If reason exists without deliberation, it cannot be uniquely human

#11
(May 30, 2019 08:59 PM)confused2 Wrote: From https://sites.google.com/site/sf11beaver...titledpost

Quote:...The young beavers were kept apart from the adults so that they would have no way to learn the behavior of dam building in response to the sound of flowing water. The results of his experiment were quite amazing. He discovered that the young beavers, who had never seen or built a dam before, built a similar dam to the adult beavers on their first try. He further investigated whether it was the sight of flowing water that triggered this dam building behavior or if it was sound that triggered it. The results of this were, again, astounding. Beavers’ dam building instinct was triggered by merely the sound of flowing water, not the sight. In one of his experiments, a beaver built a dam next to a speaker in a dry tank that was playing the sound of flowing water. ...
I must admit this isn't what I wanted to find when I looked for it. Is it possible early beavers were quite clever and knew why they were building dams? The little beavers wouldn't have known what to do unless shown. Over (possibly) millions of years the beavers that were most highly tuned to the sound of running water were the most successful to the point where (now) they have entirely forgotten why they are building dams - they don't even need to know - they just do their thing to stop the sound of running water and a dam happens naturally. Point being that building dams was a beaver cultural thing  for thousands (millions) of years before they got to the present 'instinctive' stage.  Demonstrations of instinctive behaviour aren't proof of absence of reasoned behaviour. (Sounded a bit Synish there - just a cultural thing.)

Hmm…Interesting. I wonder if the sound of high heels reinforces some type of biological wiring.

Speaking of beavers, I’m not sure if this is real or just a joke, but it was funny…. Big Grin
December 17, 1997
CERTIFIED

Mr. Ryan DeVries
2088 Dagget
Pierson, MI 49339

Dear Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023-1 T11N, R10W, Sec. 20, Montcalm Count-,),

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent
unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity: Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files show that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301,. Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially, failed during a recent rain event, causing debris dams and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 1998. Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff.

Failure to comply with this request, or any further unauthorized activity on the site, may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


Sincerely,
David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division
616-356-0269
dlp:bjc
cc: LWMD, Lansing
MontcaImCEA
Pierson Township
Lieutenant Mary C. Sherzer, DNR LED

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reply:
Stephen and Rosalind Tvedten
2530 Hayes Street
Marne, MI 49435-9751
616-677-1261
616-677-1262 Fax
steve@getipm.com
1/6/98

David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division
Grand Rapids District Office
State Office Bldg., 6th Floor
350 Ottawa, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2341

Dear Mr. Price:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20; Montcalm County

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.

First of all, Mr. Ryan DeVries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan - I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, nor authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris". I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated. My first concern is - aren't the dam beavers entitled to dam legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said dam representation - so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names. If you want the dam stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition - contact the dam beavers - but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter -- being unable to read English) - be sure you read them their dam Miranda first. As for me, I am not going to cause more dam flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers - be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this dam State - I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy - or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond. So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and there will be no dam way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem; bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!)

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.


Sincerely,

Stephen L.Tvedten

xc: PETA

(May 31, 2019 05:08 PM)C C Wrote: (Sisyphean Broadcasting Network)

OMG! Clever and spot on! I love it. Big Grin

(Jun 1, 2019 12:56 AM)confused2 Wrote: While waiting for SBN to bear fruit might be a good time to take time out to explain the background to our ongoing association with rats.

Many years ago Mrs C2 drew my attention to the phenomenon of occasional indoor rain - most especially in the kitchen. Being both helpful and resourceful I placed a bowl under the source of the rain and considered the matter dealt with. Some time later Mrs C2 raised a second ticket making the point that while stepping over the bowl she was occasionally struck by the indoor rain which was subject of the original complaint. I decided it was time to consult wise and experienced house builders and repairers. Much attention was given to the fact that the bowl never needed emptying - the rate of evaporation exceeded the rate at which the occasional rain filled the bowl and a strategy emerged. To solve the problem it was both necessary and sufficient to make a bowl sized hole in the wall above the kitchen, place the bowl in the wall and plaster over.  

