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

by dhw, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 16:21 (86 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

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

DAVID: All the same. Conceptual/abstract thought is not concrete thought, which is what limits bees.

dhw: Once more: you have not defined the difference between abstract and concrete. Meanwhile, if degree and level are the same, do you believe that the leaf-biting/plant-flowering observation of cause and effect demands the same degree or level of conceptual thinking as is required for your own observations of life and the universe that have led to your belief in an eternal God?

DAVID: Concrete thought describes or explains what is in plain sight. Abstract thought involves concepts of relationships of events in this particular case. Concrete observations and abstract correlation of how one causes the other. What do I have to explain this obvious thought material to you?

I really can't believe that the bee asks herself HOW one causes the other! She observes two concrete events that are in plain sight. After further observation of the two concrete events, she concludes that there is a process of cause and effect. I don’t mind if you think this simple conclusion entails “abstract” thinking. I only question why you think the bee and other organisms are incapable of linking cause and effect, although without that ability none of them would survive! And I question your insistence that this ability requires “the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”.

dhw: I do not for one second accept your contention that if a bee can’t think about God and the universe, it can’t correlate leaf-biting and early flowering.

DAVID: All animals think concretely. Axiomatic.

That does not mean (a) they can’t relate cause to effect, or (b) that leaf-biting requires the same degree of conceptual thinking as philosophizing about God and the universe.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Without the ability to get beyond concrete thoughts, God has to help.

dhw: Yet again, you have not defined the difference between abstract and concrete. The article distinguished between the universal and the particular. I would regard the actions of the bees and the slime mold as being limited to the particular, whereas you seem to think they embrace the universal. I find this as unconvincing as the forms of God’s “help” bolded above.

DAVID: Fine. For some reason you do not understand the difference between abstract and concrete. See my definition above.

Even if I accept your definition, it does not justify your conclusion that bees and other organisms do not possess the (limited) power of abstract thinking that will enable them to link cause and effect! Nor does it justify your conclusion that leaf-biting demands the same degree of abstract (or conceptual) thinking as philosophizing about God.


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