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Could humans grow beaks in another million years.., 
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
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Ant, really? What other theories are being put forth to explain the evolution and diversity of life on the planet earth? There are none. You are basically making the Intelligent Design argument of irreducible complexity—nothing more than a repackaged God of the Gaps. There is zero evidence to support an intelligent designer. You are just looking for gaps in our scientific knowledge and saying that there must be a God. That's not a theory. And it's certainly no "elephant in the room."

By the way these arguments have already been soundly refuted by—whoa!—actual scientists. Indeed there was a test case in the 2004 Dover school district trial challenging a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design in the classroom (based on the concept of irreducible complexity). But as the trial made abundantly clear, there is no theory to teach, and the argument for irreducible complexity is only a negative argument against evolution.


Why is the default response an accusation of an attempt at arguing for IC?
That is not my angle here, nor is your knee-jerk reaction to the question I've posed an adequate response. It is actually very dismissive. It is a total diversion from what I wish to broach for consideration here:
We are not simply talking about "diversity" in an obvious and dare I say banal sense. We are speaking of a highly radical form of difference - conscious "animals" (that's what we are reduced to aren't we?) and "life"

Let me be clear here: I am NOT looking for "gaps" as evidence for anything. We could dedicate an entire website to list the gaps in our knowledge of the natural world. I do not need to sneak in a gap or two here and there as an "argument" strategy.

The fact that there are "no other theories" does NOT make the current theory the correct one.
Are you saying it does? That's rather fallacious reasoning, don't you think?

We have ONE theory to explain the development and complexity of life (including CONSCIOUS LIFE) spanning eons of geological epics, all within countless environmental theaters, and you'd like to christen it as THE explanation?
Is that reasonable? "This is all we got, so, yeah, this is our origin"
Really?

Why can't an explanation for what I've brought to the discussion be required, or perhaps even demanded, if some are bold enough to assert evolution by natural selection also explains the abilities that consciousness no doubt is responsible for.

I'd say the only intellectually honest response here is that the one theory we have is not nearly as vigorous an explanation for ALL aspects of "life," particularly those that relate to what must be considered profoundly mysterious twigs on the tree of life.
(and don't give me the "mystery equals God must have done it" line. I can not say He did it and you can not say He didn't. those both would be metaphysical claims. both "no'no's" in this discussion)

It's a little cheap to avoid those twigs, is it not?

Why is my question not being attended to in a serious manner?



Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:10 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
ant wrote:
We are not simply talking about "diversity" in an obvious and dare I say banal sense. We are speaking of a highly radical form of difference - conscious "animals" (that's what we are reduced to aren't we?) and "life"


I would dispute that we are that different from our simian brethren. That's why earlier I was going on and on about the Great Chain of Being. We imagine ourselves as far and away above the animals, but we're not. This is a speciesist bias. Bonobos and humans share almost 99 per cent of the same genetic code. We are much more closely related to bonobos than bonobos are related to gorillas. Think about that for a minute. Chimpanzees, bonobos and humans are members of the same genus, or would be if scientists in the 1800s had been consistent with their classifications. We were given a separate homo genus only because people have a hard time accepting our place as the third chimpanzee.

Recall Dawkins' thought experiment of photographs of our grandmother next to a photograph of the great grandmother next to a photo of a great great grandmother, etc. and so on across different species. As Dawkins says, there never was a first human. Never did a homo erectus give birth to a homo sapien. We are closely linked to all other life forms on the planet.

Jared Diamond has come up with some very compelling explanations as to why humans with less than two percent difference in DNA have diverged so greatly from our next closest (living) relatives—bonobos and chimpanzees. And also why homo sapien outsurvived homo erectus and other homo ancestors. If memory serves, Diamond suggests that what gave us the edge is a larger brain and capacity for language. Our capacity for language nay have been introduced by a genetic mutation, causing a tiny change in anatomy that gave us the ability to make a large variety of vowel sounds.

