Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

What Is A Logic? Just A Piece Of Mind

January 15, 2017

I would propose that a logic is anything which can be modelled with a piece and parcel of brain.

I will show, surprisingly enough, that this is a further step in Cartesian Logic.

At first sight, it may look as if I were answering a riddle, by further mysteries. Indeed, but with mysteries which can be subjected to experimental inquiry (now or tomorrow).

What is a brain? A type of Quantum Computer! And what is Computing, and the Quantum? Well, works in progress. There is something called Quantum Logic, but it does not necessarily defines the world, as exactly what Quantum Physics is, is still obscure.

In practice? Logic is what works, a set of rules to go from a set A of statements to a set B of statements.

In this perspective, Medieval logic did not decline. Instead it transmutated into mathematics.

 The teaching of Logic or Dialetics from a collection of scientific, philosophical and poetic writings, French, 13th century; Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris, France. The 13th century was a time of extreme intellectual activity in Europe, superior to anything else in the world, centered 800 miles around Paris. In particular the heliocentric system was proposed by Buridan, after he overthrew Aristotelian Physics, by inventing and discovering inertia.

The teaching of Logic or Dialetics from a collection of scientific, philosophical and poetic writings, French, 13th century; Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris, France. The 13th century was a time of extreme intellectual activity in Europe, superior to anything else in the world, centered 800 miles around Paris. In particular the heliocentric system was proposed by Buridan, after he overthrew Aristotelian Physics, by inventing and discovering inertia.

An article in Aeon, “The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Logic”,

https://aeon.co/essays/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-logic

Reflects on the importance on the history of the notion of logic:

Reflecting on the history of logic forces us to reflect on what it means to be a reasonable cognitive agent, to think properly. Is it to engage in discussions with others? Is it to think for ourselves? Is it to perform calculations?

In the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Immanuel Kant stated that no progress in logic had been made since Aristotle. He therefore concludes that the logic of his time had reached the point of completion. There was no more work to be done. Two hundred years later, after the astonishing developments in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the mathematisation of logic at the hands of thinkers such as George Boole, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Alfred Tarski and Kurt Gödel, it’s clear that Kant was dead wrong. But he was also wrong in thinking that there had been no progress since Aristotle up to his time. According to A History of Formal Logic (1961) by the distinguished J M Bocheński, the golden periods for logic were the ancient Greek period, the medieval scholastic period, and the mathematical period of the 19th and 20th centuries. (Throughout this piece, the focus is on the logical traditions that emerged against the background of ancient Greek logic. So Indian and Chinese logic are not included, but medieval Arabic logic is.)”

The old racist Prussian, Kant, a fascist, enslaving cog in the imperial machine turned false philosopher was unsurprisingly incorrect.

The author of the referenced article, Catarina Dutilh Novaes, is professor of philosophy and the Rosalind Franklin fellow in the Department of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her work focuses on the philosophy of logic and mathematics, and she is broadly interested in philosophy of mind and science. Her latest book is The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Logic (2016).

She attributes the decline of logic, in the post-medieval period known as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to the rise of printed books, self-study and the independent thinker. She rolls out Descartes, and his break from formal logic:

Catarina writes: “Another reason logic gradually lost its prominence in the modern period was the abandonment of predominantly dialectical modes of intellectual enquiry. A passage by René Descartes – yes, the fellow who built a whole philosophical system while sitting on his own by the fireplace in a dressing gown – represents this shift in a particularly poignant way.”

Speaking of how the education of a young pupil should proceed, in Principles of Philosophy (1644) René Descartes writes:

After that, he should study logic. I do not mean the logic of the Schools, for this is strictly speaking nothing but a dialectic which teaches ways of expounding to others what one already knows or even of holding forth without judgment about things one does not know. Such logic corrupts good sense rather than increasing it. I mean instead the kind of logic which teaches us to direct our reason with a view to discovering the truths of which we are ignorant.

Catarina adds: “Descartes hits the nail on the head when he claims that the logic of the Schools (scholastic logic) is not really a logic of discovery. Its chief purpose is justification and exposition.”

Instead, Descartes claims and I claim that a new sort of logic arose: Medieval Logic transmuted itself into mathematics (Descartes does not say this, but he means it). And mathematics is not really logical in the strictest sense. As it has too many rules to be strictly logical.

Buridan, a great logician who studied well the Liar Paradox (which gave the Incompleteness Theorems) had students such as (bishop) Oresme, who demonstrated what, it turned out, were the first practical theorems in calculus (more than 2 centuries before the formal invention of calculus by Fermat, and Fermat’s discovery of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, that integration and differentiation are inverse to each other).

For example, under the influence of Buridan and then Oresme, graphs and later equations themselves were invented. So logic became mathematics. That was blatant by the time Descartes invented Algebraic Geometry. Algebraic Geometry gave ways to deduce, to go from a set A to a set B, using a completely new method never seen before.

In turn, by the Nineteenth Century, mathematical methods contributed to old questions in Logic (the most striking being the use of Cantor Diagonalization to show incompleteness, thanks to the Liar Paradox, self-referential method.

In this spirit, not only Set Theory, naive or not, but Category Theory can be viewed as types of logic. So is, of course, computer science. Logic is whatever enables to deduce. Thus even poetry is a form of logic.

Logic is everywhere there is mental activity, and it is never complete.

If logic is just pieces of brain, then what? Well, some progress in pure logic can be made, just paying attention to how the brain works. The brain works sequentially, temporally, with local linear logics (axonal and dendritic systems). The brain tends to be deprived of contradictions (but not always, and nothing infuriates people more, than to be exposed to their own contradictions and gaps in… logic). Also all these pieces of brain, these logics, are not just temporally ordered, but finite.

As we try to use logic to look forward, as a bunch of monkeys messing up our space rock, it is important to realize that what logic is, has not been properly defined, let alone circumscribed. Indeed, if, surprise, surprise, logic has not been properly defined, let alone circumscribed, much more is logically possible than people suspect!

Patrice Ayme’

 

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Bees Learn From Culture & Experience

October 25, 2016

When “INSTINCT” IN BEES:TURNS OUT TO BE LEARNING JUST AS HUMANS DO. Bees Practice The Experimental Method, Observe Others & Transmit Knowledge To Others!

Bumblebees can experiment and learn to pull a string to get a sugar water reward and then pass that skill on to other bees.

This comforts a long-held opinion of mine. See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/instinct-is-fast-learning/.

There I claimed that:

“Innate Knowledge” is a stupid idea. The truth is the exact opposite: LEARNING IS EVERYWHERE, OUT THERE. Learning is the opposite of innate. This insight has tremendous consequences on our entire prehension of the world.

My reasoning was typical philosophy: well-informed general reasons. Now there is increasing evidence that not only big brained vertebrates, but smaller brained invertebrates learn.

