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

by dhw, Thursday, July 30, 2020, 11:33 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Animals are incapable of determining cause and effect. That is why God guides them, as shown in the book 'Natures' IQ', where the weaverbird nest appeared. I'm still with God.

dhw: So animals are now incapable of working out how to get food to keep themselves alive, of teaching their young how to get food, of avoiding anything that might harm them, including environmental hazards and other animals, and of learning anything new. Your God has to “guide” them by means of a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or private lessons for just about every action you can think of.

DAVID: We know animals work by instincts. Our new born colts and fillies were totally taken care of properly by first time mothers, and the babies knew immediately how to suckle without instructions. How is that? No instructors in our herd. What is wrong with God doing it?

We are not talking about such instincts. How does the human baby know it must suckle? That has nothing to do with the process whereby humans and animals LEARN ways and means of survival, of avoiding injury, of acquiring food – all through observation of cause and effect.

DAVID: We will continue to disagree. I suggest you study the difference between abstractions and concreteness. I don't think you fully understand the differences. Please tell me what you find, if it differs.

dhw: No matter what definition you apply to the two terms, I fully understand your belief that that animals are incapable of linking cause and effect, and that leaf-biting requires the same degree of conceptual thinking as philosophizing about God. And I disagree most profoundly with you.

DAVID: You are allowed to. I've studied the issue and am sure of my position. As I noted above, animals work by instincts. We do not know why instincts appeared.

I am not denying instinct. But behaviour is also governed by experience and observation and learning, and some of that behaviour may well become instinctive over time. Your study of the issue appears to have made you oblivious to the obvious fact that without linking cause to effect, no organism can survive. Your refusal to believe that other animals can make this link, and your belief that leaf-biting requires the same degree of conceptual thought as philosophizing about God suggests to me that your study of the issue could do with a bit of broadening.

On the “Natural wonders” thread:
QUOTE: “…once you have evolved an ear that lets you hear these calls, you can simply fly away
and escape into safety....”

"Which the cricket has learned to do." (DAVID’s bold)

Yes indeed, organisms LEARN to make beneficial use of their observations. Thank you for bolding it.

DAVID: How did crickets learn to do this? See the bold. It involves lots of analytic thought summarizing the sound, noting that bats appear for meals. Analysis by cricket survivors must be achieved and passed on to all crickets. How is that done? Not language. I'll stick with implanted instinct. Just as with the bees biting rose leaves causes more immediate flowering. Bee waggling dances transmit concrete ideas of distance and direction to good flowers, nothing more. Where did that come from? Only dhw knows: they think like we do.

“Think like we do” does not mean they think about God, or the meaning of life, or where shall we go for our summer holidays? They use their own means of observation and intelligence to link cause and effect, and their own forms of language to communicate their findings. Yes, these forms of behaviour may now be instinctive, and “we do not know why these instincts appeared”, but common sense suggests that once an organism has observed that a form of behaviour is advantageous, it will be repeated and passed on. You have tried to make the observations and linkage of events sound as human as you can (“lots of analytic thought”) in your effort to put it on a par with thinking about God etc. I see it as the most rudimentary of “thoughts”. In human language it would boil down to: bat eat brother, bat make loud sound, me hear sound, me get away quick.” But according to you, this is the equivalent of your scientific studies leading you to the conclusion that there is an eternal Creator called God. And so either it had to be preprogrammed 3.8-billion years ago, or your God had to step in and tell the cricket that the bat might kill him as well as his brother, and he should listen for the bat’s loud noise and then dive to safety. Your beliefs remain unshakable, however, and so I can only restate my objections when you present them as if they were facts.

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