In a discussion such as this, it's probably crucial to examine the definition of life. The fact is, there's a very muddy area between clumps of molecules and simple organisms. These are some very arbitrary dividing lines. And borrowing Dawkins' thought experiment, you can perhaps imagine a long line of life forms, each one only slightly different from the next, going back several billion years. At one end of the line is homo sapien and at the other a clump of organic molecules. The concept of gradual transition is very important in understanding evolution.

The other thing we should examine is the nature of consciousness. We are beginning to see that, in fact, most of our decisions, actions, emotions and behavior depend on brain activity that is beyond conscious awareness. How in charge are we really? Do we in fact have more consciousness than the chimpanzees? We probably do, but it's likely not that much greater.

ant wrote:
The fact that there are "no other theories" does NOT make the current theory the correct one.
Are you saying it does? That's rather fallacious reasoning, don't you think?

We have ONE theory to explain the development and complexity of life (including CONSCIOUS LIFE) spanning eons of geological epics, all within countless environmental theaters, and you'd like to christen it as THE explanation?
Is that reasonable? "This is all we got, so, yeah, this is our origin"
Really?


There are no other theories because Darwin's theory beautifully explains the richness and diversity of life. Evolution is widely accepted as fact because it is supported by a vast preponderance of evidence. If it doesn't make sense to you, that's really your fault. There are many great books out there.

ant wrote:
I'd say the only intellectually honest response here is that the one theory we have is not nearly as vigorous an explanation for ALL aspects of "life," particularly those that relate to what must be considered profoundly mysterious twigs on the tree of life.


This is simply not true. The idea that consciousness or math ability is not explained by evolution is a strange interpretation. We don't understand all the mechanisms of evolution, but there are no "profoundly mysterious twigs on the tree of life." You're just making this up. No credible scientist would agree with this statement.

Actually if you're looking for unlikely evolutionary events, the emergence of RNA and DNA is crazy improbable. To heck with eyes and math ability. DNA gave primitive life forms the ability to create copies of themselves from blueprints. Life forms no longer had start from scratch every time. No more random clumps of molecules. The importance of this event is really quite mind boggling. Dawkins talks about it in The Selfish Gene. It helps to appreciate the vast length of time we're talking about (in the billions of years) and the notion of countless random sequences. But if I was looking for a miracle, this would probably be it :lol: .


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Last edited by geo on Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:55 pm, edited 8 times in total.



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Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:05 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Quote:
We have ONE theory to explain the development and complexity of life (including CONSCIOUS LIFE) spanning eons of geological epics, all within countless environmental theaters, and you'd like to christen it as THE explanation?
Is that reasonable? "This is all we got, so, yeah, this is our origin"
Really?


There wouldn't be "another theory" that evolution would be replaced by. Too much of the theory has already been confirmed by evidence. At most, it would mutate just as it has been mutating since Darwin. Any new theory would have to account for the entire span of evidence that's already been uncovered. Which means, it would more or less be the same as it is today, except that it would account for whatever anomaly gave it birth. The theory is here to stay ant, it is the explanation, though it's form will no doubt shift.


Quote:
I'd say the only intellectually honest response here is that the one theory we have is not nearly as vigorous an explanation for ALL aspects of "life," particularly those that relate to what must be considered profoundly mysterious twigs on the tree of life.


Sure. At some point, our capabilities are better explained by theories of information rather than evolution. Our philosophies and mathematics. But the processor in which this thinking happens is a product of evolution, of course.


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Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:09 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
johnson1010 wrote:
We could never have an avian beak. The boat sailed on that a long time ago.



This is a really good point. I think it's important to understand that the process of evolution is limited by available resources. All of our different capabilities use up energy, but there's only so much energy to go around. Some bird ancestor long ago found its niche, groping around for grubs and insects. This bird prototype (probably a dinosaur) began to adapt beaks to help them to catch the food they needed to survive and adapt to its niche. That's why there are different beaks for different kinds of food, why the heron has a long bill to help it catch fish and why the woodpecker has a sharp and stout beak that doubles as an instrument for digging into wood.

Why does the giraffe have such a long neck? That seems a very unlikely adaptation. Then again, how many critters failed to adapt and so perished along the way? We are only seeing the success stories and that's why evolution has the appearance of being intelligent.

