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Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts 
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Quote:
Beaks are useless to us. We have trillion dollar food industries streamlined to provide food that's optimized for us. Beaks are not incredibly useful for our environment, because our environment has been shaped and optimized for our mandibles


This is getting frustrating.., reading these responses.

WTF??!!

Where was I saying we should all grow beaks and forget our MATH??

Read my fking posts.

Why in the effin crap do we need something like quatum physics math ability for survival of the species??
Other than being told its "sheer brain power" which is obvious, what the crap does it have to do with darwinian survival.

link me the DIRECT RESPONSE TO MY QUESTION. I MAY HAVE MISSED IT.

HELLO??!!



Interbane wrote:

Quote:
We aren't born with the ability to do quantum physics level math. Is that what you're saying is selected for ant? Did tribal man perform quadratic equations? Natural selection favored us due to our ability to learn. What we're able to learn appears to be unlimited, in scope if not in depth(we can do advanced math, but not as well as a calculator).

Evolution gave us the capacity, and informational(cultural) evolution filled that capacity with everything we see today. That initial capacity provided our ancestors with great benefits. Not only could they detect complex patterns in the environment that directly affected survival, but they could communicate this understanding. The spandrels from such a capacity are unlimited. No one will argue that we've evolved past a certain threshold, one that allows us to infinitely permute information.

Your argument now seems to be that evolution alone couldn't have pushed us past that threshold. Which means you have to willfully ignore the survival benefits we've gained in passing that threshold.


let me think on this for awhile.
this is good.



Last edited by ant on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Quote:
This is getting frustrating.., reading these responses.

WTF??!!

Where was I saying we should all grow beaks and forget our MATH??


I read your post and even included your verbiage verbatim in my response. Someone here isn't reading posts with a critical eye, but that someone certainly isn't me.

I've seen nearly a dozen posts that answer your question. I'm not sure why you keep claiming that just because a phenotype is beneficial, we should have developed it. The capacity for math has allowed us to conquer the world. Yet you insist beaks are more powerful, or somehow would infer a greater advantage. Clarify what you mean, because you sound absurd.

There is a logic to niches that is like paper/rock/scissors. If a niche is filled, then vacancies in other niches, by definition, would confer a greater advantage. The complexity of this interplay makes questions about why we didn't develop some phenotypes a meaningless question. Especially when you consider the timelines and paths of evolutionary heritage. A leaf isn't going to jump from the branch it grew on over to another branch that receives more sunlight. We're stuck on the branches that gave us birth and can't backtrack. It is a clear limit imposed by the mechanisms of evolution. The "beak" niche was not an option for us long before even our distant pre-primate ancestors existed.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Interbane wrote:

.
Quote:
The capacity for math has allowed us to conquer the world. Yet you insist beaks are more powerful, or somehow would infer a greater advantage.


I have specifically asked about mathematical ability that goes beyond the necessary evolutionary advantages to "conquer the world" or as I have stated, our environment. That is clear, or should be.

The mathematical abilities produced by evolutionary forces have become "other worldly" in a manner of speaking, without attempting to imply some for of mysticism here.
Why have darwinian forces extended beyond environmental survival needs of complex organisms?
Maximal survival mechanisms for a "niche" are produced as an attempt to fit the needs of the immediate environment.

Niche:
a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted <finally found her niche>
b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species
c : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption
d : a specialized market


If the evolutionary process of a species is to develop mechanisms to flourish in its immediate habitat, and those mechanisms are formed in conjunction with the surrounding habitat supplying those mechanisms, how is it that darwinian forces are developing mechanisms that clearly reach beyond the local habitat?

Without saying is so many words, "we have the math ability, therefore it must be a need to extend beyond our habitat" can you identify a study that addresses this?


Interbane wrote:

Quote:
There is a logic to niches that is like paper/rock/scissors. If a niche is filled, then vacancies in other niches, by definition, would confer a greater advantage. The complexity of this interplay makes questions about why we didn't develop some phenotypes a meaningless question.


