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

by dhw, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 09:06 (55 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We are not talking about training animals, but since you insist, how do you think predator cubs learn to hunt if not by repetition, and repeated experience and observation of what does and doesn’t work?

DAVID: Yes, their mother repetitively trains them, and that repetition trains them without having to conceptualize their concrete thinking. Just as we train them.

dhw: There is no need to faff around with terms that require precise definition before the discussion can continue. We have the intelligence to train animals. The mother has the intelligence to train her cubs - unless you believe she merely follows a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for cub-training, or God has to give her private lessons on how to train her cubs. Is that really what you believe?

DAVID: Where does a first time mare mother et the intelligence to work with her colt or filly? Of course she has an implanted instinct. As a newborn herself she was handled properly by her mother, but learned nothing from it.

What is the relevance of this comment to mine? I gave you the example of the parent predator using her intelligence, experience and observation to train the cubs so they can grasp the link between causes and effects (as in hunting), just as you do to train your dog and horses and children.

dhw: [..] If you wish to believe that our fellow animals do not have the abilities I attribute to them, and that linking a bitten leaf to an early flowering plant requires the same degree of conceptual thought as philosophizing about God, then so be it.

DAVID: I have my correct opinion, which I will not change. And I believe God created instincts.

dhw: How crazy of me to disagree with someone who tells me that his opinion is correct!

DAVID: Stated that way because I cannot convince you that you are totally wrong about animals and concrete thought as their only thinking ability.

You still insist on using a term (“concrete thought”) which requires definition. I agree with the two definitions we discussed earlier: 1) concrete thinking has physical referents, and abstract thinking doesn’t; 2) concrete thinking concerns the particular, and abstract thinking concerns the universal. I regard the leaf and plant as physical, particular referents, unlike for instance the meaning of life and the existence of God, which are “universals” with no physical referents. And so I agree that animals only think concretely. If you insist that their ability to link physical effect with physical cause is abstract, I really don’t care. What matters is that I think they have this ability, and you don’t agree.

DAVID: Why don't you do some independent research to see I am correct? I have Dr. Egnor, the neurosurgeon, agreeing with me.

Read your own long list of natural wonders to gauge whether animals have the autonomous ability to survive by linking cause to effect. We have discussed the intelligence of organisms from bacteria to ants to corvids, as they solve problems which scientists set them. I don’t know how long Dr Egnor has spent studying animal behaviour, but if he is as convinced as you are that God had to preprogramme or personally instruct bees to bite leaves, and mother lions to teach their cubs how to hunt, and ants to build cities, and corvids to solve puzzles, and monarchs to fly to warmer climes, then so be it. But don't tell me that this is "correct". It's a matter of opinion.


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