[ExI] evolution

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 11 00:56:24 UTC 2017

spike wrote    we may find that most beasts use tools in some way, and
many of them make tools.
​There is a problem here with interpretation.  If a person, aka human, used
a tool, he must have learned it somehow, watching, experimenting - aka
learning either from others or just from messing around.  I think that
anyone who has worked on cars has invented a tool, perhaps using two
different tools to do a job.

The examples you gave of tool use were all instincts - aka not learned.
The thing about people is their adaptability.  We can create tools or use
tools for something other than their intended purpose.  Animals - aka other
animals - tend to do the same thing over and over, and the behavior does
not vary much at all from one individual to another.

For you to show that animals do use tools in much the same way we do,
you'll have to show changes in their instinctive behaviors and I don't
think you can do that.  A spider won't build a different web if the one she
has stays empty.  And the tool use will have to be relatively unique -
unlike other individuals of that species.

So show me learning to use tools and I'll be happy with that.

bill w


On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 4:43 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On
> Behalf
> Of MB
> Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:19 PM
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] evolution
> > That would be cool to see.  Had I known that, I would have looked
> > around for a sandy area and arranged for a small arthropod to pass by.
> >
> Oh spike, where did you grow up????  That's similar to
> what doodlebugs do, only thay make a pit-trap for the ant
> to fall into, then they catch them.  Surely you recall
> that from your childhood?
> Regards,
> MB
> _______________________________________________
> Of course!  We called them ant lions, but since you mention that particular
> beast, I have an a fun story from the 1960s.  You recall elementary school
> back in the day perhaps if you are old enough: if the teacher was feeling
> lazy she (they were all she back then) would put on a film in the old time
> projector and kick back for half an hour.
> You might recall plenty of those science films were full of baloney.  For
> instance, the one that comes to mind is an anthropology film which claimed
> the thing that sets humans apart from all other species was his ability to
> make tools.  They mentioned the notion was challenged by the observation of
> chimps stripping a twig to make a termite-extraction tool.  Afterwards in
> the discussion, I questioned that too.  Plenty of beasts make tools.  We
> could witness one creating a tool and using it right outside the door
> without having to go on a field trip.
> My open-minded teacher indulged me and allowed the class to witness, as I
> stepped out, dug an ant lion out of the ground, poured the sand away to
> isolate the ant lion, placed him on the sand.  We watched him flick sand to
> create an inverted cone ant trap.  There ya go: beast making a tool.  Then
> I
> took an ant, put her in the trap, ant lion flipped the sand, grabbed the
> ant: beast using a tool.
> My teacher didn't even attempt to claim that act didn't count as tool
> making.  The discussion evolved into birds gathering twigs to make a nest.
> A home is a tool.  A spider's web is a tool.  The beaver makes a dam which
> is a tool for backing up water, providing a barrier to trap fish.  The
> orcas
> work together to create a bubble curtain to herd schools of fish.  Orcas
> are
> in a whole nuther category: those guys work together to do all kindsa cool
> stuff.
> Whoever made that film displayed a remarkable lack of imagination.  If you
> look closely enough, we may find that most beasts use tools in some way,
> and
> many of them make tools.
> spike
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