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  #1  
Old 09-22-2005, 04:45 AM
David Sklansky David Sklansky is offline
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Default The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

This one might really be original. In any case it is highly relevant so I'm back to naming things after me.

The following question is not purely theoretical or philosophical. It could, in principle, be answered perfectly. But it would take a long time.

Most people consider even the smartest animals not only dumber than us but different in other ways as well. Some say they have no soul. Some say they have no conscience, or consciousness, or the realization that they will die. They can't think abstractly. They have no morals. etc. etc.

Others speculate that the only differnces are intelligence and lack of language. Improve those problems and they could be similar to humans.

Koko the gorilla and Kanzai the chimpanzee are probably the closest animals to us. They are both smart and have a few hundred word vocabularly. But their vocal chords won't let them talk. Instead they use keyboards and computer screens. Meanwhile I believe they communicate this way mainly with humans. Perhaps they have also some dialogue with a few others of their species who have been trained similarly. Perhaps also they have done some experiments where the TRAINING of the language of a newbie chimpanzee was done by Kanzai.

Now supposed the worlds' scientists decided to embark on a mega year project where they somehow fitted every single chimpanzee at birth with a portable keyboard, an implanted screen and taught each chimp to the best of their abilies how to use them. Those chimps who could handle more words had more added to their computers. They also taught the chimps how to teach other chimps more words. (An alternative scenario would be to somehow surgically add a voiceboxes to each chimp and teach him to say, as well as understand, as many words as possible.)

As the scientists trained and kept close tabs on evey chimp, they also did the following.

1. Made the chimps environment less harsh so that food would be plentiful but not so plentiful that there was no reason to think.

2. Noticed which chimps were the very best at learning, communicating, and training.

3. Only let the cream of the crop have offspring.

4. Other actions that would enhance this project that I may not have thought of.

So the Sklansky Chimpanzee Question is whether such a project would ever result in a chimpanzee equal to an intelligent human, either in intelligence or the other attributes that people generally feel intelligent humans have, or both. (Specifically the project would be declared a success the first time a chimp registered for, and put a post on, the Two Plus Two Philosphy Forum). How long that would take is another good question. But the important question is whether it would happen at all. And what that would say about most religions if it could.
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2005, 04:59 AM
sexdrugsmoney sexdrugsmoney is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

Planet of the Apes on the Sci-Fi channel David? [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2005, 05:02 AM
David Sklansky David Sklansky is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

Please don't tell me that they did a similar experiment in that movie. I gotta have SOMETHING named after me.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2005, 05:05 AM
Shandrax Shandrax is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

I think the final step of evolution would be chimps waxing their body hair, shaving their faces and starting to play poker.

Maybe they could even fake their own moon-landing [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]


Currently the smartest chimps are supposed to have the IQ of a 4 year old human child. The question is of course if all of the really smart chimps participated in such studies. Maybe some of them didn't like the idea to help those stupid humans with their ridiculous experiements.

In my opinion it is realistic to assume that the smartest chimp is smarter than the most stupid human on earth - which may actually qualify him to be the major of Liverpool or similar towns.
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:14 AM
sexdrugsmoney sexdrugsmoney is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

[ QUOTE ]
Please don't tell me that they did a similar experiment in that movie. I gotta have SOMETHING named after me.

[/ QUOTE ]

Has Gödel's "Incompleteness Theorem" been solved yet?
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2005, 05:39 AM
[censored] [censored] is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

If we believe that humans evolved and that this evolution was heavily influenced by intelligence, that is if the smartest were able to better master their environment and breed.

Now you are asking if chimps have a intelligence that can be increased significantly through selective breeding.

My question to you and my answer is what would lead you to believe that if this was possible, it would not have already occured in nature?

I think that a species probably has a intelligence cap that no amount of selective breeding can get passed.

If it did happen, it would have very little affect on those who prescribe to religion.
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  #7  
Old 09-22-2005, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

I think that if a chimp was proven to be as smart as a human then there would be a huge religious fiasco. Because how could something as smart as us not have a soul. Whoah, now the Catholic church takes a few more blows and finds a way to prove through the hidden new secret Apocrypha that "Oh yeah, And the lord said thine chimp will rise to heaven" The Planet of the Apes has completely warped my mind. Remember when the apes mocked us and said that humans don't have a soul.
"Beware the beast man, for he is the harbinger of death"
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  #8  
Old 09-22-2005, 05:59 AM
KeysrSoze KeysrSoze is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

I dont think chimps have a certain lobe or something that would enable spoken language even if there was a voicebox operation. But anyway, selective breeding is astonishingly quick compared to natural selection. Breeding for intelligence might not take long at all depending on how lucky you are to get the right mutations along the way.
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2005, 06:17 AM
einbert einbert is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

Awesome post, very interesting stuff to chew on.

To say it would never be accomplished would be pretty ridiculous in my opinion. Given enough time, this would almost certainly work. They would be able to reach the levels of human communication in many ways, and perhaps even civilization. But would they be "on the level" with humans? Because by the time humans are able to do that, to test whether they are "on the level" would be to see if they could train a less evolved species to reach the levels of communication/civilization that they have already reached.

I believe a few animals have a larger cerebral cortex than humans (in relation to their body mass), whales and dolphins being some of them perhaps? In any case supposedly the cerebral cortex is the area of the brain that allows for this kind of advanced thought, the kind of thought that allows for high-level communication like language. Maybe we should try this with dolphins as well. Too bad they don't have fingers--I guess they're just going to miss out because of that.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2005, 06:20 AM
einbert einbert is offline
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Default Re: The Sklansky Chimpanzee Question

[ QUOTE ]
I think that a species probably has a intelligence cap that no amount of selective breeding can get passed.

[/ QUOTE ]

Intelligence is one thing, but the ability to make use of previously unused regions of the brain is another. This is basically what we would be teaching the chimps to do.

[ QUOTE ]
If it did happen, it would have very little affect on those who prescribe to religion.

[/ QUOTE ]
I tend to agree.
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