. Let's allow ourselves for now to describe their nest-building ability as knowledge. What kind of knowledge is it? I'm not sure why instinct is in scare quotes because it seems perfectly reasonable to call it instinctual knowledge.
I think of "instinct" as analog knowledge. It is not accessible to modern humans for the main part because we use digital language and think digitally. We have so much knowledge and so much control over our enviroment that instinct is mostly irrelevant. If you don't run at the sight of a saber toothed tiger you'll still live to see another day.
The bird "doesn't know how it knows" to build nests, and "not knowing how it knows" it doesn't know how to do anything else. This, and exactly this, is how I understand what Gee means when he talks about "analog knowledge."
I believe the bird can learn. This is exactly why they now include man made materials in their nests; superior construction. There was once a beaver like mammal that didn't build dams and then one thought of intentionally making a dam and it caught on. Most animals operate most of the time on instinct because they need to feed or reproduce most of the time. Given a full belly an animal will access its memories, experiences, and consciousness just as humans do. It doesn't have the extensive learning that humans have only because it lacks complicated language. It lacks the ability to learn from previous generations. It has nothing to do with intelligence or consciousness.
We have tons of subconscious, instinctive, analog knowledge. This analog knowledge is the result of evolved psychological adaptations that are domain-specific.
I don't believe this is true. More accurately I don't believe people are at all adept at accessing our analog selves. We once had a complex analog language but it was metaphysical and every advancement created greater grammatical complexity until it collapsed circa 2000 BC. Now the ancient language is lost but many of us still can access bits of it in our sleep. As soon as we awaken the digital language reformats our brains' operations.
For example, we have evolved a psychological mechanism wherein our perception of being excluded from a social group triggers activity in the same region of our brain that activates when we feel physical pain.
This probably has an instinctive basis but is primarily learned. We are a social species so exclusion hurts.
But the source is intelligence, or more specifically, general intelligence. General intelligence corresponds, I think, with what you mean by the ability to digitze. General intelligence is an evolved adaptation for dealing with the domain of evolutionarily-novel, non-recurring problems.
True intelligence is the ability to process information quickly. There are countless parameters to this processing and the type of processing possible for the individual.
Think of walking across a busy street as a sort of analogue mathematics. There's a lot of complexity going on there, but it's easy "common-sense." All of the calculations just kind of do themselves in a way. We don't know how we know how to do analogue math. On the one hand, that might make it seem more "whole," more "present," and more like something of the "Self" or even supernatural. But on the other hand, it also means that it's not available out of context. We can't do analytical mathematics the way we walk across a street. That ability to transfer knowledge across domains requires "digitization" and "infinite persepctive," also known as general intelligence or rationality.
[/quote]

People get hit crossing streets. Usually it is caused by incomplete information.

"Intelligence" in the real world of humans using digital thought has many many components and even includes such things as visual acuity. There are hunmdreds of parameters and few are measured at all. But in the real world of analog brains a better way to think of "intelligence" is more akin to "cleverness". Any animal can be clever but it's an event rather than a state. Some humans experience more or higher grade events than others. Some just stumble on an ancient truth and can't be believed.

Ginkgo
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:12 am

There is nothing wrong with modern language, it is just that words such as "intelligence" and "consciousness" don't have precise meanings. You can talk about simple organisms or computers as being consciousness and or intelligent, or both.In the end it doesn't really matter because it is just using concepts for a purpose of explanation. The important point is in relation to how far your concept will stretch to provide an adequate explanation, and how inclusive this explanation turns out to be. If the concepts break down then you find new concepts that do a better job.

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:18 am

Hessian;

AMod seems to be busy with the shenanigans, so I will try to answer some of your questions here. First, you should know that I am a she, not a he. Most of the members know this, so you should too. Second, I can not answer for Cladking. Our studies are very different, but occasionally merge.
the Hessian wrote: You've made some provocative posts recently that have given me a lot to think about, especially the exchange you had with each other, as well as posts that Gee made earlier about IQ, and that cladking made on another thread today about intelligence not existing.

