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

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 30, 2020, 22:07 (4 days ago) @ dhw

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.

dhw: 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.

You really don't understand the difference. From Wikipedia:

the terms "concrete" and "formal" to describe two different types of learning. Concrete thinking involves facts and descriptions about everyday, tangible objects, while abstract (formal operational) thinking involves a mental process.


In metaphysics, abstract and concrete are classifications that denote whether the object that a term describes has physical referents. Abstract objects have no physical referents, whereas concrete objects do.

Simply, no animal can conceptualize cause and effect as you imagine. That is why God gave them instincts.

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)

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

See my below bolded comment. The bold above was only for emphasis as a stupid comment. Opposite meanings as usual as you misinterpret me.

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.

dhw: “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.

Believe what you want, but animals think only concretely , have no conceptualization ability and require implanted instincts. They see objects for what they are without any cause and effect entering their minds.

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