9/25/2017

Behavioral modernity

Late Upper Paleolithic Model or "Revolution"

The Late Upper Paleolithic Model, or Upper Paleolithic Revolution, refers to the idea that, though anatomically modern humans first appear around 150,000 years ago, they were not cognitively or behaviorally "modern" until around 50,000 years ago, leading to their expansion into Europe and Asia.[6][17][18] These authors note that traits used as a metric for behavioral modernity do not appear as a package until around 40–50,000 years ago. Klein (1995) specifically describes evidence of fishing, bone shaped as a tool, hearths, significant artifact diversity, and elaborate graves are all absent before this point.[6] Although assemblages before 50,000 years ago show some diversity the only distinctly modern tool assemblages appear in Europe at 48,000.[17] According to these authors, art only becomes common beyond this switching point, signifying a change from archaic to modern humans.[6] Most researchers argue that a neurological or genetic change, perhaps one enabling complex language, such as FOXP2, caused this revolutionary change in our species.[6][18]

Face book is brainwash

                        
Designed to confirm what we already believe.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee On Face the Nation:

"...the paid advertising was designed not only to help Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but more fundamentally, to divide Americans, to pit one American against another on some very decisive  issues. It's the kind of cynical campaign you would expect of having a KGB operative running a country.

There's a lot we don't know yet about it. I think we know only the minimum of the advertising. And, of course, advertising was only one method the Russians used on social media, and this was only one platform. But there's also an issue about the use of Facebook's algorithms and the way it tends to potentially reinforce people's informational bias. And this is a problem that goes well beyond Russia, but in one example, if you were looking or interested in an article about Hillary Clinton's health, what the Facebook algorithms result in you're seeing a lot more stories about Hillary Clinton's health and reinforce a misperception or inaccurate information? That is a far broader issue than Russia, but one that we really need to know a lot more about.

JOHN DICKERSON: And that's a Facebook problem, not a Russia problem. I mean, that's a problem with their algorithm that keeps us all siloed in certain narrow areas.

ADAM SCHIFF: Yes. There's certainly a Russian implication because they use these algorithms to amplify misinformation or slated information. But it's far broader, and we have to ask, "Is this in our society's interest to create these informational silos?"



9/21/2017

Strange loops and spandrels



Strange loops take form in human consciousness as the complexity of active symbols in the brain inevitably leads to the same kind of self-reference which Gödel proved was inherent in any complex logical or arithmetical system in his incompleteness theorem.[1] Gödel showed that mathematics and logic contain strange loops: propositions that not only refer to mathematical and logical truths, but also to the symbol systems expressing those truths. This leads to the sort of paradoxes seen in statements such as "This statement is false," wherein the sentence's basis of truth is found in referring to itself and its assertion, causing a logical paradox.[2]

Hofstadter argues that the psychological self arises out of a similar kind of paradox. We are not born with an "I" – the ego emerges only gradually as experience shapes our dense web of active symbols into a tapestry rich and complex enough to begin twisting back upon itself. According to this view the psychological "I" is a narrative fiction, something created only from intake of symbolic data and its own ability to create stories about itself from that data. The consequence is that a perspective (a mind) is a culmination of a unique pattern of symbolic activity in our nervous systems, which suggests that the pattern of symbolic activity that makes identity, that constitutes subjectivity, can be replicated within the brains of others, and perhaps even in artificial brains.[2]






In evolutionary biology, a spandrel is a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic, rather than a direct product of adaptive selection.

The term "spandrel" originated as an architectural word for the roughly triangular space between the tops of two adjacent arches and the ceiling. These spaces were not actually utilized until later on, when artists realized they could make designs and paint in these small areas, enhancing the overall design of the building...

...Linguist Noam Chomsky has argued that the "language faculty", and the property of discrete infinity or recursion that plays a central role in his theory of universal grammar (UG), may have evolved as a spandrel. In this view, Chomsky initially pointed to language being a result of increased brain size and increasing complexity, though he provides no definitive answers as to what factors led to the brain attaining the size and complexity of which discrete infinity is a consequence. Steven Pinker and Ray Jackendoff say Chomsky's case is "unconvincing" and that "language maps among recursive systems rather than being a straightforward externalization of a single recursive system", and as an example, numerical recursion "is parasitic on language (rather than vice versa)" among other arguments.[10]


Pinker contends that the language faculty is not a spandrel, but rather a result of natural selection.[11] Newmeyer (1998) instead views the lack of symmetry, irregularity and idiosyncrasy that universal grammar tolerates and the widely different principles of organization of its various sub-components and consequent wide variety of linking rules relating them as evidence that such design features do not qualify as an exaptation. He suggests that universal grammar cannot be derivative and autonomous at the same time, and that Chomsky wants language to be an epiphenomenon and an "organ" simultaneously, where an organ is defined as a product of a dedicated genetic blueprint.[12] Rudolph Botha counters that Chomsky has offered his conception of the feature of recursion but not a theory of the evolution of the language faculty as a whole.[13]

Pinker has described music as a spandrel to the enlarged brain.[14] Dunbar found this conclusion odd, and stated that "it falls foul of what we might refer to as the Spandrel Fallacy: 'I haven't really had time to determine empirically whether or not something has a function, so I'll conclude that it can't possibly have one.'"[15] Dunbar states that there are two potential roles of music in evolution: "One is its role in mating and mate choice, the other is its role in social bonding."[15]