Good. If we are not provocative on some level, then we are not really thinking. For the record, I think that intelligence exists and will explain my ideas below.
the Hessian wrote:I'm going to lay a few cards on the table:
  • There is nothing special about humans. We are evolved animals. We are part of nature, not an exception to it.
  • There is nothing special about the human brain. It is an evolved organ. It is natural, not supernatural.
Well, I think that I am special, but otherwise do not dispute the above.
the Hessian wrote:1. Evolution is Bananas

Now what color is a banana in a parking lot at night? Objectively again it's different, but this time it is also subjectively different. It is no longer yellow. The sodium-vapor lights that make parking lots look so weird at night are "unnatural," which is very loaded way of saying that they are evolutionarily novel. They represent environmental conditions that did not exist when the systems of perceiving color evolved. All of this is to say, that our "innate knowledge," "wisdom," "non-linguistic closeness," "whole knowledge" of yellowness (to use your terms) is inextricably tied to our ancestral environment.
One could say that all knowledge is tied to our "ancestral environment", but what do you mean by this? And what do you think the "ancestral environment" is? Are you talking the physical environment? Are you talking about consciousness? I have noted that you seem to think of things as evolving or evolved. I suspect that a lot of the theory of evolution is correct, but I try not to use it for my studies because I know that it is a rationalization based on observation, so I can not know that it is true.
the Hessian wrote:2. Why Birds Don't Do Philosophy
cladking wrote:The bird doesn't know how it knows to build a nest but it can see the nest from four dimensions and "instinct" guides its ability to weave twigs, branches, and bits of plastic bottles.
That birds "don't know HOW they know" is key. Let's allow ourselves for now to describe their nest-building ability as knowledge. What kind of knowledge is it? I'm not sure why instinct is in scare quotes because it seems perfectly reasonable to call it instinctual knowledge. But what does that mean? We could say it's a knowledge that's evolved and innate, rather than formally learned. We could also say, very importantly, that it is knowledge which is extremely domain-specific. The knowledge to "weave twigs, branches and bits of plastic bottles" comes into play to build nests, but only to build nests. None of that knowledge transfers over for any other purpose, although the ability could certainly be put to lots of other advantageous uses. The bird "doesn't know how it knows" to build nests, and "not knowing how it knows" it doesn't know how to do anything else. This, and exactly this, is how I understand what Gee means when [s]he talks about "analog knowledge."
I would guess that the word instincts is in scare quotes because this word has so much meaning attributed to it and much of it is wrong. I did a huge thread in a science forum on instincts, and mostly found that the concept is a mess.

Yes. Nest building could be one example of analog knowledge the way I understand it. But it should be noted that there are birds that use tools, that are intelligent, and that have language. I believe that it was a crow who actually passed the Mirror Test, which implies abstract thinking. What do you think the odds are that the birds who can do these things are the same ones who have language?
the Hessian wrote:3. Socrates was a Digital Intelligence
cladking wrote:It's all this knowledge we use to deal with and function in the world. It is knowledge which is remote from the object of the knowledge and is learned rather than instinctive.
Gee wrote:In order for the analog (sub/unconscious) knowledge, which is fuller and more whole, to be known in the rational aspect of mind, the information has to be digitized.
I'm very indebted to you for introducing me to the analog digital metaphor.
You are welcome, but the metaphor actually belongs to Greylorn from his book Digital Universe Analog Soul. I don't agree with all of Greylorn's ideas, but that one was a prize.
the Hessian wrote:We have tons of subconscious, instinctive, analog knowledge. This analog knowledge is the result of evolved psychological adaptations that are domain-specific. I want to suggest that it is the domain-specificity itself that makes it seem "fuller and more whole," the knowledge is welded to its function, it is not free-floating. We "don't know how we know" analog knowledge.
I can agree that instinctive knowledge may be domain-specific, but not all subconscious knowledge. If you study the sub/unconscious, you will find that it is not the repository for extra consciousness that the rational mind is not using as neurology tries to imply. The sub/unconscious aspect of mind is huge, vast, and contains knowledge and consciousness from a large variety of sources, some of it seems to even be irrelevant to time and space. So, yes, it is free floating knowledge. Some of it could be “welded to function”, but there is so much information, that I would be reluctant to state that all of it is. You may want to look up Ignacio Matte Blanco in Wiki, where you will find a one page read on the unconscious that is very enlightening.
the Hessian wrote:For example, we have evolved a psychological mechanism wherein our perception of being excluded from a social group triggers activity in the same region of our brain that activates when we feel physical pain. It hurts to be excluded. There is a sort of evolutionary wisdom here, as surely it was advantageous to our survival to be part of a group. But there is equally blind instinct here, a drive to herd mentality even where it is not advantageous.

