Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, May 20, 2021, 12:34 (70 days ago) @ David Turell

Different species cooperate
DAVID: Note today's entries about bird brains and their intelligence which I fully accept. Octopi are very intelligent, considering their antics in study laboratories.

dhw: So why do you restrict their actions to “instinct”?[…]

DAVID: From above: " Octopi are very intelligent, considering their antics in study laboratories." The octopus reactions may have been instinct with some simple reasoning. We can't read its mind. You always take a position to build up animal intelligence as part of a strategy to try to diminish human exceptionalism. You can't get rid of it.

One moment you fully accept their intelligence, and the next you reduce it to instinct and simple reasoning. Yet another contradiction. And you know perfectly well that I do acknowledge how exceptional we are. What I do not accept is your constant attempt to downplay the intelligence of our fellow creatures, in order to support your belief that your always-in-control God preprogrammes or dabbles every evolutionary innovation, strategy, solution, natural wonder etc.

Bird brains’ similar neurons
DAVID: Thank you for accepting the very necessary food supply from the huge diverse bush.

dhw: You don’t need to thank me for accepting the obvious fact that all present and past life forms need/needed food! See below for the distinction between present and past.

DAVID: All natural, with no God in evidence running the process. When I offer this challenge from my belief view, you will slip in a little God lip service. I am not absurd for believing in God.

dhw: [edited for brevity] More silly straw men! The absurdity has nothing to do with your belief in God but lies in your belief […] that all life forms etc. were “part of the goal to evolve [= specially design] humans […] [although] you agree that "extinct life has no role in current time", and past food bushes were for the PAST, not for the present.

DAVID: The bold is your silliness that evolution is not a continuum of increasing complexity. What you quote is true fact when interpreted properly.

Of course the bold about extinct life and food bushes is true, and it contradicts your belief that your God designed every past life form and food supply history as “part of the goal of evolving [=specially designing] humans” and their food supply. I keep agreeing that evolution is a continuum, but the continuum is the branching out from the roots of the bush to countless branches of life forms, only one of which presents a single line from bacteria to humans. The increasing complexity is not confined to that one line. Please stop leaving out those parts of your theory that make it illogical.

Conserved gene order
DAVID: Genomes show common descent. In evolution everything present has a relationship to the past.

dhw: Though you also believe that your God created species de novo (e.g. in the Cambrian). Yet another contradiction. But I agree that all branches of the bush go back to the same roots (= common descent). That does not mean that all branches were specially designed as part of the goal of specially designing just one branch.

DAVID: Silliness in the bold. The common descent proof, even for the Cambrian is the initial and consistent use of DNA in all in initial forms from bacteria to us. My whole point is God creating species de novo.

In that case, you're putting even more emphasis on disconnection, and it becomes even more absurd to argue that your God created de novo all past extinct species plus food supplies, and all these individually, separately designed life forms were necessary for him to create humans, although 99% had no connection with humans!

Different types of neurons
DAVID: What this means is that when we discuss as 150 cc enlargement from erectus to sapiens we cannot know if some different kind of functional neuron was added to sapiens. So we know quantity but not true quality of the addition.

dhw: I suggest that the addition of functionless neurons would have been pointless. Common sense alone suggests that new neurons would have been needed to fulfil a new requirement.

DAVID: I didn't say 'pointless'.

No, I did. What would be the purpose of new neurons if they had no purpose???

DAVID: What we don't know is if sapiens some different specialized neurons of greater reasoning capacity than erectus. 150 cc enlargement doesn't tell us.

I agree that we don't know what new function the new neurons performed, but I can only repeat the question above. I find it hard to believe that new neurons were added to the brain for no reason.

Species differentiation
"If you ask ten biologists, you will get twelve different answers," Sukumaran said." (DAVID's bold)

DAVID: We don't understand how speciation happens, and this problem of minor differences cannot be decided by splitter or lumper dispositions of researchers. Darwin's finches come to mind, all based on beak size.

Darwin also discusses the “difficulty of distinction between Varieties and Species” and I agree with you: variations in beak sizes do not solve the problem of how “species” – as opposed to varieties – evolve. I think “organisms capable of interbreeding” may be the closest we can get to a satisfactory definition of "species".


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