Evolution: a different view (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, May 14, 2015, 13:46 (1920 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The scenario I suggested for the above was that if/when a group of apes descended from the trees, for whatever reason, and began a new way of life, they may have found their language inadequate for their purposes. The desire to produce new sounds may (of course it's all hypothetical) have resulted in the changes you have described - just as the brain may have grown more complex as a result of new tasks our ancestors were setting themselves.

DAVID: Interesting concept evolution by desire! Wish hard enough and it happens. Yipes!

Of course evolution has to be connected to desire. The primal desire is to survive. Unless you wish to argue that your God preplanned every adaptation or intervened personally to make it possible, you are forced to agree that there is a mechanism within individual organisms that in some cases enables them to fulfil that desire.(In others, it fails.) I am extending the desire to survive to the desire to improve, and you have agreed with this, as well as with the suggestion that some individual organisms may be cleverer than others, which would make them more capable of innovation. And so if you believe in common descent, each step from bacteria onwards is the result of a desire for survival or improvement. That doesn't mean you can wish for anything and get it, which is the implication of your response. It means that within the limits of their own capabilities, some cell communities find new ways of exploiting new conditions, others simply adapt, and others die.

dhw: Muscles can be made to grow with exercise; we know that many organisms change their structure in order to adapt.
DAVID: How does one adapt to something that is not present, the ability to speak rudimentary language. Once the changes appear, then one can see the progression you bring up by magical thinking and wishing.

Firstly, your objection applies to all innovations, and the answer I have suggested is that all the cell communities cooperate to enable the innovation to function. Secondly, your assumption that our ancestors did not “speak rudimentary language” is quite extraordinary. How do you think they communicated? In this context, however, I do not accept that “language” is confined to what you and I are familiar with. The fact that we do not speak ape language does not mean that ape language is not language, and a lowered larynx does not mean earlier apes or hominids did not use the larynx they had to make sounds that were intelligible to each other. And I still don't know why you think it must have hung around for (hundreds of) thousands of years doing nothing, as if our ancestors all stopped talking to one another.

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