I think I am understanding you correctly here, if not, forgive me.
Isn't our local niche filled? We've conquered our locality (the world), haven't we?
What evidence is there that we need mathematical ability that allows us to measure the universal constants, or measure the exact temp of the big bang that happened over 13 billion years ago, or develop the beginnings of string theory - other worldly stuff like that.
Why are darwinian forces developing the ability to interpret the intelligibility of "the heavens"
That is so non-local? Why the evolutionary push that high?

I'm sorry, but to say the complexity of the interplay, as you say, is meaningless, is to ask that the question be dismissed because it should not be asked because there actually is no answer.
In other words, your personal stance on the matter is that there is no meaning for you.
And yet, it can and has been asked.

(very little time to edit - I'm at work)



Last edited by ant on Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
ant wrote:

I don't know what Geo is talking about. I've already stated my point that from a pure neo darwinian perspective, higher mathematics ("sheer brain power") is not vital to the survival of a species. That was my point. That is not an ID'er stance.


But you are making the ID argument of "irreducible complexity" only using a mathematics angle.

I mentioned spandrels about a month ago, but it was completely ignored.

You could also ask how did the ability to compose sonnets help our survival. It didn't and very few people can actually write sonnets. It's a function of language, the product of a complex brain. And language did help us survive and thrive.

Very few people can do higher mathematics either. It's a function of an innate "number sense" which itself is the product of a complex brain. Number sense, like linguistics, helped us to survive and thrive. Not only that, but language gave us a whole new arena where ideas can be cultivated and evolve on a scale much, much faster than biological evolution. Through our culture we can pass down ideas to future generations and build upon them.

Consider that written language has only been around for a few thousand years. I don't imagine we were doing a hell of a lot of math or sonnet-composing before that. But our brain took millions or billions of years to evolve. We can do all kinds of stuff now that didn't particularly aid in our survival. Tap dancing? I'm a good whistler, but that's only because my mouth is so shaped to be able to make a variety of syllables.

Jared Diamond wrote: "Our language uses many different syllables, all based on the same set of only a few dozen sounds. We assemble those syllables into thousands of words . . . As children, we master all this complex structure of human language without ever learning the explicit rules."

In other words, we have an innate sense of language, but we only can learn to read and write sonnets through culture. Through culture, we can develop ideas that help us do more with the basic building blocks given to us by evolution. So, yes, sheer brain power.

"Research reveals that "number sense" is basic to all animals, not just human beings."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 152428.htm

Quote:
"The relationship between 'number sense' and math ability is important and intriguing because we believe that 'number sense' is universal, whereas math ability has been thought to be highly dependent on culture and language and takes many years to learn," she explained. (Melissa Libertus, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences)


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Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:28 pm
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Geo wrote:

Quote:
But you are making the ID argument of "irreducible complexity" only using a mathematics angle.


This is total bull and ultimately can be reduced to an AD HOM attack against my person simply because I am a theist by nature.
No where have I ever, EVER, NEVER stated that because an eye can not be fully explained, or a mystery unsolved, that it provides evidence for the existence of a God. This is simply a chicken-&$#@ accusation, an attack against someone who also has said that evidence of the existence of God can not be obtained by scientific means, just the same as evidence for NON-existence. The fallacy "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" has been placed on the table several times.
I am growing tired of this attitude here on BT: Theism Hunting is in Season all the time - in particular ID'ers or people of Faith.

I'm simply asking a question as it relates directly to the material process that is EVOLUTION. And I have asked for specifics and have been dissatisfied with responses like asking to setforth the complex routes of evolution are non-questions. That is akin to "It happened, so it must have happened SOMETHING LIKE THIS" which is bullshit (pardon me) and highly dismissive. It is actually the language of the Religion of Science - "we don't question Theories - we just fill in their gaps by saying it happened"


Geo wrote:

ery
Quote:
few people can do higher mathematics either. It's a function of an innate "number sense" which itself is the product of a complex brain.