This is part of what I don't like about evolution theory. It is rationalized that we "evolved" the herd mentality to survive. I think that is BS and it misrepresents the facts.

Try this: When the very first life form generated, how did it reproduce? It replicated itself. The simplest life forms reproduce by replicating, by forming a group of self-same organisms. Grouping is primary to life. If you look up Blanco, you will find that the unconscious mind understands value by "group think". Since the conscious aspect of mind "emerged" from the unconscious, the unconscious was here first, so I believe that we evolved "from" herding and grouping, but it is still part of us; we did not evolve “to” herd and group for survival.

continued

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:18 am

continuation
the Hessian wrote:
Gee wrote:But we also get information internally from emotion, awareness, and the self, but this is not traceable, and not really confirmable. This is the information that is often attributed to spirituality, the paranormal, or "God" and is most often confirmed through religion -- it is subjective information.
If the "not traceable, not really confirmable" "don't know how we know" information is analogue, then what is digital? I want to suggest that the emphasis on language as the source is, I think, misplaced. Language is a tool, an extremely powerful tool, an enabler.

Please consider that when you read that conversation between me and Cladking, what you read was me putting three half formed theories from three different people together. (chuckle)

Greylorn came up with the two buckets analogy, one filled with sand the other filled with water, to explain his digital universe (sand) and analog soul (water) ideas. The digital buck is countable, but the analog bucket is too free flowing to separate it into individual pieces and count it. Then he went on to explain how analog effects digital, which he could explain better than I can.

I study consciousness by separating the individual aspects and studying their properties. This study has led me to divide the aspects into two general divisions. The first division is knowledge, thought, and memory, which are static, internal and private properties of consciousness. The second division is awareness, feeling(s), and emotion, which are fluid, external and shared properties of consciousness.

After reading Greylorn’s analogy, I realized that my second division which works through the sub/unconscious aspect of mind related to his analog bucket. The fact that he named the analog component “soul” only served to confirm my thinking, as soul is more about emotion than it is about thought. Emotion is not actually known in the rational conscious aspect of mind. Psychology teaches us that in order to stabilize the analog fluidity of emotion and extract knowledge, so that we are “knowing” it rather than just “feeling” it, it needs to be transferred to the rational mind. We do this with thought, by stating or explaining the emotion with words and pictures -- this requires language.

Greylorn, who apparently understands computers, realized that this is also how we make computers that can know, remember, and think -- we digitize the information in computer language. A computer works much like the rational aspect of mind.

Cladking has been talking about an old metaphysical language for a long time, but I did not know what he was talking about. But there are some things that I did know; I knew that we did not go from thinking like a post to rational thinking -- there was something in between. I also knew that the sub/unconscious aspect of mind existed before the rational mind “emerged” or dominated. I know that three or four thousand years ago, when rational thinking exploded, one of the first things we did was to write down as much of the old wisdom (proverbs) that we could find. I also knew that wisdom can take centuries to be accepted as wisdom, so we are talking about thousands of years of accrued wisdom. Wisdom is developed from actual observation and experience which is real; it can not be rationalized, so we are talking about knowledge that did not originate in the rational mind. So there was some validity to Cladkings ideas. A different kind of thinking could possibly produce a different kind of language.