Conclusion: we humans do not differ from other animals, even insects, in kind, but in the amount of capability we enjoy. Thus, if we want to be truly human as much as we cannot just lay there like cows.  If we want to be fully human we must learn more of what is significant, and learn how to learn it. We cannot just sit on our hands and do as Barack Obama, the do-not much not-so-funny clown in chief, did, obsess about easy one liners and sport scores.

***

Intelligence Is A Fact, Instinct Just A Vague Theory:

For years, cognitive scientist Lars Chittka was intimidated by studies of apes, crows, parrots, and other brainy giants. Crows make tools. And they obviously talk to each other (my personal observation in the mountains). From the latest research in Brazil, parrots seem to have advanced language among themselves (which we don’t understand yet, as it too fast and high pitch for humans to hear it, and there is too much “austerity” around to pay scientists to understand the world as much as they could).

Chittka worked on bees, and almost everyone assumed that the insects acted on so-called instinct, not intelligence. Instinct? Come again.

As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Hillary Pulling Out Her Reward? As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Sophisticated behavior from “instinct” is a rather stupid assumption, because it is a superfluous assumption: Who needs instinct to explain an animal’s behavior, when we have simple, old fashion intelligence to explain it? Well, speciesists! (Same as who needs the Big Bang, a theory, when we have Dark Energy, a fact, to explain the expansion of the universe.)

Indeed we know of intelligence (some people, and certainly children, can be observed to have it). We can observe intelligence, and roughly understand how it works (it works by establishing better neurology, that is, neurology which fits facts better).

We can define intelligence, we cannot define instinct. But what is an instinct? We can neither observe “instinct”, for sure, instead of learning. Nor can we give a plausible mechanism of how “instinct” would generate complex behaviors (DNA does not code for “instinct”).  

When carefully analyzed, complex behaviors turn out to be learned. In humans, social motivations such as the Will to Power, are primary, thus Chitkka was motivated by : “…a challenge for me: Could we get our small-brained bees to solve tasks that would impress a bird cognition researcher?”

***

Einstein Bumblebees & Their Superstrings:

Now, it seems his team has succeeded in duplicating, with insects, what many birds and mammals are famous for. It shows that bumblebees can not only learn to pull a string to retrieve a reward, but they can also learn this trick from other bees, even though they have no experience with such a task in nature. Christian Rutz, a bird cognition specialist at St. Andrews university in Scotland concludes that the study “successfully challenges the notion that ‘big brains’ are necessary for new skills to spread”.  

Chittka and his colleagues set up a clear plastic table barely tall enough to lay three flat artificial blue flowers underneath. Each flower contained a well of sugar water in the center and had a string attached that extended beyond the table’s boundaries. The only way the bumble bee could get the sugar water was to pull the flower out from under the table by tugging on the string.

The team put 110 bumblebees, one at a time, next to the table to see what they would do. Some tugged at the strings and gave up, but two actually kept at it until they retrieved the sugar water: two Einstein bees out of 110! In another series of experiments, the researchers trained the bees by first placing the flower next to the bee and then moving it ever farther under the table. More than half of the 40 bees tested learned what to do with the strings. See: .Associative Mechanisms Allow for Social Learning and Cultural Transmission of String Pulling in an Insect.

Next, the researchers placed untrained bees behind a clear plastic wall so they could see the other bees retrieving the sugar water. More than 60% of the insects that watched knew to pull the string when it was their turn. In another experiment, scientists put bees that knew how to pull the string back into their colony and a majority of the colony’s workers picked up string pulling by watching one trained bee do it when it left the colony in search of food. The bees usually learned this trick after watching the trained bee five times, and sometimes even after one single observation. Even after the trained bee died, string pulling continued to spread among the colony’s younger workers.   

But pulling a string does not quite qualify as tool use, because a tool has to be an independent object that wasn’t attached to the flower in the first place. Yet other invertebrates have shown they can use tools: Digger wasps pick up small stones and use them to pack down their burrow entrances, for example.

***

Bees: New Aplysias For Intelligence & Culture?

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, following a mentor of his in Paris, worked on the brain of the giant California sea snail, Aplysia Californica with its 26,000 neurons. This enabled to progress in the understanding of basic learning and memory mechanisms. However, Aplysias are not into tools and culture. Bees are. Bees have a million neurons, and a billion synapses.

[The bee brain is only .5 mm; whereas the human brain is ~ 400 larger, thus 4x 10^2 larger, its volume is thus ~ 10^2 x 10^6 = 10^8 larger than that of the bee brain; thus scaled up, with the same neuronal density, the human brain should have 10^14 neurons! Which is the number of synapses in the human brain. The density of the bee brain Thus we see, in passing, that human neurons pack up much more power than bee neurons! That has got to be a quantitative difference…]

The discovery of bee culture involved almost 300 bees, documenting how string pulling spread from bee to bee in multiple colonies. Cognitive studies of vertebrates like birds and monkeys typically involve smaller tribal units (30, not 300). Thus the bee studies on culture, more broadly based, show better propagation (at least at this point). .

Clearly bees are equipped, psychobiologically, for the meta behavior known as creative culture: learning from others, while experimenting on one’s own. Thinkers of old used to believe these behaviors were exclusively humans: animals were machines (Descartes) and only man used tools (Bergson, who called man ‘Homo Faber”, Homo Worker)

That insect can learn and experiment, and have culture was obvious all along, according to my personal observations of wasps’ intelligence: when I threaten a wasp. It gets the message, and flies away (I have done the experiment hundreds of times; it does not work with mosquitoes). Reciprocally, if I try to get a wasp out from behind a window, it somewhat cooperates, instead of attacking me. Whereas if I come next to a nest, I will be attacked when my intent is deemed aggressive (reciprocally if a nest is established in a high traffic area, the culture of the local wasps makes it so that they will not attack).   

What is the neural basis for these “smarts”? Some say that the insects might not be all that intelligent, but that instead, “these results may mean that culture-like phenomena might actually be based on relatively simple mechanisms.” Hope springs eternal that, somehow, human intelligence is different.

Don’t bet on it. Studying how bees think will help us find how, and why, we think. And the first conclusion is that it matters what we do with our brains. If we want to rise above insects, we cannot mentally behave as if we were insects all day long. Being endowed with human intelligence is not just an honor, but a moral duty. (Learn that, clown in chief!)

Patrice Ayme’

No Many-Worlds Consciousness

September 2, 2016

OFF WITH DENNETT’S CONFUSED THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Consciousness is not part of science… Yet. Science will be complete, when it is. Except, and that is a huge ‘except’, possibly, most people would have to admit, consciousness may already haunt the foundations of Quantum Physics: this is what the ‘Schrodinger Cat’ paradox is all about (the lives of cats depends upon what we think!). And, indeed, I believe consciousness has to do with the Quantum.

But first I have to dispose of those who claim that consciousness is a non-problem. The famous academic philosopher Dennett asserts that consciousness has to do with brain parallelism. My friend Karen Eilbeck, a ‘biomedical informatics’ professor: “I never was satisfied with [Dennett’s] explanation of consciousness”. Indeed. Consciousness and ‘multimodal parcellationare completely unrelated.