Nothing here addresses my question.
It's obvious people can do it. It's obvious a few people can do it.
It's obvious it's innate and the product of a complex brain.
It is NOT obvious why it is a neo darwinian development for survival needs in a complex organism's habitat.

Quote:
where we we can pass down ideas to future generations and build upon them.


Why is it necessary to pass down information for string theory's hypothesis that there are other dimensions? So that one day we may find a niche in them?
That's beyond darnwinism, Geo. You are engaging in metaphysics and leaving planet earth.


Quote:
I don't imagine we were doing a hell of a lot of math or sonnet-composing before that. But our brain took millions or billions of years to evolve. We can do all kinds of stuff now that didn't particularly aid in our survival. Tap dancing?



Are you saying it was inevitable that we developed the ability for abstract thought to assist the survival of the species some time waaaayy off into some future existence beyond earth?
How does the theory of darwinian evolution predict that is a necessity? What evidence is there of that?
Or is the evidence that its happened so it must be necessary sufficient enough for you?

That's kind of like the Religion of Science's way of saying "The God of Evolution Must Think It's Necessary - a neccessary by-product of natural selection"

Are you really saying here that these abilities are just happy by-products that some people are lucky to have?
Luck?



Last edited by ant on Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Quote:
Maximal survival mechanisms for a "niche" are produced as an attempt to fit the needs of the immediate environment.


No they aren't. They aren't "produced", that implies purpose. If you understand how the process works, you know that it's a probabilistic process. There is no arbitrary limit to what may be produced by evolution. If an adaptation comes into existence that allows a species to survive above and beyond the parameters of it's niche, then that's fantastic. It is possible and there is no reason I know of that it shouldn't happen.

Quote:
I have specifically asked about mathematical ability that goes beyond the necessary evolutionary advantages to "conquer the world" or as I have stated, our environment. That is clear, or should be.


You mean, why have we developed a theory of Quantum Physics when all we really needed was the pythagorean theorem? Both these mathematical concepts are born from the same mathematical capacity. The root of this mathematical capacity is our ability to abstract. Mathematical entities are the purest forms of abstraction, after all.

There is no limit to what we can abstract, and the lack of a limit here is beneficial. The scope includes the heat produced by rubbing sticks together, the motion of a round object with a stick through the middle, the preservative properties of salt, etc. Anything that is able to be hypothesized requires a base ability to abstract elements of our environment. It's fancy language for our ability to use trial and error.

You're proposing that our ability to abstract should have been limited to only what was required to survive. I don't see how that's possible. It's a unique threshold, that once you can form an abstraction of any element, then you can necessarily abstract every element. Such abstractions do not mean they relate truthfully to the environment, and that's where the progress of cultural evolution takes over.

Cultural evolution is responsible for explaining the difference between counting sheep and calculating quadratic equations. The capacity is the same between the two, and education is the scaffolding that bridges them.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
ant wrote:
Nothing here addresses my question.


Your question has been addressed many times over on this thread and the previous one. Interbane's last post addresses it quite well. It doesn't matter to me if you can't or won't see it. Did you even read the article I posted? You're closed off to these ideas for whatever reason.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Interbane wrote:
. . . Cultural evolution is responsible for explaining the difference between counting sheep and calculating quadratic equations. The capacity is the same between the two, and education is the scaffolding that bridges them.


Beautifully said.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
ant wrote:
Tulip's blind religious bigotry and his inability to read.

If I can translate, what ant means is that he wants to promote his neo-creationist junk here and abuse anyone who tries to explore it rationally.

I am not a blind religious bigot, nor am I unable to read. I can read perfectly well that this thread is promoting intelligent design. Ant's inability to see that is the closest thing we see here to bigotry.

Ant's comment about me is ad hominem because he insults me without addressing my argument. My comments about ant are not ad hominem because they are squarely directed against the ID nature of his critique of evolution, such as his risible canard that evolution cannot explain eyes.

