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

by dhw, Sunday, July 19, 2020, 13:09 (20 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How does a bee brain put together the correlation of two different events over 2.5 weeks in time? As a human you need several observations and then the ability to correlate it.

dhw: Bees have memory. The bee bit the leaf of the plant, and 2.5 weeks later it saw that the plant had flowered. Repeated observation confirmed the link. Does that make the bee a philosopher?

DAVID: How did repeated observation make the bees connect the two separate events? It requires complex analytic thinking, not concrete thinking to make the connection. We can do that, not bees. Repeated events put into memory still require an analysis of thought about it at some juncture. Just memory is not enough. Surely you can understand that. A realization of the correlation must happen! That is never concrete thinking.

You wrote that this observation involves “the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”. If you see one event repeatedly following another, you do not have to be an Einstein to figure out that the first event causes the second event. If you regard the bee’s repeated observation of leaf-biting resulting in early flowering as abstract, analytical “thinking in terms of universals”, that’s up to you. Using your criteria, I would then suggest that bees are capable of rudimentary conceptual thought. But personally, I would regard it as concrete thought: "When I did (a), (b) happened. Let's see if it happens again." I remain surprised that you should think this strategy is so complex and so necessary for life to go on that your God decided to teach it to this one species of bee. Or of course that 3.8 billion years ago, he provided the very first cells with a computer programme for leaf-biting by one species of bee.

DAVID: Your surprise is not surprising. I originally presented the finding because of the obvious problem of explaining how it happened as an instinct. Why should bees bite bitter (to me) leaves in the first place? That is not a normal activity for bees of any sort.

How does any organism ever discover anything? Life is a learning process. If a baby accidentally puts its hand in the fire, it will learn that fire is dangerous. Maybe way back in history, our little Miss Bee said to herself: “This leaf looks tasty. Let me suck it and see.” And when she went back a fortnight later, she saw the plant had flowered. No, she didn’t look at her wristwatch. She just thought: “Oh, it flowered. Maybe my bite made it flower. Let me try biting its neighbour which hasn’t flowered yet.” For you this is on a par with David Turell asking himself how life began, analysing the complexities of the cell and the human brain, and coming up with the concept of an unseen universal intelligence that has existed for eternity.

DAVID: All of the bush is purpose, and needed for food supply.

dhw: 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'll stick with humans as the prime endpoint. The bush provides the necessary energy for 7.3 billion and burgeoning human population.

dhw: End point is not the same as purpose. It may well be that evolution will not produce any organism more intelligent than us. But that has nothing to do with the theory bolded above, and if “all of the bush is purpose”, WHAT is its purpose? 3.X billion years’ worth of non-human bush does not provide food for 7.3 billion humans who do not yet exist!

DAVID: Now your limited view of God is that He doesn't/cannot realize what the future holds for the population of reproducing humans running the planet?? Weird line of reasoning.

The weird line of reasoning is that your God only wanted to directly design one particular species plus its food supply, but spent 3.X billion years directly designing billions of now extinct non-human life forms and food supplies.


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