It is now considered that there are around 180 different areas of the cortex, per hemisphere, each doing different things (it used to be 83 different “areas”). 

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players, Per Hemisphere

As the authors of  “A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex” (August 11, 2016), have it:

Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience. Using multi-modal magnetic resonance images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an objective semi-automated neuroanatomical approach, we delineated 180 areas per hemisphere bounded by sharp changes in cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and/or topography in a precisely aligned group average of 210 healthy young adults. We characterized 97 new areas and 83 areas previously reported using post-mortem microscopy or other specialized study-specific approaches. To enable automated delineation and identification of these areas in new HCP subjects and in future studies, we trained a machine-learning classifier…”

Thus the science of finding regions in the brain is more than a century old, it was not viewed as, nor has anything to do with trying to make a theory of consciousness . Yet, Dennett confuses brain activity here, there, and every way, with consciousness. 

Dennett observes that there are “various events of content-fixation occurring in various places at various times in the brain”. (everybody knows this: reach synapse, each neuron, even each axon and dendrite, etc.) The brain consists of a “bundle of semi-independent agencies“; when “content-fixation” takes place in one of these, its effects may propagate so that it leads to the utterance of sentences that make up the story in which the central character is one’s “self”.

A pretty useless ‘explanation’, dear Dennett, and not the problem of consciousness: consciousness is a feeling we all have, not just an utterance. If consciousness were an utterance, the speaking robots we are now interacting with, would be conscious. They are not. They are just algorithms. An algorithm does not have any more consciousness than a canal system. (Philosophers love to pontificate by calling what Dennett did, a ‘category error’; namely one confuses unrelated categories.)

Dennett followers claim that “subjectivity” can NEVER be made a subject to objective inquiry. That is a contradiction with the entire history of science, ever since the first Homo made the first fire.

What do I mean by this? ANY scientific theory started from a subjective experience. The first hominid who realized he could generate sparks with flints was subjectively engaged. So was the first who realized rubbing sticks could also generate incandescence. So the entire history of science, in the last three million years, has consisted, again and again and again, into turning subjectivity into objective inquiry.

When Dennett’s followers claim to have discovered that ‘subjectivity’ can never turn ‘objective’, they fail to understand that science rests precisely on this. In other words, they think as if they did not know that science is possible. Sorry to ask them to jump three million years.

Dennett looks a bit like Socrates with a big bushy beard, he is paid to utter statements viewed as philosophical, and has no doubt many other duties to attend to his enthusiastic following. So much thinking to produce, so little time, drowning in an ocean of fame. Can’t be easy.

How can fame and mental depth coincide? They are adverse to each other. It would be like getting money from oligarchs or financial monopolists, while claiming to want to help average people.

Is there really no connection whatsoever between the brain’s cortex working in plenty of little areas (brain parallelism) and consciousness? I did not say that. Dennett identifies consciousness and parallelism. That’s wrong. But that does not mean that consciousness did not evolve to make arbitrage between all these little areas, being the conductor of that otherwise discordant orchestra.

So Dennett confuses one evolutionary advantages of consciousness and the nature of consciousness. That nature probably has to do with the nature of the Quantum, and the difference between vegetal and animal. “Animal” comes from anima (soul in Latin). The soul is Quantum, this is what the Schrödinger(-Einstein) Cat thought experiment says.

Why the allusion to the “Many Worlds” Interpretation of Quantum Physics in the title? It is more than an allusion. The Many Worlds interpretation of the Quantum consists into sweeping the difficulty of how one goes from many possible outcomes to just a single one, under the rug of formalism. Instead of figuring out what is really going on, Many Worlders of physics say basically that everything and anything goes (all outcomes are ‘real’). One can say that Many World physicists shrug and answer the way Valley Girls do:”Whatever!“. Dennett does just the same. And this is not just a meta-analogy. If I am correct, and consciousness is intrinsically Quantum, the reason is exactly the same: evading a serious attempt at a deeper explanation… of the same phenomenon.

I don’t really expect celebrity physicists and celebrity philosophers to acknowledge that their cute little reasonings are shallow cope-outs, and popular, precisely because they are shallow and cute. However, the last nail in their coffins consist in pointing out that they offer an endearing, yet really terrible example of superficiality to the rest of debating society. Civilization rots by its head.

Patrice Ayme’  

Mental Inertia, Evil’s Friend

February 3, 2015

Mental Inertia: Putin, Germans and their Evil Ways, Obama…

Or Why Doing Nothing, That Is, Collaborating With Evil, Is So Comfortable:

It is well known that: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (attributed to Plato and then Mill, Burke). The question is: why would good men do nothing, when evil is triumphing? The short of it: (barring unsavory explanations) because of mental inertia.

The Parisian mathematician, physicists, philosopher and adviser to Kings, Buridan, discovered what had eluded Aristotle. Inertia. Circa 1340 CE (Buridan named it “impetus”; see note on inertia.)

Mental inertia was not an obvious feature, if one did not know what the brain was made of. But now we do. Modern neurology has revealed the immense complexity of the brain. The brain is not something that can be tinkered with in five minutes. We now know that the brain is the most complex architecture.

Just as it takes a long time to erect, or change a vast building, so it is with the brain. The brain has inertia. Thus psychological inertia.

This mental inertia is why human beings tend to go on with a task, or with an attitude, once they got launched into it (a Jihadist laden with explosives just flew by).

Once a force is applied to an object, for example a propaganda to a brain, it tends to gather momentum, and develop ever more inertia.

Putin of course creates his own propaganda, and then can listen to it, reinforcing his deviance, in a self-reflective way. It’s all the more efficient if others repeat his ideas, and he listens to them. Actually that’s not just a problem with Putin, but with all Great Leaders. (And that’s one reason why Great Leadership has to be discontinued, and replaced by Direct Democracy.)

This amplifies the inertia.

By not fiercely opposing Putin, one collaborates with him. It is not just a question of sanctions. Putin is a liar, and an aggressive one, he should be publicly called for what he is.

Another example of inertia is the lethal mood that makes a strength of Germany: discipline.

GERMANY’S PERSISTANCE IN EVIL WAYS:

It was a case of splendid mental inertia. Why did the Germans persist with deplorable ways for more than a century (I am referring here to the acerbic critique patriots such as Nietzsche made of Germany, by the 1870S; and also the fact Prussia, soon to unify Germany was already racist and “anti-Semitic”, by the 1700s). Why did Kant want to enslave Africans, why did Luther want to hear the screams of tortured Jews (that’s what both of them wrote, I am just repeating, while full of contempt… for those two).

This is a highly practical question nowadays, now that the evil extreme left in power in Greece has made extremely reasonable proposals to reduce Greece’s otherwise lethal debt burden.

In German “Shuld” means both crime and debt. Thus a debt feels like a crime. Unfortunately for Germany, both have been more indulged by Germans rather than by Greeks in the last century or so.

