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

by dhw, Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 09:26 (337 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A thought experiment about abstract (concrete) thinking using this study:

QUOTES: "Droughts—expected to become more common because of climate change—confront birds with a trade-off between reproduction and their own survival, researchers said, because producing eggs and feeding chicks requires additional energy even as food becomes scarcer.
"But the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that instead of trying to juggle the demands of new offspring and harsh environmental conditions, most of the songbird species studied opted to reduce their reproduction during drought.”

DAVID: The authors give no proposed reasoning by birds for this observation. It could be reasoned the birds knew food would be scarce so they purposely reduced their reproductive activity for less mouths to feed. That is abstract/conceptual thinking. OR with the drought causing food scarcity energy levels were reduced in the parents and they didn't feel like expending the energy sex required. A concrete reaction to the senses in their bodies. Apply that to bees biting leaves to produce earlier flowering. Perhaps my thinking will become obvious.

Not to me, I’m afraid. I understand your alternative explanations for the birds, but your first, “abstract” version raises the question of how the birds knew that food was going to be scarce. Did they have a crystal ball? The first bee OBSERVED the flowering of the bitten plant. She didn’t have a crystal ball. She simply remembered what she had done and linked concrete cause to concrete effect, although without doubt either she or her buddies would have tried again a few times before it became an established strategy. I am still bewildered by your belief that leaf-biting demands “the same degree of conceptual thought that we use”, and I stand by the previous article’s definition of concrete as “particulars” and abstract as “universals”. But regardless of definitions I also stand by my belief that our fellow animals, birds and insects are perfectly capable of linking concrete cause to concrete effect. We had agreed to differ on this, so I don’t know why you have reopened the discussion.

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