Re: [asa] The Spiritual Brain

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Sun Oct 14 2007 - 23:29:54 EDT

At 12:49 PM 10/8/2007, David Campbell wrote:

> > @ From where did they recruit the people
> that were chosen to play this "ultimatum game"? ~ Janice

>The twin study recruited large numbers of twins
>in Sweden, but the basic game has been tried on
>numerous people from many places. ~ David Campbell.

> > Only highly ungrateful, covetous mentalities
> would cut their noses off to spite their faces
> and want to "punish" those who they perceive as
> having more than they do. ~ Janice

>"It's not exactly perceiving that the others
>have more than they. The scenario is that a
>certain lump sum (often cash when people are the
>subjects) is available. Person one (not
>directly met by person 2) makes an offer "I'll
>take x% and leave you the rest. If person 1 is
>greedy and wants to take most of it for himself,
>person 2 often rejects the offer, leaving
>neither with anything. It's a small-scale
>example of imposing perceived fairness on others
>despite personal cost, and correlates with
>greater willingness to share." ~ David Campbell

@ If an individual takes action in attempt to
impose his ideas of "fairness" against one he
perceives to be "greedy" that does not correlate
with "greater willingness to share", it
correlates with the unprincipled,
unchristian-like actions of a control-freak who
"knows best". (C.S. Lewis' "omnipotent busy-body"/ "do-gooder" legalist)

"Since an individual who rejects a positive offer
is choosing to get nothing rather than something,
individuals must not be acting solely to maximize
his economic gain. Several attempts to explain
this behavior are available. Some authors suggest
that individuals are maximizing their expected
utility, but money does not translate directly
into expected utility. Perhaps individuals get
some psychological benefit from engaging in
punishment or receive some psychological
harm from accepting a low offer." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimatum_game

>"Of course, this is a rather simplistic scenario
>attempting to produce an easily replicated test
>of people's inclinations. Foregoing a small
>share of the reward in order to punish greed in
>another could be spite or a strong sense of
>fairness or various other motives. Conversely,
>whichever chimp was #1 was usually greedy by
>human standards, but exactly how they would
>perceive it is certainly speculative. It's not
>amenable to simply labeling the humans as bad
>and chimp good. I suspect there are connections
>to the ability to recognize another individual
>as having needs and desires like oneself, an
>ability apparently largely confined to humans as
>far as we know and which is a key part of moral
>responsibility." ~ David Campbell

@ Unlike the "do-gooder" Pharisees, the Good
Samaritan had the ability to recognize that even
one who may be a greedy thief has "needs and
desires" like himself, and personally took care
of the situation out of his own pocket.

"Based on fMRI studies of the brain during
decision-making, different brain regions activate
dependent upon whether the participating subject
"accepts" or "declines" an offer. Since to
"decline" means that neither receives any money,
the responder is actually "punishing" the player
who makes a low offer. Punishing activates the
part of the brain that is associated with the
dopamine pathway ­ i.e. it provides pleasure to
punish. Hence, the subjects who refuse and punish
in the process, possibly receive more pleasure
from punishment than they would from accepting a
low offer. This is, therefore, an expected
utility argument where the currency is in
pleasures received rather than goods or their
associated values in money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimatum_game

Atheists have a lot at stake, which explains
their frantic efforts in attempting to prove that
man is _basically_ good ---or --- at least "in
the process of evolving" into being - what they
perceive to be - "good". I view "games" like this
as merely one of their subtle tools.

> > "..It seems man's best friend has lost a
> part of its brain that kept much of its wolf
> instincts. On the other hand.. it has gained
> the ability to understand pointing. When we
> point at >something, a fellow human
> automatically transfers its attention to the
> object we point to, rather than just staring at
> the hand. So does a dog with just a little training. Wolves do not,
> >and neither do chimps or any other species
> known to man. ...the capacity to point and to
> understand pointing is everything..." ~ Janice

>Actually, several species in domestication do
>this. Tamed foxes can do the same; wild ones
>don't. Our eastern painted turtle seemed to
>learn to follow our pointing from outside his
>tank to find a cheerio or bug (no rigorous
>experimental setup). Many animals have some way
>of communicating that something of interest or
>concern is in a particular direction, even if
>they lack the ability to point. ~ David Campbell

@ ".. wolves performed at chance, while both dogs
and puppies performed well above chance levels."
http://www.interdisciplines.org/coevolution/papers/9/5/printable/discussions/view/1176

  "...the ability to follow a pointing gesture is
very rare in the animal kingdom. Even super smart
animals like chimpanzees have a very hard time
with pointing comprehension. ...Dogs, unlike most
animals, can be taught to reliably use the
pointing gesture as an indication of the location
of far away objects. This rare ability has been
attributed to their long history of domestication
– researchers think that humans might have
selectively bred dogs to understand
pointing.
http://www.thedolphinpod.com/index.php?p=transcripts/dolphinsgetthepoint

"Pointing" aside, the "points" I wanted to make
by providing this link http://tinyurl.com/2bp26j were things like this:

Reason is not Intelligence in itself, only an
instrument of intelligence. Few things create
more mischief than reason in the hands of an
unintelligent or immoral wonker. .."

~ Janice

==Original Message==
Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2007 12:21:30 -0400
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [asa] The Spiritual Brain

"A possible hint at how our thinking differs from
that of animals comes from the latest
Science. In the ultimatum game (participant 1
proposes a division of stuff; participant 2
either agrees, in which case each gets the share
allotted by 1, or rejects, in which case neither
gets anything), people typically reject offers
seen as too unfair, even though it means that
they will get nothing. E.g., most people would
rather get nothing than get 10% when the other
person gets 90%. Chimps, however, acted in
maximal self-interest, percieving getting
anything as more important than punishing the
greed of the other chimp. Correspondingly, chimp
1 was generally a poor sharer. A paper just out
in PNAS found that identical twins (humans) were
much more likely than fraternal twins to have the
same threshold for agreeing versus rejecting
(both tested as person 2 against an unknown
1). The authors argued that this indicates a
strong genetic influence on our perception of
fairness." ~ David Campbell 01:51 PM 10/5/2007 Re: [asa] The Spiritual Brain

@ From where did they recruit the people that
were chosen to play this "ultimatum game"?

Only highly ungrateful, covetous mentalities
would cut their noses off to spite their faces
and want to "punish" those who they perceive as having more than they do.

Unlike the ungrateful covetous individuals chosen
to play the "game" above, the innocent animal
(the chimp) accepted what God provided to him.
http://biblebrowser.com/matthew/6-28.htm

It appears to me as if neither the scientists who
did the study, nor those who "fund" such studies,
nor the people who played their game -- know how
to point OR understand pointing.

  "..It seems man's best friend has lost a part
of its brain that kept much of its wolf
instincts. On the other hand.. it has gained the
ability to understand pointing. When we point at
something, a fellow human automatically transfers
its attention to the object we point to, rather
than just staring at the hand. So does a dog with
just a little training. Wolves do not, and
neither do chimps or any other species known to
man. ...the capacity to point and to understand
pointing is everything..." http://tinyurl.com/2bp26j

~ Janice

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Received on Sun Oct 14 23:30:41 2007

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