Evolution and the Emergent Self

Evolution and the Emergent Self

4.11 - 1251 ratings - Source

Raymond L. Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes rising complexity in life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity to store information with relatively open-ended programs, making learning possible. Portraying four species with high brain-to-body ratiosamdashchimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphinsamdashNeubauer shows how each shares with humans the capability for complex communication, social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. He describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that humanity is not the only self-aware species and that human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and are emerging in a variety of lineages on our planet. Neubauer ultimately shows that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an extension of a fundamental strategy that organisms have used since the beginning of life on earth to gather information and buffer themselves from environmental fluctuations. Neubauer also views these processes in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that become more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in qself-organizingq structures in both living and non-living forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. In February 2011, NASA announced that the Kepler space telescope had located fifty-four planets in the habitable zones around their stars. Life makes use of the elements most commonly seeded into space by burning and exploding stars, and the evolution of life and intelligence that occurred on our planet may be common across the universe.Lab Studies Evaluating a large number of reports in journals can give an estimate of animal behavior in the wild. Demonstrating cognitive ... Corvids show evidence of rule transfer, whereas pigeons begin at chance levels. The learning rule isanbsp;...

Title:Evolution and the Emergent Self
Author:Raymond L. Neubauer
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2011-12-20


You Must CONTINUE and create a free account to access unlimited downloads & streaming