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

by dhw, Sunday, July 26, 2020, 10:55 (95 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have said above that I have no objection to your claim that it requires abstract thought – this simply depends on your definition of “abstract”, which you have not given us. There are several questions between us. I do not share your belief (stated as fact) that bees do not have the intelligence to link two separate events as cause and effect, and therefore God must have preprogrammed leaf-biting 3.8 billion years ago or, alternatively, stepped in to give bees a course in leaf-biting. I believe that bees and other organisms are intelligent enough to observe causes and effects, even over time, and indeed if they did not have that ability, they would soon become extinct! You agreed that abstract thinking focused on universals. I do not think leaf-biting is a universal. And do you really believe that leaf-biting requires “the same degree of conceptual thought” as your theories about God and evolution?

DAVID: I gave you my definition of abstract thought in comparing abstract and concrete thought. All animals think concretely, while it requires analytic thought to relate two disparate events in time on the same rose bush. That is so obvious I can't believe you don't accept it.

You have not defined the contrast between “abstract” and “concrete” (the article defined it as “universals” versus “particulars”). You have substituted “analytic” for “abstract” – but it really doesn’t matter. I am quite happy to accept that the link requires analytic or abstract thought. The difference between us is your insistence that bees and other non-human life forms are incapable of such “analysis”, and therefore God must have programmed leaf-biting 3.8 billion years ago or given bees direct lessons.

DAVID: Observing cause and effect over time requires conceptual analysis that reaches a conclusion. My theories about God are at the same degree of conceptual thought. Conceptual thought ability cannot be graded into levels.

Do please explain the difference between a degree of conceptual thought and a level of conceptual thought.

DAVID: We have it, animals don't. As for universals and particulars, we can think in universals, animals don't, ever. I'll stick with the authors of "Natures' IQ". God is in charge.

What do we have that animals don’t have? According to you, they don’t have the ability to link two events and conclude that one is the cause of the other. God must preprogramme each link for them, or he must give them lessons on each individual cause and effect. That is where you and I part company. But of course I agree that “universals” demand a degree or level of thought which animals do not have.

On what has become one of my favourite organisms – the slime mold:
QUOTE: But the studies also speak to a profound biological and philosophical conundrum. Where do cognition and intelligence come from? How could natural selection turn single-celled amoebas into homo sapiens? Dr. Levin thinks that the electrical communications that help flatworms regenerate might have evolved into the subtler mechanisms of brain communication. Those creepy slime molds and flatworms might help to explain how humans got smart."

DAVID: We have covered this material before. The bold is a good question if you are an atheist, but simple if you believe the intelligence is God's and given to the living organisms in cellular genomes. Such intelligence doesn't arise out of thin air or by chance, and it certainly can't evolve from simple one-celled starting life, whose start is still totally unknown to us.

I have no objection at all to the argument that the source of this intelligence may be your God. The difference between us – as with the bees above – is your insistence that these obvious demonstrations of intelligence and cognition do NOT denote the intelligence and cognition of the organisms concerned, but all their intelligent actions must either have been divinely preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago or taught directly through private lessons delivered by your dabbling God.


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