When I read Cladking’s explanation in this thread, after learning the above, his ideas of a “wholeness” in understanding suddenly made sense. The easiest way to explain my understanding of this concept is with the idea of “recognition”, as recognition has a wholeness in it. We know that people recognize, but we don’t know much about it.

If I were at a large fair with my daughter and lost her, and you were there and noting my distress offered to help, would you be able to recognize my daughter? What if I told you that she is 8 years old, about so tall, has blond hair shoulder length, and is wearing a blue blouse and jeans. Would you be able to recognize her now? Could you pick her out from all the other little girls? Not likely. But I would know the sound of her voice and laughter, the way she stands, her energy, the way she tilts her head and uses her hands, the way she moves, and a whole host of other things that make up recognition. Experience is another “whole” understanding. If you have never experienced it, it is difficult to understand, and your understanding is not complete. We can digitize music and write it down, but reading it is not like listening to a symphony. Art is another thing that we use to try to explain or create a “whole” understanding. These things do not digitize well enough with language to transfer a whole understanding.
the Hessian wrote: But the source is intelligence, or more specifically, general intelligence. General intelligence corresponds, I think, with what you mean by the ability to digitize. General intelligence is an evolved adaptation for dealing with the domain of evolutionarily-novel, non-recurring problems. It is the ability to reason deductively, inductively, think abstractly or from "infinite perspective," synthesize information and apply it to new domains. It is the ability to digitize what we know, but don't know how we know, in order to then put that domain-specific knowledge to work in new contexts where no pre-existing psychological mechanisms exist.
All of what you state above is probably true to some degree. I never studied how or why intelligence works because I did not care about it. I had enough, more than I needed, so it did not interest me -- until about 10 years ago. At that time, I had a major attack of MS (Multiple Sclerosis), which took out my dominant eye for about three months, cut my vocabulary in half, and seriously reduced some of my cognitive skills. So I felt like I was dumb as a box or rocks for about three years. I have never studied the results of this damage before, but now may be a good time, so in analyzing the differences in my cognitive skills now and prior to the attack, this is what I find:

The dyslexia that I experienced was from the eye damage. It took two years of daily reading to retrain my eyes, but the dyslexia is finally gone.

My loss of vocabulary was much like a person has after a stroke. I knew that words existed that I wanted to use, but could not remember them. I suspect that this was due to scar tissue in the brain. This has slowly improved over the years, so either the scar tissue is diminishing, or my brain is finding pathways around it. The funny thing about this is that I often know the letter that the word starts with, but can not remember the word and have occasionally gotten frustrated and gone to the dictionary to read down the list of “a, d, or s, etc.” to find a word.

My ability to learn new words or technical terms is pretty much gone. If I can not relate the new term to something that I understood prior to the damage, then I can not learn it. I suspect that this is also related to scar tissue and am grateful that I had a wealth of understanding prior to the damage. An example would be “entropy”. I have looked it up at least 20 times, had five or more people explain it, but still do not feel comfortable using the term as I do not fully understand it. Before the damage, I never had to look up a word more than twice. So I can digitize the word “entropy” and know it, but I can not learn, or digitize, the understanding behind the word.

Transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory is also kind of iffy, so I take lots of notes, something that I would never have had to do before. I suspect that this is also due to scar tissue damage.

My thinking is much slower, so I assume that I would not do as well on an IQ test as those tests are always timed.

My ability to hold two or three abstract concepts in my mind and compare and consider them still exists, so the scar tissue does not affect my abstract thinking. But my energy level does affect this ability. When I am exhausted due to MS, my thinking is less able, but on a good day, my thinking is normal. My exhaustion is due to chemistry. Chemistry relates to awareness.