To be continued...

You always say that but you never finish them. Undecided
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#12
Continuing with the rat thing.
We have a bowl of water that is seldom empty in a wall that is porous to rats and mice. All mammals and most other creatures need to drink at regular intervals. Rats are social creatures and will tell their friends and relations about places where they can find water. Mice may or may not do the same but when you're dealing with rats the odd mouse or two is neither here nor there. At this stage all the action is inside the bedroom wall. Mrs C2 says she hears creatures inside the wall and I dismiss these noises as being caused by birds on the roof.
To be continued...
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#13
Nothing changes for ten or maybe fifteen years. And then it starts raining in the kitchen again. Possibly an exceptional amount of rain. Possibly the bowl in the wall gang have found another source of water and aren't drinking enough. To find the source of of the leak I have no choice but to make exploratory holes in the wall. Our bedroom wall. If I am right about the noises being caused by birds on the roof then this is not a problem. If Mrs C2 is right about there being creatures in the wall then they will no longer be contained within the wall, In the next thrilling installment I will reveal which of us was right.

As a migrant from science forums I naturally restrict my posts to four lines or less unless I have some particular interest or expertise in the subject being discussed.
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#14
(May 24, 2019 06:59 AM)C C Wrote: But what if reason is not so much an inferential ability, as simply the power to do the right thing in the right circumstances?

I don't see those as exclusive alternatives.

An organism needs to be able to perceive and recognize salient features of its environment and situation. It needs to have some idea of what the "right thing" is in its particular situation. (What does 'right' mean in this context? That implies some goal or something that it wants to maximize or minimize.) Then it needs to address the "do" part, choosing among what might be a large set of alternative behaviors whose outcomes might be rather unpredictable.

Quote:Furthermore, what if this power flows automatically, from simply being the sort of creature one is?

It's going to be a function of an organism's innate cognitive abilities.

The 'lowest' organisms (protozoa, simpler invertebrates and perhaps even insects) seem to me to function like biological machines. If they are stimulated in suitable ways, innate sub-routines kick in and they show characteristic behaviors. They don't show much ability to learn from experience or to consider alternatives in making their choices. So sure, in these kind of organisms, behavior does seem to be a function of how they are stimulated and the sort of being the creature is. What they don't seem to show is creativity or unpredictability.

Quote:This is, more or less, the view of the 16th-century diplomat Girolamo Rorario [...] Rorario is representative of a little-known but venerable tradition of thought, extending back to Plutarch, that not only holds that reason is natural, but insists that reason is very widespread in nature indeed.

Rorario’s core idea is that human deliberation – the period of hesitancy when we survey our various options and eventually select what appears to be the best of them – far from being an advantage over other beings, is in fact a mark of our inferiority. Animals and plants do not hesitate. They cut right to the chase and, to the extent that they do not examine alternative options in order to choose among them, they are in a sense incapable of being wrong.

This is not to say that they are never foiled, that gazelles always take a path in fleeing the lion that assures their escape, or that vines always creep in the direction that will give them the most sunlight. It is just that, when they are foiled, this cannot be because they failed in their deliberation, since they do not deliberate. And still they seem to be doing just fine for themselves, pursuing their species-specific ends.

When they behave that way, they operate like machines. Certainly the behavior programmed into them by their biology is typically very adaptive, for obvious evolutionary reasons. (If it wasn't, they would be extinct.)

But put in a novel situation, or a situation in which the 'right' behavior isn't built into them, and they are at a loss. Humans adapt to new environments (the entire surface of planet Earth and even outer space) and they make use of what they find in their environment in novel and creative ways. That extraordinary adaptiveness on time scales far shorter than evolution is probably our own unique evolutionary breakthrough. (Other 'higher' organisms like mammals and even octopuses seem to display some ability to plan and to adapt too, albeit to a much smaller degree.)

Quote:Potentially, it’s not just living beings that fall under the scope of this alternative interpretation of reason as the power to move directly to action, rather than the power of making the correct inference. For everything in nature also just does what it does, simply and without deliberation, by virtue of the fact that everything in nature is bound by the same physical laws. Nature just keeps working smoothly. It never, ever breaks down.

