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Why are we different from each other?

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by juvenissun, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    First, and one of the most basic, we need to know how do we learn. In my recognition, we learn through the mysterious functions of brain. We learned by taking data through all our senses during the day. And we filter, reshuffle and reorganize those information in sleep. This process continued day after day, and we learned more day by day.

    The key is: nobody is doing this exactly the same way (on a daily basis), and the learning effect is cumulative. This eventually make everyone very different from each other, even between identical twins. This is the origin of the fact which we say: everyone is an unique person. An example of this is that in a particular environment, many people sensed an exactly same stimulation, but everyone has his or her own unique way of taking, recognizing, and interpreting that stimulation.

    Please comment. Thanks.
     
  2. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    I suspect that differentiation increases with level of conciousness. If you thinks of levels, proceeding from (for example), molecules, to bacteria, to ants, to dogs, to humans, to God, the more consciousness possessed, the more individual you are. And it is said of God, "there is none like Him". (Only He is truly and fully Individual, and everything is different from Him.)
     
  3. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    Good hint.

    What is thinking? I don't think bacteria can think. But I suspect an ape can think a little bit. So when you go "up" (sorry, evolutionist) the level of life, where does the real thinking start? Can a fish or a croc think? If they could not think, could we say all fishes (within a species) are identical to each other in terms of their neuro-response to stimulation?

    However, what I am talking about can be illustrated by one question: why are identical twins different even in their childhood? Since when do they start to show difference? Would it be wrong if I said that they start to show difference since they were in the womb? Does a fetus have a wake-sleep cycle? When they sleep, do their brains work like a carbon copy to each other?

    Sorry, too many questions. Any comment is appreciated.
     
  4. Naraoia

    Naraoia Apprentice Biologist

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    You can't tell unless you define "thinking" ;)

    They definitely aren't. Individual experience and learning aside (which most animals are capable of, definitely including fishes), genetic differences also exist. An extreme example of the latter is bisexual or gay flies, produced by mutations of the fruitless gene.
     
  5. Penumbra

    Penumbra Traveler

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    So what your asking, if I understand, is what exactly determines the "nature" side of our nature/nurture growth and development?

    My first comment is that there is no such thing as the same exact stimulation. Even if two twins are born into the same environment, they experience differences. They're not going to be together every second of every day, and they may be treated ever so slightly differently by their parents and their peers, and so forth. It's a similar environment, but not exact.

    My second comment is that I really don't know what determines individuality. I guess it has to do with our genetic makeup, including how we physically are constructed, both body and brain. This combined with our unique set of experiences makes us who we are.

    Yes, differences exist in simple animals. It could be due to genetics, or again, because they are from different environments, even if only slightly different.

    As for more complex animals, they must think to some extent. I've seen my cat construct pretty elaborate strategies for getting what she wants. She'll try to trick me to get through a door that I don't want her getting through, and do other similar things. Then if it doesn't work out, because I outsmart her, she gets visibly frustrated. It's possible that I am relating human thoughts and emotions on to an animal, but there really is no better way to explain what it is that she does. She constructs plans, and then reacts visibly basically the same way that a human would if her plans don't work out right.

    I've also seen my friend's parrot open the lock on his cage after watching my friend open it and close it multiple times. It's not a trivial lock, it takes multiple steps to open. The parrot can understand that by moving a lever a few steps, it can open the door to his cage.

    I think higher thoughts, more complex thoughts, are language-based, so an animal can only think so complex of a thought before it hits a limit.
     
  6. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    This issue could be really wide and complex. So let's focus a little bit.

    The OP proposed a real simple, but may be critical model: It is the sleeping. Sleeping makes everyone different from everyone else.

    I mean there might be many potential reasons, but sleeping is the only mechanism which creates the result.
     
  7. Ectezus

    Ectezus Beholder

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    Personally I think sleeping started out just a mechanism like bear hibernation, ie: to save energy for a next period of high activity. In our case this was the next day. Without being able to see in the dark, having echo location and such we had no use to be active during the night.
    Not every animal has to sleep the way we do. Some stand upright all night, some sharks never stop swimming. There are probably better examples and research about this (please post if you know some) but from my point of view sleep started out for other reasons. To process/reshuffle information wasn't one of them I think because there are other ways to do that.

    Oh and on the subject of brains. It's our Tigers claw, our scorpions venom, our sharks teeth, our cheetah's speed. Natural selection selects stuff that works and our brain works quite efficient in our environment. The other animals in the animal kingdom think exactly the same about their abilities. :)

    - Ectezus
     
  8. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    I just read this one, which is one of the studies that links sleep with the information processing of brain:

     
  9. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    I think life receives and responds to stimulation by passing electric current through its internal neuron network. If the pattern of response is predictable, then the life is not thinking but only reflecting. Otherwise, it is thinking. If it is thinking, then the same stimulation could get many different patterns of electric current back.

    So, if a life is learning, then the pattern (of current? wave?) of response to the same stimulation may change with time.

    However, learning is different from thinking. Brain function of learning may fit into a progressive pattern. But the result/reaction from thinking is unpredictable.

    So, even we are learning the same thing, but our thinking about that learning are always different from each other. The order we are, the more difference it would show.
     
  10. Naraoia

    Naraoia Apprentice Biologist

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    He's asking the nurture side, I think...

    I wouldn't put it past a cat to be such a scheming bastard, but I'd be very cautious when it comes to inferring her state of mind. Coincidentally, I've just seen this in the news: dogs' "guilty look" seems to be a response to the owner's behaviour, not a sign of guilt. Dogs look "guilty" when the owner scolds them regardless of whether they'd actually done something bad. (Press release here.)

    Well, IIRC, some can form concepts like "middle" without language (I think that particular study was on a corvid, but I don't have a reference on hand. I think I got the example from Wild Minds, which I haven't read in years.), and fish can apparently count small numbers of objects, so forming abstract concepts doesn't seem language-dependent to me. New Caledonian crows (corvids never cease to amaze ;)) may be capable of causal and analogical reasoning.

    To me, this questions whether complex thought is really dependent on language, though of course it's possible that more complex thought still requires human-grade language. (What counts as complex thought?)

    If you put people in a brain imaging machine and ask them to perform various tasks that require thinking, you can get pretty similar, though (of course) not identical patterns. This is how neuroscientists try to figure out how the brain does various things. How unpredictable does it have to be to qualify as thinking?
     
  11. ranmaonehalf

    ranmaonehalf Senior Member

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    wow a serious roughly non Poe post. im impressed.
     
  12. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    So far, I am talking about science. It is low level stuff to me. However, that is where understanding begins.
     
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