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cognition
How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting trends
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Moth tongues, orchids and Darwin – the predictive power of evolution

Moth tongues, orchids and Darwin – the predictive power of evolution | cognition | Scoop.it
It took nearly 150 years to prove that a suggestion by Charles Darwin in 1862 was correct writes Dr Dave Hone

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Where nature and nurture clash: Pioneering a new theory of language

Where nature and nurture clash: Pioneering a new theory of language | cognition | Scoop.it
BY DANIEL L. EVERETT



In the wake of Newtown, Americans must be asking themselves: Is there something inherently violent about us? Are we doomed by our nature or our culture to endure ongoing, r
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confronting "biology made me do it" world view:



We certainly are all cut from the same biological mode. But nature made us flexible not rigid. That is why the bold idea of Chomsky and the evolutionary psychologists simply cannot explain what we know about human diversity. 

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FastTFriend's comment, June 17, 2013 6:27 AM
Human reasoning is the core of human flexibility. And it is this flexibility, not hard-wiring, that is the truly distinctive advantage and characteristic of human beings.
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McKenna, Abraham, Sheldrake - The Evolutionary Mind (1/3)

Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham, Rupert Sheldrake - "The Evolutionary Mind" 1998
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Daniel Dennett: 'I don't like theory of mind' – interview

Daniel Dennett: 'I don't like theory of mind' – interview | cognition | Scoop.it
American philosopher Daniel Dennett talks to Carole Jahme about faith, science, empathy – and Short Circuit

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This week American philosopher Daniel Dennett, a long-time stalwart of Darwin@LSE, shared his wisdom with a lunchtime crowd in the London School of Economics' Old Theatre. Since fellow philosopher Helena Cronin's 1995 launch of the LSE hub (which is devoted to evolution's maxims) Dennett has been a regular guest. His mission this week to persuade the public that cultural evolution exists and is facilitated due to our hierarchical nature, where those at the top tell others what to think and do. Dennett rhetorically asked, "Does culture make us smart enough to have minds?"

From studying the human ability to become good at things without understanding, which then leads to our acquisition of the cognisance to comprehend, via our competence, Dennett favours the theory (first suggested by Richard Dawkins) that our social learning has given us a second information highway (in addition to the genetic highway) where the transmission of variant cultural information (memes) takes place via differential replication. Software viruses, for example, can be understood as memes, and as memes evolve in complexity, so does human cognition: "The mind is the effect, not the cause."

Not all philosophers, including Cronin, agree that natural selection shapes culture. But Dennett goes even further, describing a spectrum where, at one end, memes are authorless and free floating and at the opposite end they are guided by forethought, are less Darwinian and more purposeful, such as statistics, computer software and poetry. "Natural selection is not gene centrist and nor is biology all about genes, our comprehending minds are a result of our fast evolving culture. Words are memes that can be spoken and words are the best example of memes. Words have a genealogy and it's easier to trace the evolution of a single word than the evolution of a language."

Because Dennett is an approachable, kind man, once his lecture finished I proposed accompanying him to his lunch appointment and asking a few questions en route. Luckily, he agreed.


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danijel drnić's curator insight, March 25, 2013 5:15 AM

..i da li je samo jezik slučajno ili namjerno sredstvo kojime se čitav svemir koristi. Jezik, govor, nije samo specifičan za ljude. Komunikacija se odvija na svim nivoima. 

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The Evolution of Religion

The Evolution of Religion | cognition | Scoop.it
The guests are the authors of two innovative books on the subject. "In The Faith Instinct"'s Nicholas Wade of the New York Times examines the scientific ev
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Taking a perspective rooted in evolutionary biology with a focus on brain science, they elucidate the perennial questions about religion: What is its purpose? How did it arise? What is its source? Why does every known culture have some form of it?

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Sarah Blaffer Hrdy - Mothers and Others

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy presents a new vision of human evolution and to argue that our capacity to understand, engage and empathise with each other stems from our status as a cooperatively parenting species.

 

 

NB: Due to copyright issues, the RSA has substituted other images for those actually used in the lecture. 

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Monogamy’s Boost to Human Evolution

Monogamy’s Boost to Human Evolution | cognition | Scoop.it
Fossil records suggest that by sticking around and protecting and feeding their offspring, early men paved the way for the growth of the human brain.

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Humans: The Cooking Ape, a lecture by Richard Wrangham

Speaker Series Lecture by Dr. Richard Wrangham, Harvard University & Leakey Foundation Grantee September 22, 2007 at the Field Museum in Chicago Harvard anth...
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Human beings are not obviously equipped to be nature’s gladiators. We have no claws, no armor. That we eat meat seems surprising, because we are not made for chewing it uncooked in the wild. Our jaws are weak; our teeth are blunt; our mouths are small. That thing below our noses? It truly is a pie hole.

To attend to these facts, for some people, is to plead for vegetarianism or for a raw-food diet. We should forage and eat the way our long-ago ancestors surely did. For Richard Wrangham, however, these facts and others demonstrate something quite different. They help prove that we are, as he vividly puts it, “the cooking apes, the creatures of the flame.”

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NOVA | Becoming Human

Support PBS! Blu-ray for this show is here: http://bit.ly/It428j Or donate: http://www.pbs.org/about/support-our-mission/ Part 1 --------- Where did we come ...
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"Last Human Standing" examines why "we" survived while those other ancestral cousins died out. And it explores the provocative question: In what ways are we still evolving today?

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The Evolution of Purposes

The Evolution of Purposes | cognition | Scoop.it
Before there was life on Earth, there were no purposes, no reasons. Things just happened. How could purposes emerge from such purposeless conditions? Looki
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Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution

Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution | cognition | Scoop.it

We are all members of a very special species. Whilst our anatomy and physiology is undoubtedly that of an ape, we have done things that no other ape can do, and become the most successful ape on the planet. Today, our global population numbers almost seven billion; we survive and thrive everywhere from the tropics to the Arctic.
So just what is it that makes us so special? In some ways we are so similar to our closest cousins, chimpanzees, but it’s also clear that we are a world apart. But we can understand ourselves, how we got to where we are today, by going back into our deep past, to the time when we were just another African ape. And then tracing the small changes that over time, and unpredictably, led to us becoming human.
The answers to the question of ‘what makes us human?’ lie buried in the ground in the form of fossils and traces of our ancestors, but also lie deep within the form and function of our bodies.

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