One can visit Northern France. There was the tallest castle of the Middle Ages, the tallest dungeon in the world. The Coucy Castle. In 1918, the German army, facing a sea of French tanks, some supporting fresh American troops, was thoroughly defeated. The French Air Force, the world’s largest, could roam at will, so it could not be argued that Coucy had a military value for observation. Still, the retreating Germans dynamited the castle (and not just the dungeon).

For decades, a French public-private effort has tried to rebuild the completely shattered castle, still reduced to a sea of stones.

I do not see the Germans anxious to repay that debt. Their Coucy debt. Actually Germany repaid its (much reduced) reparations for World War One, only a few years ago.

Germany had deliberately destroyed all of the industrial base of North East France, and most of Belgium, including the mines, and paid back only a small fraction of the cost of its destruction.

Germany’s debt was extinguished, or partly extinguished 4 times during the Twentieth Century. Germany didn’t pay for Nazism, and the wanton destruction it inflicted on Europe, including Greece. At least, not financially.

It is not that 340 billion were given to the Greeks. That’s propaganda. 340 billion was given to the banksters who had invested with their accomplices, some of them, Greek plutocrats.

But back to Germany, and its moral rectitude.

And how did all this Twentieth Century German mayhem originate? Because Germans did exactly what they were told. By whom? By the plutocrats who ruled over them. Surely, the Kaiser and his ruffians were the essence of plutocracy. Afraid to lose their plutocratic hold on Germany to the German Socialist Party, and see the rise of Parliamentary Democracy inside Germany, they decided instead to attach the French Republic, a Parliamentary Democracy.

Then, of course, Hitler was the pawn of plutocrats (ironically enough, many, if not most of them, were American plutocrats).

By doing what today’s plutocrats want, Germany is repeating history. Time to wake up!

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/europes-greek-tragedy/

Notice that German attitude is a case of mental inertia: used to obey to masters, first Prussian aristocrats, then crazed fascists fronting for rabid plutocrats, now Germans want to do exactly what banksters say (said banksters don’t have a Euro in the Greek fight; what they are afraid is that, if the discourse switches from accusing the Greeks, it may well accuse the real culprits, namely high finance, of which they are a part).

OBAMA’S INERTIA:

So Obama came and gave us change we could believe in, namely none at all. So now we get a course correction:

Obama’s Budget: Plenty Enough, Six Years Too Late.

Nice, very nice. This near 4 trillion dollar budget. No more financing of the wealthiest. At last. At last a progressive budget, turned towards the future, reducing inequality, while augmenting opportunity for all, and thus improving both society and economy. We little people can dream again.

Question: why was not this proposed when “Democrats” controlled Congress, say six years ago? Because then it could have passed? Fortunately, it was not presented, so it did not pass, and now plutocrats are richer, and more splendid than ever. They will be happy to reward Obama and his collaborators handsomely, with very nice tips.

Better: Obama can now safely pose as a great progressive, giving a chance to the next fake progressive sponsored by plutocracy through the “Democratic” Party, to come up with more smoke and mirrors.

Democrats hope, that, somehow, We The People will end up believing that the Obama revolution was stopped by evil Republicans (instead as do-nothing “Democrats”, as it truly was!) Then, by mental inertia, they will come out pristine as freshly fallen snow…

Was Obama unable to rule in part because of mental inertia? No doubt. Is it enough of an excuse? Fat chance.

Patrice Ayme’

On inertia: that its discovery is still attributed to Newton is a great scandal. Buridan wrote “Newton’s First Law” very explicitly, 340 years before Newton. They both wrote in Latin, so one cannot argue that Newton deserves priority because he wrote in English…

Not all the details of how one goes from inertia in Quantum processes to brain inertia are in, but that Quantum inertia, and then Mental inertia RULE, is clear enough. Yes, one can be ruled by the laws of physics, not just those of men… (By the way, Einstein’s motivation in his Theory of so-called General Relativity was to explain inertia: he failed miserably, as his theory is local, not global; I suggest it has to do with Quantum Entanglement, I win!)

More On Quantum Consciousness

September 5, 2014

Human brains are built from ideas. Any change in such ideas is lots of work, thus pain, and is always resisted. Often viciously. The greater the change, the more vicious the backlash.

A contributor, “Disagreeable Me” (who had published an extensive essay on consciousness, Sept 1, 2014) rose strident objections to my thesis (found in preceding comments; such stridency is not new: I am used to violent critiques against Quantum Consciousness, in the last few decades that I have dragged this pet around). Here is some of the dialogue, raw (co-sent to Scientia Salon):

 

Disagreeable Me: “Most people seem to assume that their consciousness is in some way located in their brains. Personally, I agree with you that it is not a localized thing, but this is because I think consciousness is a property of a mind, and that a mind is an abstract object. 

That’s quite different meaning of the word, however. In quantum mechanics, non-locality means that effects seem to work instantaneously at a distance. I don’t see any reason for believing that consciousness has these attributes unless you want to bring up woo such as remote viewing or clairvoyance or mind-reading.”

Patrice: One could argue that all “objects” are “abstract” (or at least abstractions, in the mathematical sense Alonso Church gave that in the 1930s; Church was Turing’s thesis adviser). Abstraction is characterized by the stripping of secondary, inessential characteristics. So one may, indeed, loose localization. That’s vague (joke intended: vague = wave -> delocalized).

However, my point about localization is different. And precise. Brain delocalization is biologically grounded. The brain is, physiologically, a delocalized object.

The brain is made of many neighborhoods, and subsystems. Is the brain the temporal lobe? The cerebellum? The right brain? The frontal cortex? Clearly much of the brain is working all over, much of the time. Some parts get active, others go to sleep, other parts never stop (say those watching over basic functions such as breathing or neurohormonal cycles).

So, when we consider the brain, we consider something spatially spread out. Yet, the conscious feeling that emanates from it, what we call consciousness, somehow, is centralized. Consciousness is one, not multiple, not spread out, at any instant of time.

How to make one, out of many? This is a question that arises naturally when considering both brain, and consciousness.

One could object that the same can be said about a bridge. A bridge is an abstraction of many characteristics. Yet, what makes the perception of a bridge one? Consciousness.

If one focuses on one’s breathing and heart rate, as conscience can do, and commands them, the mind is then just about that. Conscience focuses on a (few) characteristic(s). One could say that conscience collapses on particular points.

Now think about the way a Quantum process enfolds: it’s about something wavy spread about that is processed, to become, in the end, just one.

This sole sentence abstracts the basic set-up of Quantum physics: “something wavy”: the wavefunction, the “spread about” is a Hilbert space; “processed” is about time as an evolution parameter; “in the end” is about collapse/decoherence; “the one” is the so called “particle state” that results.

The analogy with the contrast of the delocalized brain in an union with a focused, localized consciousness, free to localize inside the brain wherever it wills, jumps at me.

