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

by dhw, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 12:39 (93 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: Abstraction is the ability to think in terms of universals instead of just particulars. It is the hallmark of the human mind, and of the human soul, and it corresponds to the spiritual nature of the human soul. Non-human animals also have minds and souls (as any dog owner knows—you don’t need two PhD’s) but bbnon-human animals only think concretely. (David’s bold)

dhw: 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.

DAVID: This proves you do not understand the difference between abstract and concrete reasoning.

dhw: By “concrete thinking” I mean thinking about existing objects such as leaves and flowers and food. By “abstract thinking” I mean thinking about things that are not materially present – ideas, the meaning of things rather than the things themselves.

You disagreed with my contrasting inventors and philosophers, and repeated:
DAVID: The analysis of leaves and later flowering requires the concept of connectedness, and that is abstract analytic thought.

Then please give us your definition of “abstract thought” and “concrete thought”. However, I would not want to be rigid about definitions, and so I responded:
dhw: I agree that the connections require correlation. And I have agreed that if that constitutes “abstract thinking” by your definition of it, then OK, the bee is “capable of rudimentary conceptual thought”. You have deleted your claim that the bee “[uses the same degree of conceptual thought that we use[/b]”. Do you stand by that statement? The article defined abstract thinking as “thinking in terms of universals”. Do you regard a connection between a bitten leaf and the plant flowering as “thinking in terms of universals”? [This was in contrast to “just particulars”.]

DAVID: I don't believe the bold is something I wrote, or I missed correcting a misprint. Bees do not think conceptually is my strict point. I accept the 'universals' statement. It is 'not OK' to grant bees any smidgen of abstract conceptual thought.

DAVID: (Tuesday July 14) The bite/earlier flowering of course is obvious to us. For the bee it requires the same degree of conceptual thought that we use. You are implying reasoning ability to bees they do not have. they only think concretely.

I should have put the word “uses” before the inverted commas. However, the bee DOES link the leaf to the flower, and therefore according to you, it DOES use the same degree of conceptual thought that we use! But since you think it is incapable of such thought, you tell us God does the thinking for the bee. Questions: 1) Do you really think that leaf-biting/flowering requires the same degree of conceptual thought as your analysing life’s history and concluding that there is a designing God; 2) do you really believe that your God directed one species of bee to bite a leaf and told it to watch out for early flowering? And 3) do you really believe that leaf-biting/flowering constitutes thinking in universals – a definition of abstract thinking which you accept?


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