My post which ant decries as bigotry was about abstract categorical hypothetical reasoning, as a mode of thought that actual studies have found is weak among the religious. It is not bigotry to discuss such scientific evidence which provides a rational analysis of the nature of religious psychology. The real bigots are those who refuse to engage with scientific evidence.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
ant wrote:
how many small steps (represented by Dawkin's snapshots) take us from a slightly light sensitive cell to a fully formed eye, and of approximately the number of generations required for mutations to occur. An order of magnitude answer is a reasonable request for a scientific matter. After all, we are not dealing in fairy tales here. And yet, biologists like Dawkins tell us that it can't be done (of course it cant)
ant, please watch this 15 minute lecture which shows that your bolded assumption above is incorrect. Dawkins demonstrates the stages of the evolution of the eye, and explains that the number of generations required for the evolution of the eye, by conservative scientific analysis, is 250,000.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
That was an excellent talk by Dawkins! Good lookin out, RT!

Also, not too difficult to replicate for your children, i would say.

A note about convergent evolution here.

Squid eyes, and primate eyes are both camera eyes. They are different... You might argue that the squid actually has a better eye than we do in design, because the photo receptors are facing outward toward the light, and ours are facing backwards toward our brains. The question is, how could this same structure of eye come about twice in animal species so far apart?

We diverged from squid at a point where our ancestors had only very primitive eyes indeed. Very little of the structure of the eye was shared at that point. So how is it we both have camera eyes?

The answer to this will frustrate Ant, but it is "because camera eyes work".

That is all the "magic" of reality there is to it. If they didn't work, they wouldn't develope. Or perhaps more tellingly, starting with what you've already got, the next alteration in the design can either function better or worse. The worse alterations under perform, and are less likely to be reproduced and have additional alterations develope.

"Because camera eyes work" is also why it wouldn't be unlikely for aliens to have camera eyes. They wouldn't need to share our genetics to duplicate the overall structure of the camera eye. They would just need to live in a place where photons behave like photons, and electrons behave like electrons. Anywhere in our universe where things are a bit like the earth, in other words, is a good place to have camera eyes.

So why are there eyes? Because physics works the way it works. Vision is not a thing that exists independant of reality. The sense of vision is inexorably tied to matter emitting radiation in the form of photons. So if you hear somebody tell you about what heaven or hell "looks like", they are talking about places with the same quantum laws as our reality. Places where you need physical eye balls. Places where you could build generators, and air conditioning units.


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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.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Robert Tulip wrote:
ant wrote:
how many small steps (represented by Dawkin's snapshots) take us from a slightly light sensitive cell to a fully formed eye, and of approximately the number of generations required for mutations to occur. An order of magnitude answer is a reasonable request for a scientific matter. After all, we are not dealing in fairy tales here. And yet, biologists like Dawkins tell us that it can't be done (of course it cant)
ant, please watch this 15 minute lecture which shows that your bolded assumption above is incorrect. Dawkins demonstrates the stages of the evolution of the eye, and explains that the number of generations required for the evolution of the eye, by conservative scientific analysis, is 250,000.


No one here attempted to use the development of the eye as an argument for intelligent design, Robert.

The plug-in vid for some reason does not work for me.

I'm certain it's a good explanation. One that I more than likely would not refute in an attempt to "prove" the existence of God. And probably one I've seen before, for that matter.

Interbane towards the end of this entire thread zeroed in on the thrust of what I wished to highlight.
Everyone else more or less had a field day propping up an army of strawmen, everything from the old design of the eye arguments ad naseum to claiming that I believed we will all eventually grow beaks.

I will need to respond to Interbane.
I disagree that abstract mathematical ability was an inevitable consequence of our ability to perform basic, useful mathematics. There is no evidence for that hypothesis, to my knowledge. And recycling another anthropic defense argument is not intellectually satisfying.

I have other thoughts on my mind as well.



Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:18 am
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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Quote:
I disagree that abstract mathematical ability was an inevitable consequence of our ability to perform basic, useful mathematics. There is no evidence for that hypothesis, to my knowledge. And recycling another anthropic defense argument is not intellectually satisfying.