 

DM: …”the following sentence makes your meaning clearer. “If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be “classical”, that is, not fundamental.” So, you’re argument is that everything that is fundamental is quantum, and it is completely stupid to imagine that consciousness is not fundamental. 

This is largely meaningless to me. I don’t know what you mean by fundamental, and it is not obvious to me that everything that is fundamental is quantum. I might, for instance, claim that logic (i.e. the law of non-contradiction) is fundamental, but it would seem to be very strange to claim that logic is Quantum, whatever that would mean.”

Patrice: That’s indeed my argument. Although it’s not yet clear how exactly, all of Classical Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics have to emerge from Quantum Physics, I believe. I would call that Ultimate Unification (UU). (GUT, Grand Unified Theories, are less ambitious: they unify only at high energies; UU is a conjecture, right, but so is Langlands program in mathematics; nobody sneers at that.)

Right now, experimental research is exploring the transition from QM to CM, and has been honored with the 2012 Nobel Prize. (Haroche in Paris, for counting photons without disturbing them, and his colleague Wineland in Boulder, for doing quantum computing with ions, among other things.) We are very far from a full picture on how to implement UU (the Nobel committee recognized Haroche and Wineland’s works as first timid steps to the Quantum computer).

Logic is a vast subject. In 1936, two of the most advanced mathematicians (Birkhoff and Von Neumann) invented something they called Quantum Logic, doing away with the distributive law. I do not doubt, though, that logic is a form of empiricism (whether the one gets from reality, or… the imagination).

It’s curious that you mention the law of non-contradiction as fundamental (as Aristotle held, in contradiction with Heraclitus). Quantum Physics is well known to enjoy things that are alive and dead simultaneously. It seems rather contradictory to me that some don’t appreciate the contradiction.

 

DM: “What you call freedom I call randomness. Randomness is not freedom, but if nature is indeterministic then all objects are random anyway. Chaos theory suggests that small perturbations in complex systems such as brains can lead to radically different outcomes. “

Patrice: Agreed. Except that I do not confuse freedom and randomness. Randomness can help freedom, and vice versa, but they are not the same. Schopenhauer famously claimed he could not will what he willed. I beg to disagree: the wise will will what she wills, such is her definition. Higher reflectivity, and detachment from contingency, is what intelligence is all about.

I thank Disagreeable Me for giving me the occasion to become more conscious in the matter of consciousness (and offering me the occasion to make a quantum jump of understanding, etc.)

Patrice Ayme’

Unbelievable Comfort: NO BRAIN, NO PAIN

June 1, 2014

Madness Of The Crowds: Comfortable, Cuddly, Yet Also Experimentally Useful.

In brief: Why do people “believe”? Superstitious religions are tools of oppression. They impose the unbelievable, making the masses stupid and gullible. If so why do they still seduce people? The charitable explanation, is that they offer hope: be nice to Moloch, and Moloch shall give you everything.

But is that all? No. The main reason (for higher-ups) to believe the unbelievable, is that it introduces a simplification of the mental system. It forces a hierarchy of causality that denies whatever contradicts the religion. That means, of course, that it denies most of the world. So the world goes poof. Is not that great?

Baal Temple, Syria: Yesterday’s God, Today’s Lord Of The Flies

Baal Temple, Syria: Yesterday’s God, Today’s Lord Of The Flies

[Ba‘al dhubaab: in Arabic, “Lord of the Flies”, that is, Lord of Dung, a rich idea coming from the Jews, two millennia earlier! Someday soon the Abrahamic religion will also be seen as a pile of dung to join Beelzebub.]

Superstitious systems of thought occupy a double-faced position in the jungle of ideas. On one end of the spectrum, they are a simplification, a laziness, a creature’s comfort, a herd phenomenon.

On the other end, being a simplification, precisely, they allow to experiment more cleanly with new systems of thought. For example, Christianism imposed murderous altruism: an interesting experiment.

 

WE ARE GOD, And TO PROVE IT, WE KILL YOU:

A young mother, who does not even look Sudanese, was raised an Orthodox Christian (her Muslim father was in absentia). Later she married a Christian Sudanese. Some Muslim then accused her of adultery (if a Muslim woman has sex with a non-Muslim, she is committing adultery, says that religion).

While she was waiting for another child, Sudanese authorities decided that she had renounced Islam.

Renouncing Islam is a capital crime in Sharia, a set of “laws” (of the jungle) invented by Muslims a few generations after the Qur’an, the book of eternal peace, 5 feet under.

Sharia is the law in Sudan. So the 27 year old mother was condemned by a so called “judge”, to be whipped 100 times, before being hanged to death. No doubt the “judge” had some prurient interest. (Sudan’s president there is under an international arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. I propose to arrest the “judge” too.)

Chris Snuggs a rather fierce participant to this site wrote: “Islam in many countries is a hideous barbarity, the ultimate manifestation of unhinged minds. Perverted “religions” of this kind are the most staggering example of mass-hysteria the world has ever seen, and peculiar to Homo Sapiens. No “ordinary” animals suffer from this kind of mass simultaneous mental illness. Three billion people need psychiatric help. Astonishing. Why are we prone to mass-hysteria and irrationality on this scale? The French people regularly voting socialist is another example, and of course reminds us of the definition of a lunatic: someone who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

Renounce Islam, Die: Does Sharia Hate Islam?

Renounce Islam, Die: Does Sharia Hate Islam?

[This is the wedding picture of the woman who got condemned to death for marrying the Christian on the left. Is Islamophobia truly Homophilia?]

By “belief, and believers” one commonly means “deciding to believe in the unbelievable, because it’s so convenient”. “Belief” is commonly believed to be an acquired taste at best, an imposed violence at worst.

Nietzsche pointed out about Christianism, Voltaire, about Islam, or Marx, in general, that religion is the opium of the people, or something to make the people into a herd.

More generally, theocracy has been used as a weapon of terror, for the oppression of all sorts of peoples.  The Aztecs captured their enemies alive, and then sacrificed them, opening them up, and tearing out their beating hearts. Before cutting them up, and throwing the proteins down the steep pyramids.

This robust religion kept peoples subjected. However, when Cortez showed up with 2,000 super warriors, those the Aztecs terrorized were enthusiastic to levee huge armies to help the Spaniards with the Hummingbird God.

Christianism and Islam do not basically differ from the Aztec gig. The Aztecs brought death through cannibalism. But it was a rather quick death. The Aztecs were horrified by the tortures of the Spaniards. Those knew no bounds. If Spanish tortures were so advanced that was, no doubt, to keep up with the Muslims, and beat them on their own torturous ground.

In Islam, slavery is kosher. All men are viewed as slaves of dog (typo, sorry!) god. A standard punishment for Muslim slaves who had tried to escape was impalement. As the patient could take several days to jerk about, all transpierced, that procedure had an educative effect on the otherwise ignorant masses.