To sum up: My memory, learning, and processing skills are seriously diminished, so I should IQ test much lower, but my abstract thinking still implies a higher intelligence. When I felt the most stupid was when my vocabulary was at it’s lowest, so the idea of language digitizing knowledge, or information, is consistent here. But my intelligence level does not seem to be related to the scar tissue brain and seems more related to awareness. This is consistent with my thinking before the damage, as it was my opinion that I was simply aware of more possibilities than most people. I think that intelligence is related to awareness, or what we are aware of. Then it becomes a matter of being able to process and store the information.
the Hessian wrote:I know you have both objected to the notion of intelligence, but what's fascinating to me is how close this all seems to fit with what you are both saying. Let's be clear that intelligence does not mean "smart." It means something like an evolved adaptation to deal with the evolutionarily novel. (Usually this comes at the expense of "common-sense" due to the tendency to over-analyze what Gee might call "wisdom.") Anyway, the evidence supporting general intelligence is overwhelming. General intelligence is measurable, and these measures correlate very highly across all kinds of socio-graphic data at statistical levels indicating the chance of coincidental relation to be between 1:100,000 all the way up to 1:4,000,000,000. Those are incredibly significant data effects for something that doesn't exist.
I agree that intelligence exists, that it is often not related to “smart”, and that it is related to evolutionary change. I do not agree that it comes at a cost to “common sense”, and I don’t trust statistics as they are created facts -- not facts based in truth -- so they are easy to manipulate.

If you look at the history of intelligence testing, I think that you will find that interest in intelligence first started to gain support around Descartes time. The Enlightenment and Renaissance brought forth new ideas and new ways of evaluating things and people. Prior to this time, the Nobles were assumed to be superior people, as they were “of the Blood”. After reading “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” this concept of “the Blood” made more sense to me, as it implied a connection to “God”, superiority; and therefore, the abstract.

The “Blood” was actually assumed to be superior to the Common people’s blood. This “Blood” was continued through progeny, hence inherited Nobility. It should be noted that this “Blood” was so holy that it did not continue if a Noble decided to “do” a barmaid. Apparently, the “Blood” was clever enough to often inhibit it’s better than thou properties unless released by Holy Matrimony. (chuckle chuckle) Please do not argue this last point. It was a joke.

So Commoners were thought to be less, less intelligent, less capable, more animal like, and often referred to as sheep. It was a combination of many factors, including the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and even the Plague, that caused us to take a second look at Commoners. I mention the Plague because this disaster seriously reduced the workforce (Commoners) and created a need to be able to evaluate which Commoners could be trained to do what.

While reviewing this topic in Wiki, I came across a person, who actually tried to correlate head size, which I assume was thought to measure brain size, and muscle reflex to intelligence. Now measuring muscle reflex makes no sense because that would make a jaguar very intelligent, and it would make a bear with his superior head size and superior muscle reflex brilliant. So where did this idea come from? If you consider that fighting men were often promoted to the Nobility for their skills, then this does make sense. Even in the 1800's when this idea was formed, we were still subconsciously relating intelligence to the Nobility. imo

Intelligence testing improved and by the late 1800’s it was good enough to serve it’s original purpose; to test a person’s ability to be trained. We use it to tell if a person is schoolable. If they test at, say 50 or 60, then they are not likely to benefit from school. If they test between 70 and 90, then they can be schooled, but may need resource help. If they test 90 or above, they will do well in school and are trainable. If they test really high, then they have superior intelligence and are obviously fine. So why is there such a high percentage of high IQ people that drop out?

My thought is that we still evaluate a person’s intellectual worth the same way that we did 600 years ago, and it is a false value. My study of school children, an informal study, suggests that about 80 percent of students are average; about 10 percent are below average; and about 10 percent are above average. Schools teach to the majority, the average. Below average students are given help, and above average students are assumed to be fine -- because they are superior. This is nonsense. The very high IQ students have as much trouble with the curriculum as the very low IQ students, just for different reasons, but they are given no help. Unless they are given help and support from home, they will be unable to fit in with the other students, hence the high drop out rate. Benjamin Franklin dropped out, and I believe that Thomas Edison did also; both were considered to be poor students by their teachers.

