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According to Dr. Lorenz, geese possess a veritably human capacity for grief. In his conversations with laymen, he would frequently say, "Animals are much less intelligent than you are inclined to think, but in their feelings and emotions they are far less different from us than you assume." Quite literally, a man, a dog, and a goose hang their heads, lose their appetites, and become indifferent to all stimuli emanating from the environment. For grief-striken human beings, as well as for geese, one effect is that they become outstandingly vulnerable to accidents; they tend to fly into high-tension cables or fall prey to predators because of their reduced alertness.
After the death of his beloved mate, Ado attached himself to Dr. Lorenz. According to Dr. Lorenz, "...Ado would shyly creep up after me, his body hunched in sadness, and he would remain motionless about 25 or 30 feet away." Ado spent the remainder of the year sad and isolated.
There have been reports of pair bonds that are so strong that if one goose is shot down by a hunter, the partner will circle back. Drawn by its need to stay with its lifelong companion, the single goose will often ignore the sound of shooting and return to die with its mate.
Widowed geese have been observed circling around and around, crying in heartrending sorrowful tones when their partners die or are murdered by hunters. The remaining goose may mourn for a period of time and then mate again. Or they may mourn for the rest of their lives and never seek another mate. Just as with people, it varies with individual geese.
originally posted by: Blue_Jay33
a reply to: St Udio
Doesn't that go against the whole idea of survival of the fittest in evolution.
HOW DID CONSCIENCE EVOLVE?
originally posted by: TzarChasm
a reply to: randyvs
Those who have a conscience
tend to believe in a supreme being.
i have met a lot of assholes who attend church regularly.
Don't think attending church says anything about whether you believe in a supreme being or have a conscience, most go for the pot luck.
No response to this, Blue Jay? You made a claim but completely ignored my counterpoint. How is conscience separate from the brain? How is it different? You can't just make stuff up as if it's true and then ignore everybody's questions about it. Please explain yourself.
Consciousness also appears to have emerged at some point in evolution. Perhaps occurring initially as a “helpless-spectator” epiphenomenon, consciousness then assumed
control of its biological environment (Jaynes, 1976). The emergence of consciousness in our brains (during each conscious moment, during evolution and during the development of each human being) may be likened to new properties of materials which develop from
microscopic or quantum-level events. For example, the distinct properties of superconductivity and superfluidity emerge from materials as their individual atoms reach a
high level of coherence. In these cases, ordered alignment or coherence is due to lowering temperature to near absolute zero to reduce thermal oscillations. Consequently, at a
critical degree of coherence, totally new macroscopic properties (superconductivity, superfluidity) emerge (Leggett, 1989).
This paper suggests that consciousness may emerge as a macroscopic quantum state.
originally posted by: Astyanax
HOW DID CONSCIENCE EVOLVE?
Great question. Here's the answer I think is correct:
- Conscience is instinctive, but it is malleable in humans as all our instincts appear to be, and is susceptible to conditioning.
Most of the foregoing discussion has been about this lability of conscience. Some people have been using it as an argument that conscience is simply learning — the internalization of group morality. I don't want to go into all that. I'm more interested in the OP's question:
- If conscience is instinctive, it must have evolved. How did it evolve?
Because we are social animals, we have two sets of instincts. One set is selfish: we do our best to avoid pain and hunger, we seek pleasure, status and reproductive opportunities.
Another set is social, that is unselfish or altruistic: we care for our young and members of our kin group who find it difficult to care for themselves, warn others of danger, return favours, cooperate to achieve common goals and so on.
Very often situations arise in which our selfish instincts conflict with our social ones. The selfish instincts, which are so powerful, could then impel us to act against the best interest of our genes (which ultimately is what all this is about) by overcoming our social instincts in situations where following the latter would reap a greater reproductive benefit.
A counterweight is needed. Over time, natural selection favours individuals in whom the selfish instincts are in balance with the social ones. This is true of all social species, even fairly primitive creatures like shoaling fish. But in higher animals, those with some ability to think and feel (born-again Christians are a good example), this dynamic tension between opposing sets of instincts causes feelings of temptation, guilt, shame, remorse, confusion, and so on. Meanwhile, the Christian's rational brain is seeking out ways to understand why he or she feels like this, and wondering how to feel better.
This complex of thoughts and feelings, a product or manifestation of consciousness, is what we call conscience.
Does it affect our actual behaviour? I don't think so, except among people in whom moral conflict becomes an obsession and a torment — people whose consciences are driving them crazy. In such cases it could lead, over time, to inappropriate coping behaviour, psychotic episodes or suicide. But for most of us, conscience is really an after-the-fact kind of thing. Our moral actions, like all our actions, are initiated at a pre-conscious level, where the promptings of conscience (a faculty of consciousness, remember) cannot affect them.
I acknowledge that this is a rather materialistic way of looking at it, but then, that's how I look at most things. I certainly don't see any great mystery about the evolution of conscience.
originally posted by: Blue_Jay33
a reply to: Barcs
I have a new way of dealing with certain posters/discussions on ATS, I present my side, when the other person presents theirs, I leave at that, and then the neutral people can decide. I am not trying to sway you anyway Barcs.
So if animals don't have it,
and humans are born with it, the question is how did it evolve ?