Violence is intrinsic to the Abrahamic religion. It all started with the Bible, a compendium of holocausts, praising an holocaust driven god. Getting advice and example from the Bible allowed Europeans, clutching their bibles, to massacre the Americas, and much of Eurasia and Oceania.

Now religious fanaticism is less of a problem than a distraction, as the secular, republican spirit mostly rules, except in a few places: Israel, some places in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, where old fashion Islam is gaining ground.

Does that mean we are getting rid of the COMFORTABLY UNBELIEVABLE?

No. Why?

 

INSANITY BRINGS THE COMFORT OF THE HERD, THE ECONOMY OF STUPIDITY:

Because having unbelievable beliefs brings mental economy, and ties that bind. What could go wrong?

Let me explain a bit more: intelligence is highly profitable, but it’s also costly. To become intelligent, one has to create lots of neurons and synapses. And the environment does it: studies on rats have proven this. Long ago.

All these neurons and synapses require a lot of energy to build. That’s exhausting: one has to go hunt and gather a lot. Also, once built, all this awareness brings pain: many a religion and philosophy have moaned about extinction (“nirvana”) of consciousness as the solution to the problem of pain (how that differs from Hitler’s solution beats me).

From there springs the opium of the people effect: opium creates an absence of mind by putting many neurons to sleep, but it’s the same result, even more efficiently, by making sure none of these neurons is ever born.

Finally, last, but not least, as the religion simplifies the system of thought, it creates a simple system of thought, and a simple brain. A simple type of a specific brain. Those are easy to match to each other. All those who believe some guy is the son of dog, chose to be crucified for man, and taught us love, are, clearly, made for each other. They have an insanity to share.

There is nothing more reassuring than the herd. And a crazy herd, charging all along, is the ultimate symbol of force, thus, safety.

 

MUSLIMS CREATED THE WORLD, ROMANS ATTACKED LATER, AND OTHER INSANITIES:

My spouse had a friend for a few years, and even travelled overseas with her. She was, superficially well educated. As all would-be shock philosopher, I tend to stay apart. Yet, in the end, we met. It was rather brief.

She was from Morocco. I know Morocco, first time I was there I was two years old. I mentioned in passing that this beautiful country was graced with Roman monuments. She mumbled something to the effect that Europeans could never resist invading Muslim countries. I pointed out that the Romans were in Morocco nine centuries before the Muslims ever invaded the place. Her face went white. She told us Morocco had always been Muslim.  We were basically insulting her country.

I said: not so. I told the truth. Her world, her simple world full of simplifying lies that bind, was shattered.  I was not just demolishing her world view, but her social fabric, made of victimized conservative Muslims invaded by greedy Romans.

She did not contact us ever again.

I am never the one to interrupt relationships, because I view even the worst relationships as interesting experiments in my philosophical laboratory… That has led me to harrowing situations, because insuring the integrity of their mental systems brings up the greatest ferocity in human beings.

Such is the human condition.

PASSIONS CREATE THOUGHTS, THOUGHTS KILL EACH OTHER, & GIVE BIRTH TO MAN:

That ferocity in things mental may look baffling. But it is of the essence. Homo is the intellectual animal. Human ideas compete, and they compete to death. Inferior ideas get killed. Superior ideas thrive, munching the bones of past guesses.

Lovers of the free market gloat that it can produce superior product. Bu there is no product higher than an idea. And the ideas do not just constitute a market. They constitute a jungle, where pain, greed, anger, rage, ecstasy and lust are just ways to achieve a healthy jungle.

 

FOLLY EXPANDS, OCCUPY ALL SPACE, REASON FOLLOWS:

Although I focused mainly on the Abrahamic religion above, the situation is general. Stupidity binds.

An example is indeed presently provided by socialism, the old fashioned way, complete with a plethora of useless civil servants and assisted ones (as Chris fulminates).

An other excellent mania of the crowds is found in physics, where completely insane theories have progressed in recent years ( for example the Multiverse madness).

By this, I mean more than physics became more insane than any of the preceding. Yet, precisely because it presents the neurological advantages of insanity, the insanity in physics has been progressing. A delicate moment.

That’s progress, how progress works.

When physicists have gone completely insane, hopefully someone will point out reason, and be believed (it took more than a millennium, between Ptolemy and Buridan, though!)

Folly expands, occupies all space, reason follows, and sweeps behind. That’s how intelligence progresses: even the mania of crowds can be put to work.

Whether it’s painful or not, is irrelevant. The fundamental constructive naturally occurring software, the fundamental principle, of man is not pain, but intelligence.

Patrice Aymé

Aphorisms March 2014: Putin, Plutos, Malta, Math, Brain

March 29, 2014

Whip Stops Baffled Bear Momentarily:

Wonderful! Dictator Putin suggests he won’t invade anything today, if a number of changes are made to Ukraine’s constitution, friends, hopes.

Specifically, Putin let it be known that he wants demonstrations in Ukraine, which, says Putin, have been disrupting him for six months, to come to a stop. Demonstrations are a bad example to Russians: too many demonstrations make the kleptocrats flee. There was actually 50,000 people demonstrating against Putin, in Moscow, because he had annexed Crimea.

Speaking of stopping, Putin will stop, if, and only if, he is persuaded that horrendous consequences are coming his way, otherwise. It’s not going to be easy, considering that some German minister said this week that Europe could not do without Russian gas, for the foreseeable future.

And considering that Londongrad is a mighty ally of Putin… In a West ruled by plutocrats. So this is not just about Putin going crazy, it’s about him realizing he is confronting weak and divided democracies, rotten from inside.

Thus, as in the 1930s, plutocrats are playing both sides, hoping for the best. Just as in 1930s, the dictator (Hitler then, Putin now) feels in command of enough plutocratic power in the West to get what he wants, without a world war. Hitler was astounded, on September 1, 1939, when the French Republic and Britain gave him an ultimatum. He had come to believe what his Anglo-American plutocratic friends had told him, that it would never happen, because they, the plutocrats, controlled everything.

***

I Bank Therefore I Tank:

How come Putin has momentarily come to his senses? Sanctions. By closing Rossiya, a bank close to Putin, at a distance, the USA left 495,000 Russian clients without a bank. And that was just a warning shot. Visa, MasterCard and company control the essentiality of Russian banking. Also banks need some international cooperation, and that was going down too.

It goes without saying that the USA, under corrupt president Roosevelt not only did nothing of the sort, but the exact opposite. As France and Britain were in total world war against Nazism, and 45 French division tried to crash through the Siegfried Line, the USA was busy aiding and abetting Hitler’s fascist dictatorship. In a crucial way (lead tetraethyl story).

Not only were Hitler and his followers encouraged, but the German generals who wanted to arrest the Nazis, got very confused: was the USA allied to the Guide, or not?

This time, the early, swift opposition of the president of the USA to tank-born fascism, is not just the most important thing Obama did, but the most important thing any government of the USA did, in generations.