I divide the value of minds differently. One of my teachers had a plaque on the wall that stated: “Complex minds think about ideas, Average minds think about events, Simpler minds think about people”. I have found this to be true. Not only is it true, but these minds also understand their world through ideas, events, or people. To give you an idea of how this works, let us pretend to take these different minds to a ball game.

The complex mind will relate to ideas, so he may study the architecture of the stadium, or think about the history of using sports to simulate people’s need for fighting and winning. The average mind will know the stats on the teams and know where each is in the play-offs. He may also be considering season tickets or purchasing a box. The simpler mind will know all the details of one or two players, even private details. He will know if the guy selling hot dogs is close, and will be aware of who is sitting next to whom and if they have a relationship. The different minds will think about ideas, events, and people, but all will enjoy the ball game.

If I were a cop and knew that a criminal was sitting in the row just below these aforementioned minds. I might want to ask if that criminal was alone, or with someone. If the complex mind stated that he thought the person to the criminal’s left was with him, and the average mind thought that the criminal was alone, but the simpler mind thought that the person on the criminal’s right was with him, I would start looking for the person sitting to the right of the criminal. Because all things being equal, the simpler mind is more likely to be correct.

When I was young and dumb, I thought that having a high IQ might make me superior. What an ass I was. One day it occurred to me that if I were on vacation and a moving van pulled up to my door with the driver intent on emptying my house, it would be my simple minded neighbor, who would call the police. He would know that I could not be moving because I am on vacation. He would know this because he watches everybody. My average minded neighbor would be too busy to notice, and my complex minded brilliant neighbor would be too absorbed in a book; or maybe he would be busy typing on Philosophy Now Forums.

So I think that intelligence is related to awareness, or more specifically, what we are aware of.

G

Ginkgo
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Ginkgo » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:25 am

Gee wrote:
When I read Cladking’s explanation in this thread, after learning the above, his ideas of a “wholeness” in understanding suddenly made sense. The easiest way to explain my understanding of this concept is with the idea of “recognition”, as recognition has a wholeness in it. We know that people recognize, but we don’t know much about it.

If I were at a large fair with my daughter and lost her, and you were there and noting my distress offered to help, would you be able to recognize my daughter? What if I told you that she is 8 years old, about so tall, has blond hair shoulder length, and is wearing a blue blouse and jeans. Would you be able to recognize her now? Could you pick her out from all the other little girls? Not likely. But I would know the sound of her voice and laughter, the way she stands, her energy, the way she tilts her head and uses her hands, the way she moves, and a whole host of other things that make up recognition. Experience is another “whole” understanding. If you have never experienced it, it is difficult to understand, and your understanding is not complete. We can digitize music and write it down, but reading it is not like listening to a symphony. Art is another thing that we use to try to explain or create a “whole” understanding. These things do not digitize well enough with language to transfer a whole understanding.

Hi Gee

Yes, awareness or attention is very important to consciousness. This is true especially in relation "wholeness" of consciousness. This is often referred to as the unity thesis of consciousness.

I think your example is a good one because many parents (including myself) have lost children for a period of time in a crowded environment.

Psychology does know a bit about this and it comes under the heading of attentional blindness. You know the experiment where an audience is required to look at two basketball players passing a ball. The job of the audience is to count the number of passes between the two players within a specified time period. The audience is so engrossed in terms of counting they fail to notice a guy in a gorilla suit walk past in the background.

Studies have shown attentional blindness fails at a certain level, and that level corresponds to the things in our lives that are significant to us, including ourselves.

Sometimes things in the environment demand our attention so the unity thesis claims that our attention under certain circumstances can be encapsulated into a single experience that doesn't have multiple parts. In other words, attention delivers the world at varying levels of awareness. In your example, it is the world being delivered to us as a single experience.

If you are interested I can give you some references that might be of interest.

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