reply to post by ipsedixit
Since we are being brief, this is just nonsense. Please point out the "survival component" which is "probably" the first thing built into "
Would you please be specific here? There are lots of chemical reactions in living things. Which are the ones specific to the "survival
You are being silly here, you know there is no 'specific' answer. The chemical reaction that embodies survival is the replication process of nucleic
acids like RNA and DNA. Dakwins calls it 'The Selfish Gene', again not meaning one specific gene, but all genes in general. And it is simple
As I said in an earlier post, Gould disagrees with Dawkins on this. Gould prefers to focus higher up the organism, to the cellular level or even the
organism level. But whatever level you choose to focus on, the entire 'purpose', to use anthropormorphic shorthand again, is survival through
Pick a level, nucleac acid, cell, organ, organism, herd, ecosystem. The 'purpose' of every piece is to ensure the survival of the whole.
A finch doesn't lay eggs because it thinks "I gotta lay a whole lot of eggs or my species will die out". It lays eggs because that is how birds
reproduce. Birds that reproduce better, survive better. That is all it is.
With all due respect, I don't think you can really say that.
Isn't that a lot like saying "Fred chose a red Ferrari because a chemical cue prompted him to do it?" Or, "Only a fool would think that mentation
was involved in Fred choosing a red Ferrari, when obviously it was only a chemical cue." Or, "Everyone, chooses their car colour based on chemical
cues, not thought processes."
The motivations of finches are, alas, a secret.
With all due respect, who is anthropormorphising the finches, here? What does a human being choosing a car have to do reproductive success? Is it
because he thinks girls will find him more attractive? Maybe he does, peacocks certainly work on that principle. And guess what? If that is his only
reason, and it doesn't work, he'll get rid of it, just like it was natural selection.
And notice I'm not saying that finches don't think. I doubt they debate the nature of the universe amongst themselves, but I'm sure they do think
to some extent. An awful lot of birds seem to learn pretty useful behaviours by watching other animals do things. All parents teach offspring 'tricks
of the trade'. At some level there has got to be complex mentation going on to do that.
But birds don't lay eggs because they 'thought' it would be a good idea. And chickens fresh out of the egg don't learn to recognise the shape of a
chicken hawk from their mother. In both cases they do it because evolution took them there.
I imagine birds have quite complex thoughts and communications. "I hear a beetle undergound. Is it within reach or should I move to that other one I
can hear over there?" "Danger! Hawk!".
We know that chemical cues are involved in the choices we make as human beings and we can test and find out that chemical cues are involved in choices
that animals make, but just as our choices involve thought processes, i.e., mentation, is it not logical and rational (scientific?) to assume there
must be mentation involved in the choices and activities of animals too?
The answer is yes, it is logical. It is rational. It is undoubtedly the case, but it is not admissable to science because unlike Fred, science can't
ask a finch why it did this or that.
Of course it is, and it is most certainly admisible to science. Science is finding out more and more about how smart lots of creatures are all the
time. Dolphins, chimps, and birds are all being found to be smarter than 'commonly' thought.
Never-the-less, evolving the ability to lay eggs because it is a successful way to reproduce has nothing to do with mentation. Birds didn't think
about it. Lots of little mutations in individuals across many generations gradually resulted in egg laying. That opened up a whole lot of new
ecological niches for a whole lot of new animal types. Some of those new animals continued to evolve even more effective strategies. Remember to
continue to resist the tempation to anthropomorphism here, they didn't 'choose' to continue evolving, the environment, mutation, and natural
selection 'caused' or 'allowed' them to evolve.
In other words evolution happened.
Suppose I then told you that I am a scientist, a materialist, a rational and logical thinker. I know why these things are behaving this way. They are
responding to chemical cues. They are not thinking and are not capable of thought. Their behavior is simply the result of coordinated chemical cues
that have been assembled by a process we smart people call evolution, which is made up of genetic mutation, natural selection and (just to please you)
"the survival component".
If I didn't describe these living things in language that made it clear that I wasn't talking about human beings, how would you know that I wasn't
talking about human (thinking) beings?
I think that rational, logical, people, whether scientists or fundamentalist Bible thumpers should conclude, simply by analogy with human behavior,
that there is a virtual certainty that mentation goes on among living things that are not human.
As I said, I don't really have time for this discussion and this will probably be the last post I make on this topic, but I just wanted to say, and
this is very important for people who take their religion seriously (listen up Christians), the notion that animals don't think or mentate in
meaningful ways is one of the few points upon which The Christian Church is at one with The Church of Science. In my opinion, they are making a
colossal mistake in this and undermining their own position with regard to creationism.
This is completely wrong on two different levels.
Firstly your assertion is wrong. Science DOES NOT
agree that non-Human animals do not think, do not have emotions, do not communicate complex
ideas. Whereever did you get that idea from? There are probably some who still do, maybe a small majority even, but I doubt it.
Secondly, your approach is wrong. You are still doing what you accused me of doing, anthropormorphising (I do like that word
) evolution. Organisms
(except humans of course) do not think about evolving, it is not a conscious activity in any way. Evolution just happens, it is just chemistry.
Organisms don't think about choosing what mutation is good for their species, any more than a rock thinks about rolling down a hill. Natural
selection just happens.
If a chicken is put in front of a pile of corn, how does it decide which kernel to peck at first without doing what we humans call thinking?
Wrong focus, because it is easy to imagine that the chicken does not need to think about which kernal, only whether or not its a pile of food. But I
agree that there is thinking involved in that. Again it isn't debating the purpose of the universe, but it is thinking, in my view.
And thinking is a chemical process. Developed by evolution through natural selection because it increases reproductive survival. Except for some
humans, of course.
Off topic: My default signature on forums used to be
"Don't anthropormorphise computers...they hate that."
I do like that word
[edit on 2/2/2010 by rnaa]
[edit on 2/2/2010 by rnaa]