***

Heavens For Sale:

Malta has put for sale 1,800 passports and nationality. First condition: pay 650,000 Euros for the head of the family, at least 250,000 Euros of investment on top of that, plus more per family member. The stratagem is expected to bring in more than one billion Euros. Reassuringly, Malta announced that it did not expect the new Maltese citizens to spend the year there (they will be free to roam the European Union).

Malta is notorious for refusing Maltese nationality, even for those who have resided there more than twenty years, and the EC is not happy about that.

***

Your Pain Is Our Ecstasy:

The main problem of the socio-economy is plutocracy, though. Plutocracy wants the starvation of the People’s economic activity. That allows to increase the gap between the haves and have-nots, which is the plutocracy’s raison d’être, and ultimate value.

Hence the obsession fabricated by the Main Stream Media against deficits, without saying they are directly related to the plutocracy not been taxed enough. Or the insistence that the People has no skill (thus, presumably ought to be starved in all ways, including access to public education).

Referring to: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/the-skills-zombie/

***

Food Madness:

2.4% population growth in the 1960s. That was the excuse for the creation of massive food exportation machinery then. In the 1980s, that over-production was massively exported to poor countries and frozen European chicken destroyed local food production in poor countries.

Population growth is only 1.3% now. That’s still about 100 million added, a year.

That does not mean that shocks to the world food system are not coming. They are, thanks to the global warming and weirding.

***

Mathematics = Physics

Many modern thinkers have wondered at the remarkable efficiency of mathematics in physics. Galileo said physics was written in mathematics, Plato viewed knowing math as a prerequisite to advanced thinking.

The latter point of view is the correct one. Better: thinking, advanced or not, is, intrinsically, mathematical. Neurology is math.

Mathematics is just a more abstract physics. So if physics is hard, so can mathematics be too. The best avenue to explore what these abstract thoughts mean, is the history of Euclidean geometry. One physical simplistic simplification that Euclid made was flatness. When mathematicians realized that flatness did not have to be, Riemann soon got the idea that geodesic distanciation was equivalent to force (vulgar physicists believe Einstein got the idea).

Euclid also made many other simplifying assumptions about the nature of continuity and … And Quantum Physics violate them, starting with the notion of points.

Patrice Aymé

MATH “EXTINGUISHED” NEANDERTHALS, Sort Of.

March 14, 2013

HOW & WHY (SOME) NEANDERTHAL TRAITS WERE OUTBRED:

Many racist theories about the “disappearance” of Neanderthals. The latest one, from Oxford University, claims that Neanderthals’ big, beautiful eyes, and their big muscles caused their demise: Neanderthals were too busy looking at things, while flexing their muscles. The “idea” is that larger eyes would have crowded the Neanderthal brain out, making them relatively stupid. In particular eyes made them incapable of having social groups as large as those of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Big Eyes Do Not Kill

Big Eyes Do Not Kill

Sapiens girl on the left, Neanderthal girl on the right (reconstitution published in Science Magazine a few years ago).

I have long argued that the strength of democracy came from having many brains working in parallel. There is little doubt that larger social groups bring a higher cultural intelligence, hence higher individual intelligence. So I agree about that bit of logic. Yet, ironically, to reach the conclusion that Neanderthals’ social group were less numerous, the simple fact that Neanderthals were bigger, is enough. There is no need for hazardous demeaning allegations about Neanderthals’ brains.

That big eyes made Neanderthals stupid contradicts some facts that were thought to be established:

1) Sapiens Neanderthalis’ brains were significantly larger to start with. See Wikipedia.

2) Many very clever Homo Sapiens Sapiens have small brains. Famously Anatole France, an intellectual, had only a 1,000 cubic centimeters brain. Homo Floresiensis, the “hobbit” species living on the island of Flores, Indonesia, until it was wiped out recently, was extremely intellectually capable, although it had really small (and completely different) brains.

3) In the Middle East, Neanderthals and Sapiens went back and forth through the same large caves over 50,000 years. So whatever happened, it was not in evidence for 50,000 years.

So, of course, I have my own theory. That’s what philosophy is all about: trying to guess what really matters most, and how that most significant data logically articulate. Then scientists, politicians and writers can swoop, figure out the details, and attribute themselves the glory.

What could have happened by around 28,000 years ago that caused the demise of Neanderthals? At the time, the last fierce glaciation was gaining ground. (It reached its maximum 25,000 years ago.) Some have argued, absurdly, that the Neanderthals could not take it. That’s beyond silly, as Neanderthals had evolved, from half a million years ago, precisely to handle extreme cold.

Neanderthals were stocky, powerful, and they had thrived through hundreds thousands years of glaciation, mostly on a meat diet, hunting big game. But they also knew how to cook plants, and eat them.

27,800 years ago, Cave Bears were exterminated. That huge animal who lived in caves, primed real estate Sapiens Sapiens and Neanderthals craved for. Could the disappearance of Cave Bears be logically linked to the disappearance of Neanderthals? Yes. That’s a consequence of my theory. More advanced technology played a direct role. So did size: Cave Bears disappeared, because they were larger than European Brown Bears (called Grizzlies in America), according to the mechanism below, differential exponentiation.

How did men kill Cave Bears? With technology. We do not know exactly what weapons men had at their disposal. However, technology had improved, and kept improving. Recently it was found that Sapiens Sapiens (Homo SS; I hope one gets the joke) in Africa had invented bows and arrows 80,000 Before Present (BP).  (About 60,000 years earlier than previously thought!) Before bows and arrows, the propeller had been invented, and was used in Europe. The propeller took advantage of angular momentum to send a sort of mini lance further and stronger than by hand.

Why did the Neanderthals and Denisovans (another human species from Central Eurasia) lose their edge? Advancing technology is the obvious answer. When technology of clothing and weapons was sufficiently advanced, the physiological advantage that the Neanderthals genetically had, disappeared. Homo Sapiens Sapiens could thrive just as well through winter.

At that point, Homo Sapiens Sapiens from Africa could be as successful as the Neanderthals through the freezing wastelands of Europe. OK.

But the Homo SS outbred the Neanderthals, so they became genetically more successful. How do I explain that?

Simple. However, the explanation involves the exponential function, the same function found all over, and that the mathematician Rudin called “the most important function in mathematics”. The exponential also explains the plutocratic phenomenon, and that is why it’s so dangerous. The exponential always rules extinction events, that’s why one day a species is all over, like the American Pigeon, or the Tasmanian Tiger, and the next day, it’s gone.

So visualize this. Neanderthals were bigger than Homo SS, just like the Polar Bear is bigger than the Black Bear. Bigness is an adaptation to cold. Southern Europe’s Brown Bears are smaller than those found in Kamchatka, or Alaska (also known as Grizzlies: the Grizzly is an emigrated European Brown Bear!) Bigger makes warmer inside. That’s why the most massive animal that ever was, the Blue Rorqual, at up to 180 tons, is nearly twice the mass of the largest dinosaur (it’s not just that it’s floating, but also that water is cooler than Jurassic air, I hold).

