Back to David's theory of evolution of abstract thought (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, July 17, 2020, 10:10 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Again slipping over the interpretation of a time interval of several weeks to relate a causation. Conrete thought cannot do this! The mental connection requires abstract thought.

dhw: We need definitions then. You seem to think that any organism that has memory and is able to link past events to present events “requires the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”...But if you say a bee that remembers biting a leaf and makes the connection between that and the later flowering of the plant is performing abstract thought, that’s fine with me. Only I wouldn't call it thinking "in terms of universals", or "the same degree of conceptual thought that we use."

DAVID: Are you backing down? Like Nagel (bats) how does a bee see a rose bush. As like you and I with a full understanding of all the parts. A bee has no understanding of all those relationships and cannot correlate leaf biting with later earlier flowering. The 'earlier' is a helpful concept, which brings purpose into the picture. Not for a bee brain.

Why does a bee have to have a “full understanding” of anything at all? Its only purpose here is to get its food. If it sees that one action causes another which is helpful, that’s enough for the bee! No, I am not backing down, but if you say that linking concrete cause to concrete effect constitutes abstract thinking, then so be it: in that case, the bee is capable of what you define as abstract thinking. But it does not involve “the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”, and I don’t think even you would claim that a bitten leaf leading to an early flowering constitutes “thinking in terms of universals”.

DAVID: It takes human observation to make the real connections as in my first article. For us or a bee to develop an instinct to bite, it would require multiple observations They are only concrete.

What do you mean by the “real connections”? What is unreal about a bitten leaf leading to early flowering? But yes of course it would require multiple, concrete observations for bees to establish the consistency of this concrete effect that results from a concrete cause. Why do you think bees and the rest of the non-human world are incapable of multiple, concrete observations?

DAVID: Behe supports me. I can use him as you use Shapiro.

dhw: I don’t know if Behe expressly tells us that God provided the first cells with programmes for leaf-biting bees, weaverbirds’ nests, and every other life form, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. But it doesn’t matter if he does or doesn’t. You have constantly vacillated between preprogramming of species and direct dabbling of species, but both theories overstretch my own credulity, especially when you link them to the theory that your God had no other purpose than to produce H. sapiens .

DAVID: I'll accept your incredulity. You accept God's right to choose a method and even evolve us. We're here. He must have chosen to create us. We are obviously a prime purpose. You don't like it a an 'only' purpose. That has never been my thought.

I have no objection to the theory that God, if he exists, chose to create us. But I have frequently asked you what other purpose your God might have had. So do please tell us at last.

DAVID: We are an end point purpose. All of the bush is purpose, and needed for food supply.

Food supply for what? I agree that if God exists, the whole bush must have been part of his purpose. I do not agree that the whole bush was directly designed for the purpose of providing food for directly designed non-humans until he could directly design the only species he wanted to design, which was us. If, however, you now think that he had another purpose for spending 3.X billion years directly designing all the extinct non-human life forms and natural wonders, please tell us what it was.

DAVID: I've told you I think evolution is over. What could be better than us? A shrinking brain should signal that. We run the Earth and control its evolution.

I don’t like the word “better”, but I have no objection to the theory that evolution is unlikely to produce anything cleverer than us. How does that support your theory bolded above?


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