The flounder provides a pretty interesting case study for the sometimes bizarre permuations of evolution. Basically, the flatfish spent so much time swimming on its side and looking up that eventually its bone structure changed and the eyes moved around to its side. It's asymmetric and pretty ugly but it does the trick and it helped the flatfish to find its own niche.

Interestingly enough, flounder embryos and larvae are symmetrical.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006 ... y-looking/


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Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
evo/devo is the study of that phenomena that geo pointed out. In some respects the embrionic stages of development mimic our lineage. For instance crabs look different from shrimp, in that crabs don't appear to have tails, but crab young do have tails which fold up under their carapace during maturation to give them that unique look.


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:08 am
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Quote:
There wouldn't be "another theory" that evolution would be replaced by. Too much of the theory has already been confirmed by evidence


This made me recall something I read in "The Gifford Lectures"
I looked it up. Here is the quote. Try not to see it as a red flag to charge at like a bull.
(And no, this is not intended as evidence for the existence of God)

When speaking of Thomistic thought related to cause and effect, Keith Ward said:

" It's basic error is in supposing that God is logically simple - simple no just in the sense that his being is indivisible, but in the much stronger sense that what is true of any part of God is true of the whole, It is quite coherent, however, to suppose that God, while indivisible, internally complex"

Such is the case with your claim that there wouldn't be "another theory" that evolution would be replaced by

First of all "too much theory" is simply that, too much theory.
Theory is subject to constant re-evaluation. It is kneaded as bread dough is. It is fashioned in shape according to evidential interpretation, which is an ongoing, difficult and complex process when piecing together the evolution of species - any species.
Too much theory is not too much evidence. There is no explanation for the development of hominid consciousness and its implications.
The bag of consciousness as we know carries with it the profoundness I have previously mentioned in these posts.

Further, what is true of any part of Evolution does not necessarily confirm Truth of the entirety of Evolution as such. Your reasoning here is fallacious. You are committing the fallacy of composition and you are not exonerated from it because "no other theories exist" as of yet. You are attempting to explain away the deep aspects of the abilities of consciousness I have been referring to here which seem to have nothing to do with classic darwinian survival theory. Treating them as "happy spin-offs" of evolution is overly simplistic. I need not repeat what I have clearly highlighted above regarding consciousness.

I might add that theologians in their considerations of the nature of God are constantly vigilant of avoiding the fallacy you have committed here.
You should do the same.

All this is not to say we share no common characteristics with our terrestrial denizens. We certainly do. No one here has denied the similarities.



Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
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We are only seeing the success stories and that's why evolution has the appearance of being intelligent.


I'd quickly add the fact that consciousness is a "success" as part of the story of evolutionary forces, our success at deriving Truth from nature may in fact only be the appearance of truth regarding reality.



Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
johnson1010 wrote:
evo/devo is the study of that phenomena that geo pointed out. In some respects the embrionic stages of development mimic our lineage. For instance crabs look different from shrimp, in that crabs don't appear to have tails, but crab young do have tails which fold up under their carapace during maturation to give them that unique look.



Why do single cellular organisms need the development of complexity when they do very well surviving without it, "Mr. Nature is Dumb but I am Not, it Can't Fool My Hominid Brain"

?



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Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:22 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
They don't.

Single celled organisms are doing just fine being single celled organisms. Consider also that there are over 100 billion microbes living in every linear centimeter of your intestines. That bacteria make up 10 percent of your body weight. Are they there for you, or are you there for them?

Single celled organisms are not merely a transitional step toward multicellular organisms and finally people. Nothing needs to follow the evolutionary trajectory of anything else, and that's why there are still monkeys, even though we came from (are) monkeys.

How could single celled organisms turn into multicelled organisms? Because it's possible. Anything that can happen will happen given enough time and the right conditions. The portugese man of war looks like a jelly fish, but is actually a colony of symbiotic organisms which all do particular jobs and function together to make a cohesive organism. Maybe multicellular life started like that. Maybe filter-feeding single celled organisms were more effective at filtering if they banded together in a sheet?

I don't know the exacts of what happened, but i can think of plenty of ways that it COULD have happened. The fact that they are possible and consistant with reality speaks volumes.