To simplify, let’s use a bit of exaggeration (that’s reasoning by exaggeration, one of my preferred tactic of thought; the one humor exploits, and why joking helps thinking). Let’s assume Neanderthals were twice more massive than Homo SS (certainly, in the average, Cave Bears were twice the mass of Brown Bears).

Now let’s consider an habitat where Homo SS and Neanderthal bands roamed. They will tend not to mix, for obvious racist reasons. The racial hatred between Neanderthals and Homo SS has got to have been colossal. People who look too different are not even sexually attracted to each other (and where Neanderthals and Homo SS were in contact in the Middle East, for 50,000 years, there is no evolution of an interbred species, an indirect proof that there was no love lost there!)

The density of human mass is going to be roughly the same all over, because that density depends only upon the resources available (mostly meat on the hoof, and fur in burrows in glaciating conditions).

Thus, there would have been apartheid. But the Homo SS would have been twice more numerous, where they reigned (from my assumption of twice the mass). So now graft on this a catastrophe; a drought, a flood, a very tough winter, a volcanic super disaster, whatever. The climate was highly variable, starting about 40,000 years ago, just when Homo SS appeared. Some have stupidly argued that Neanderthals were too stupid to adapt to this changing circumstances. Like this paralyzing stupidity struck them just when Homo SS were around. My explanation is more subtle.

After a catastrophe in said habitat, say one of these numerous habitat in Europe isolated by glacial mountain ranges, or seas and lakes, most of the human population would be wiped out, Homo SS, just as Neanderthals. There would tend to be always a small remaining population, because the greatest limit on man is man himself: as a population gets wiped out, resources rebound, and life of the survivors tend to get much easier (that’s what happened in Europe after the Black Death of 1348 CE; if nothing else, survivors could ask for higher salaries from their plutocratic masters, and they did).

So say 90% of the population of the habitat was wiped out. As suddenly resources are no limited, the human population will rebound exponentially. The equation is: N(t) = N(0) exp(Rt). “R” is the “Malthusian” parameter, the rate of growth. Now it’s going to require twice the resources to feed a Neanderthal to sexual maturation (under our outrageously simplifying assumption that Neanderthals are twice the mass). Thus one may assume that R(Homo SS)/R(Neanderthal) is 2. The end result is that the quotient:

Number Homo SS/ Number Neanderthal = A exp(2t). (Where A is the ratio of the populations H SS/Neanderthal after the catastrophe.)

Thus the population of H SS would exponentially grow relative to that of the Neanderthals, resulting in a quick extinction. And in no way this is happening because Homo SS were superior. Just because they were more gracile.

Hence the mystery of the evolution of contemporary man is smoothly explained. Just a bit of math. QED.

Europeans & Asians: Not Just African

Europeans & Asians: Not Just African

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note 1: what of the mentally deliquescent and racist article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society? First, they sank so low as to using orbit size as a proxy, that Neanderthals had larger visual systems than contemporary AMH [Anatomically Modern Humans]. That’s about as intelligent as saying that, because special forces use night vision goggles, they have got to have bigger visual systems.

The main woman author also found the same physiological feature, bigger eyes, in the past, about people presently living at high latitude. She contentedly asserted that, because light levels are lower in the north, people living in the north (40,000 years at least for Homo SS) have bigger eyes. Amusingly, she did not draw, in that case the conclusion that Norwegians and the English are therefore more stupid. Somehow, though, in her lack of smarts, she applies that controversial reasoning to Neanderthals. Does she have giant eyes?

Seriously the Oxford study rests on a central fact that contradicts one of established facts about Neanderthals. Indeed it claims Neanderthals’ brains were not any larger than Homo SS.

***

Note 2; what catastrophes am I talking about? Well the climate fluctuated wildly, to start with. Second, A Campanian ignimbrite volcanic super-eruption around 40,000 years ago, followed by a second one a few thousand years later, certainly crashed Neanderthal populations (based on logic, and evidence from Mezmaiskaya cave in the Caucasus. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of a specimen there is C14 dated 29,000 years BP, one of the latest living pure Neanderthals). After such a catastrophe, the exponential rebounds of populations would have advantaged Homo SS, as explained above.

***

Note 3: OK, I exaggerated with the mass ratio. (Mathematicians often do this, considering an exaggerated case to understand the mean, through the tails.) But the real mass ratio would be aggravated because, Neanderthal was built in such a way, relative to gracile Homo SS, that they consumed more calories per day (some paleontologists have come up with 300). So there is no doubt that the effect above will play a role, even if the mass ratios were not as bad. Notice the mechanism above would tend to extinguish the Neanderthal traits that were most characteristic of the subspecies.

***

Note 4: A preferred trick of Neanderthals’ haters is to exhibit Archaic Neanderthals‘skulls, and compare them to those of modern men. The skull of an Archaic Neanderthal of 400,000 years ago should not be compared to a modern human, less than 40,000 year old! All the more since Neanderthals’ brain size augmented faster than the brain size of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

***

Note 5: Part of the mechanism above generalizes for other species in competition. It provides with a disappearance mechanism after ecological turbulence, according to species’ ecological footprint. The reasoning can be generalized to other species’ extinctions. Let’s recapitulate the preceding, while generalizing it:

1) it is hard to transform a near extinction event into total eradication (see the Black Plague of 1348 CE). Indeed, the more the extinction, the easier it gets for the survivors, as resources rebound (this is similar to the famous lynx-rabbit oscillation).

2) However, larger animals (Neanderthals, dinosaurs), or animals with a higher metabolic load (Neanderthals) are going to be to be left behind exponentially, during the rebound phase.

In the case of Neanderthals the periodic catastrophes could have been of climatic origins (waves of cooling, warming and unstable climate as the earth underwent various tipping points, one way or another, into the occasionally severely glaciated period between 60 K and 11 K BP. A severe volcanic catastrophe or two would have added near extinctions episodes.

In the case of dinosaurs, the massive Deccan eruptions, over millions of years, culminated with the most acute episode, more or less contemporaneously with a massive asteroid impact (!). According to the exponential extinction theory, the back and forth of near extinctions would have put a severe extinction pressure on the dinosaurs and the like, as smaller, more efficiently active mammals and birds would have put huge pressure on dinosaurs and flying reptiles (same in the sea). By eating their eggs to start with, as mammal and bird population would have exploded very fast back up at any relief. (This would have happened in addition to other extinction pressures, such as cooling.)

See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/

Note 6: A first reading of the ideas above may lead one to wonder why it is that small species do not overwhelm big ones, when they are in competition. But, in normal circumstances, one has an equilibrium ecology, the equivalent of equilibrium thermodynamics. the effect above does not apply. The effect above, exponential extinction, occurs only during non equlibrium ecological dynamics (hence the importance of near-extinctions). It’s the equivalent of non equilibrium thermodynamics (when Prigogine suggested the latter, he was viewed as nuts; until he got the Nobel Prize).