It's a fun discussion, philosophy of knowledge.

Before you reply, realize that even the most simple mathematical entities are also abstractions. There is no math that isn't also abstract.

Don't be confused by the Pure Mathematics which is 'only' abstraction, and doesn't include the real world referrents. Even simple math is also abstract, with the difference being the abstractions point to something real in the world.

I haven't thought about it yet, but you may find some good points considering the 'math sense' of animals, and whether or not they can be considered to form abstractions.


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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
The very idea that we are an intellectually optimistic species; that we will be able to decipher the intelligibility of the cosmos is significant.

Understanding outpacing Explanation is part of the transcendent conscious ability only found (to our knowledge) in homo sapiens, I would think.
At what point in the development of Ape into Man this threshold was crossed is a mystery. To my knowledge there is no way to trace this part of evolution. It is not simply a matter of connecting two more dots on the evolutionary tree of life and saying "this is when the transition occurred. This is when the universe became aware of itself and the finite became infinite"

Evolutionary forces "shaping" (dont load that word in prejudice) finite organisms beyond their arena seems too dramatic. The mathematics Ive referenced are responsible for that. It is not simply yet another form of "language." The implications are immensely profound. The spoken word allows us to dominate Terran.
Mathematics allows us to ask Nature questions and describe its divinity.
Why is that?

Far too many advanced Mathematicians are platonists.
And you know what I mean by that.
The language of Math is "discovered"

Given enough Time, anything can happen, including the transmogrification of inanimate matter into animate matter.
And given enough Time Math is part of the process? The Math that is predictive and explanatory of Nature's character?
How is this question confirmed by the method of Science?

Science takes us up to a point where it can go no further, after which we are left with meta science and metaphysical thought.
A Theologian awaits us there.
Theologians have been asking questions that took science 1000,s of years to ask.



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Post Re: Timescale and Neo Darwinism - some more thoughts
Quote:
Science takes us up to a point where it can go no further, after which we are left with meta science and metaphysical thought.
A Theologian awaits us there.
Theologians have been asking questions that took science 1000,s of years to ask.


Theologians are not the place to find your answers when science can go no further. Epistemologists are the proper place to find answers. Pigliucci VS Platinga, Popper VS Aquinas. You'll find it depressing that no theological argument exists that hasn't been genuinely taken apart limb from limb by modern philosophy.

There are many schools of philosophy that are at slight odds with each other, so there is disagreement that fosters progress. Yet, theology is not part of this collective of schools. The trend of theology's decay has been accelerating since the internet brought all scholastic circles together. Or at least provided them a forum to discuss their ideas. In the past, exposure to the leading arguments was either through higher education or specialized books. In both cases, theology and other philosophies didn't really mix.

Go search for the best theological argument you can find, and bring it back to these forums. Make a new thread and we can discuss it. Platinga's EAAN is actually related to this thread, so that would be a great place to start.

Quote:
The mathematics Ive referenced are responsible for that. It is not simply yet another form of "language." The implications are immensely profound. The spoken word allows us to dominate Terran.
Mathematics allows us to ask Nature questions and describe its divinity.


I think the larger benefit may have been due to abstractions in general, rather than mathematics. Once we had the ability to think abstractly, we could form nearly any hypothesis. The sky was the limit. Abstractions also allowed us to talk about things. Our mental concept of a tree is an abstraction of a real tree. Suddenly we could discuss trees and give orders for ambushing deer by climbing them and hiding up high. Group organization would have suddenly exploded. Strategies could not only be executed, but also dissected and discussed. We no longer needed to rely on elders with experience to lead us back to fertile lands when the snows melted. Instead, we could abstract that information and transfer it verbally.

Mathematics wasn't nearly as useful as abstract thought in general. But once we had the ability to think abstractly(thus the capacity for mathematics), we suddenly had a key to investigating the universe. Although it wasn't until relatively recently that we understood this.


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In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
johnson1010
Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:46 pm
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