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Quote:
First of all "too much theory" is simply that, too much theory.
Theory is subject to constant re-evaluation. It is kneaded as bread dough is.


For the type of knowledge we're discussing, tell me what comes after a theory. What is more certain than a theory? What allows for greater confidence than a theory? You're hinting that you have an answer here, so I want to hear it. What is the next step after a theory?

The problem isn't the provisional nature of our knowledge. The problem is that while I accept knowledge as provisional, you think it must be certain. If you think we can progress a theory so that it becomes 'certain knowledge', then you need to tell the world how that's possible.

Quote:
Further, what is true of any part of Evolution does not necessarily confirm Truth of the entirety of Evolution as such. Your reasoning here is fallacious. You are committing the fallacy of composition and you are not exonerated from it because "no other theories exist" as of yet.


Okay, then copy and paste the sentence(s) of mine where I commit the fallacy. I read through my post and couldn't find it.


Quote:
You are attempting to explain away the deep aspects of the abilities of consciousness I have been referring to here which seem to have nothing to do with classic darwinian survival theory.


Explain away? If they are explained, then why must the direction be 'away'? I'm not dismissing the marvel of the human mind!

Quote:
There is no explanation for the development of hominid consciousness and its implications.
The bag of consciousness as we know carries with it the profoundness I have previously mentioned in these posts.


Actually, there are many explanations. What makes you think there are no explanations? Start with Julian Jaynes and move forward in time from his book. I'm not qualified to say which explanation hits closest to the truth, but if history is any indication, the set of explanations we have hover somewhere near the mark.


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Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:25 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Quote:
Why do single cellular organisms need the development of complexity when they do very well surviving without it,


The bacteria in my belly button stopped evolving into multicellular organisms last week, so they all died. That's proof that they need to be more complex, just like you're saying.


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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
ant wrote:
There is no explanation for the development of hominid consciousness and its implications.


In fact, there is. You're basically making stuff up, criticizing areas of science that don't fit with your worldview, and saying this is the fault of science. The worst part of it is that you base this statement on a very superficial understanding of evolution. You don't know enough about the subject to come to such a conclusion. You would rather stick with your limited worldview than actually read a book about the subject.

Choose your own version of "truth." :cry:


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Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:34 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
There is no explanation for the development of hominid consciousness and its implications.


In fact, there is. You're basically making stuff up, criticizing areas of science that don't fit with your worldview, and saying this is the fault of science. The worst part of it is that you base this statement on a very superficial understanding of evolution. You don't know enough about the subject to come to such a conclusion. You would rather stick with your limited worldview than actually read a book about the subject.

Choose your own version of "truth." :cry:


You are making stuff up.
The development of consciousness has NOT been explained.
That is a patent lie. A total fib.
You have a terrible disconnect with science and what it has and has not explained.

Cite the scientific study that provides evidence for what you are claiming here.

You are presenting theory as evidence. That is an absurdity in every sense of the word.

I almost feel sorry for you here. You've had a total breakdown
Just who do you think you're talking to here, some child ready to be brainwashed by your worldview?

I am actually offended here.



Last edited by ant on Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
Why do single cellular organisms need the development of complexity when they do very well surviving without it,


The bacteria in my belly button stopped evolving into multicellular organisms last week, so they all died. That's proof that they need to be more complex, just like you're saying.



So will complex organisms die, Interbane.

I didn't say single cellular organisms were the ultimate "creation"
You're totally missing the point in a dumb way.



Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:48 pm
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Post Re: Could humans grow beaks in another million years..,
Quote:
Why do single cellular organisms need the development of complexity when they do very well surviving without it,


What is your point? Did you read johnson's response?

Quote:
You are making stuff up.
The development of consciousness has NOT been explained.
That is a patent lie. A total fib.
You have a terrible disconnect with science and what it has and has not explained.


This was great. I think that's how I felt when my brother told me Santa doesn't exist.

You said "there is no explanation for the development of hominid consciousness." Geo and I both pointed out that there are, in fact, explanations. You may not accept them, for whatever reasons you come up with, but they are there for the reading.


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Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:41 pm
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