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Neuroscience we don’t need much more of

Beautifully represented here:

The neuroscience of Facebook: It makes our brains happy

From this perspective there might not be anything special at all about our ability and tendency to think about the social world. Other people can be thought of as a series of hard problems to be solved because they stand between us and our reptilian desires. Just as our prefrontal cortex can allow us to master the game of chess, the same reasoning suggests that our all-purpose prefrontal cortex can learn to master the social game of chess—that is, the moves that are permissible and advantageous in social life. From this perspective, intelligence is intelligence whether it’s being applied to social life, chess, or studying for a final exam. The creator of one of the most widely used intelligence tests espoused this view, arguing that social intelligence is just “general intelligence applied to social situations.” This view implies social intelligence isn’t special and our interest in the social world is just an accident—a consequence of the particular problems we are confronted with.

If you really think there isn’t anything special about our ability and tendency to think about the social world, try enjoying the society of a rodent.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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2 Responses to Neuroscience we don’t need much more of

  1. Sure there are ways to learn to control people and use them for your own purposes. Divide and conquer is one way, but that is not very socially acceptable any more. However mind games are much more subtle.

    Bullying is one way it happens, although I guess that is not too subtle. But there are other more subtle ways as well.

    This illustrates one big weakness of science – if you can call this science.

    Science can not tell us how to use the knowledge we learn through doing science. Is there a proper and improper use? Science cannot even tell us that. When it comes to morality, science is speechless.

    It might be able to tell us the expected results of our actions, but not whether we should or should not act that way.

    Knowledge is great, but any good thing can be misused or used for sinful purposes. This is advocating a selfish use of knowledge to help one get ahead and leave others in our wake. This is the essence of sin. The middle letter of the word is “I”. Sin is self-centeredness, selfishness, putting self first, before God and others.

    “Other people can be thought of as a series of hard problems to be solved because they stand between us and our reptilian desires.”

    Is it fair to say that this is a pretty good summary of the evolutionary view of man?

    People are things that stand in the way of my fulfillment!
    They are not fellow humans made in the image of God worthy of love and respect. They are things to be used to secure my happiness and well being.

    Whether this is the most common view of man in atheism and science, I don’t know, but no atheist can say that this is a wrong view of man. We use animals to help us plow fields, carry things, etc. People are nothing more than evolved animals or fish as some say, so really, what is the problem? An atheist has no firm ground to stand on to rebut this outside of public opinion which differs from country to country. There can be no absolute truth in atheism or morality. That stuff is just a figment of our imagination having evolved to help keep social order. But those who understand that can use that knowledge to their own benefit – in ways that are not appropriate if they so desire.

  2. I agree social intelligence is just general intelligence applied to social things.
    They got that right.
    Thats why autistic kids have problems with social things.

    However chess is not a frontlobe reasoning game.
    Its not reasoning but rather its just memory at work. Yes reason takes place but no more then in driving.
    Computers play chess but don’t reason. Just remember things.
    We think with our souls and the only material thing connected to our thinking is our memory. Our memory, possibly, no better then animals.
    Its the underestimate of memory that has confused ideas about humnan intelligence and fixing/healing problems.

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