Nature itself is a rational order, on this alternative view, both as a whole and in any of its subdomains. Reason is everywhere, with human reason being only an instantiation or reflection, within a very tiny subdomain, of the universal reason that informs the natural world.

Rorario's idea doesn't sound like a "little known" tradition of thought. It sounds like an expression of 16th century Renaissance Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism is a major strand of Western (and Islamic) intellectual history. In this view, our universe is a projection of higher rational principles, ultimately radiated by the divine Godhead. (The Christian or Islamic God, or Neoplatonism's ultimate transcendent One.)

As for me, I fully agree that the universe displays an order that I can't explain. But I don't agree in the idea that any and all order should be termed "reason". Reason isn't order for me, it's an activity, a performance. It's problem-solving ability.
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#15
I'm back to beavers. There's a mosquito in your room. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee   <-- mosquito sound. You turn the light on, more eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee but you can't find a mozzie. How long, if ever, is it before you stop looking for the source of the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee? Now being a beaver. There is the sound of running water (from a loudspeaker) and the beaver knows the sound of running water means running water and where there is running water a dam will be appropriate.
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#16
(Jun 3, 2019 01:59 AM)confused2 Wrote: If Mrs C2 is right about there being creatures in the wall then they will no longer be contained within the wall,  In the next thrilling installment I will reveal which of us was right.

Well? Who was right?

Sorry, C2, but I'm secretly rooting for Mrs C2.
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#17
SS Wrote:Sorry, C2, but I'm secretly rooting for Mrs C2.
Rats in the wall or no rats? If there are rats in the wall and I have made hole in the wall we could easily wake up surrounded by rats. Mrs C2 had even mentioned a nightmare which involved waking up surrounded by rats. Rats are very good at sharing a house - they leave it in the state they found it and you wouldn't even know they've been there. After the alarm clock went off (I guess) they gave us an hour or so to clear out and then the house was theirs. On a Sunday morning we hadn't set the alarm - it seems like the rats must have assumed they'd missed the alarm going off and the coast was clear. I was woken by ... instead of scrabbling through the wall the rats were jumping out of one of the holes and walking through our bedroom and then jumping back into the wall.
Honesty might have compelled me to wake Mrs C2, admit that I had been wrong and point out that there was a fair possibility that she might actually be surrounded by rats. In reality I was able to indicate to the rat community by hand gestures alone that they had come at a rather bad time and I would be forever grateful if they went away and I didn't get divorced. They went away and I am forever grateful to them.
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#18
(Jun 8, 2019 01:10 AM)confused2 Wrote:
SS Wrote:Sorry, C2, but I'm secretly rooting for Mrs C2.
Rats in the wall or no rats? If there are rats in the wall and I have made hole in the wall we could easily wake up surrounded by rats. Mrs C2 had even mentioned a nightmare which involved waking up surrounded by rats. Rats are very good at sharing a house - they leave it in the state they found it and you wouldn't even know they've been there. After the alarm clock went off (I guess) they gave us an hour or so to clear out and then the house was theirs. On a Sunday morning we hadn't set the alarm - it seems like the rats must have assumed they'd missed the alarm going off and the coast was clear. I was woken by ... instead of scrabbling through the wall the rats were jumping out of one of the holes and walking through our bedroom and then jumping back into the wall.
Honesty might have compelled me to wake Mrs C2,  admit that I had been wrong and point out that there was a fair possibility that she might actually be surrounded by rats.  In reality I was able to indicate to the rat community by hand gestures alone that they had come at a rather bad time and I would be forever grateful if they went away and I didn't get divorced. They went away and I am forever grateful to them.

Remember the one that you released from the box that came running back into the box? Well, she (I’m assuming it was a she) was probably established. Once established, they’ll always return.

Soak a cotton ball with a little ammonia and place into the wall. Tell Mrs. C2 that you were just doing a little cleaning. Wait…that might be an unbelievable tale. Better stick with the truth. Wink
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