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Some questions on evolution...

Ajabi
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6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
These are not objections, but seeing as how I'm reading Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth" I was bound to come up with questions. If anyone can address them, I'd be very happy. These are not all the questions, only the immediate questions from the first two chapters which come to mind.

1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor. This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no? Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks. Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other? I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry. With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition. I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans) or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that. I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.
tejretics
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6/14/2015 11:35:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections, but seeing as how I'm reading Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth" I was bound to come up with questions. If anyone can address them, I'd be very happy. These are not all the questions, only the immediate questions from the first two chapters which come to mind.

1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor. This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no? Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

There are two essential components required for formation of basic cell structure: (1) RNA nucleotides, and (2) amino acids. RNA nucleotides form RNA monomers which, in turn, link to form simple polymers of ribose sugar and nucleotides, which then react in simple form as deoxyribose sugar to become DNA. Amino acids complexify to form proteins.

The Miller-Urey experiment was the first in a succession of experiments that succeeded in abiotically synthesizing amino acids with the precise conditions that were present 3.6-3 billion years ago to form life.

RNA nucleotides have been synthesized abiotically as well in similar conditions, which confirms that basic cell structure *can* be synthesized abiotically.

Viruses are living examples of a "first step" in abiotic synthesis of life, since they have nearly non-functioning proteins and D.N.A., but are non-living.


2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

Edelman (2003) and Veldmans and Schneider (2007) suggest that a biological basis of consciousness is present not just in the pre-frontal cortex, but rather in the positioning of brain neurons. Today, biologists tend to reject the proposition of Descartesian ontology that suggests monistic idealism, and the mind is just another aspect of neuron positioning.


3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks. Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

Brain evolution via. natural processes has been seen with (1) fossil evidence, and (2) *recent* microevolutionary changes in some species. The area of the brain with the greatest amount of recent evolutionary change is called the cerebrum, or neocortex. In reptiles and fish, this area is called the pallium, and is smaller and simpler relative to body mass than what is found in mammals. According to Griffin (2003), the cerebrum first developed about 200 million years ago. It's responsible for higher cognitive functions - for example, language, thinking, and related forms of information processing.

A simple explanation of the evolutionary processing of the brain has been described. A long term study comparing the human brain to the primitive brain found that the modern human brain contains the primitive hindbrain region " what most neurologist call the protoreptilian brain. The purpose of this part of the brain is to sustain fundamental homeostatic functions. The pons and medulla are major structures found there. A new region of the brain developed about 250 million years after the appearance of the hindbrain. This region is known as the paleomammalian brain, the major parts of which are the hippocampi and amygdalas, often referred to as the limbic system. The limbic system deals with more complex functions including emotional, sexual and fighting behaviors. These are basically common features exhibiting some changes that demonstrate that the human brain was rooted in some reptilian and non-human mammalian species.


4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other? I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry. With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

(1) Fossilization is very rare. When organisms die, they decompose quickly. Only organisms that die in very specific conditions, such as being buried in tar, can fossilize. For this reason, the fossil record only gives us a small snapshot of far less than 1 percent of the species that ever existed. In addition, only hard-matter fossilizes, so fossils of everything except vertebrates are extremely rare. So we don't have anything *near* a complete snapshot of every species that ever existed.

(2) There *are* fossils that show direct evolutionary changes, especially evolutionary changes in the skulls of various species of the genus Homo. The skeletal structure of Australopithecus afarensis demonstrates that it was only partially bipedal (i.e. walked upright but also walked using its hands), so it is part-way in between humans and apes. Pakicetids are a transitional form part-way in between modern horses and whales: they had hooves but had special membranes in their ears making them capable of directional hearing under water. It's important to note that modern cetaceans evolved after mammals *returned* to the water, so pakticetids were a transitional form between hoofed animals and cetaceans.


These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition. I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans) or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that. I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.

Many other species possess consciousness, e.g. elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees. "Studies show that structures in the elephant brain are strikingly similar to those in humans. MRI scans of an elephant's brain suggest a large hippocampus, the component in the mammalian brain linked to memory and an important part of its limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions. The elephant brain has also been shown to possess an abundance of the specialized neurons known as spindle cells, which are thought to be associated with self-awareness, empathy, and social awareness in humans. Elephants have even passed the mirror test of self-recognition, something only humans, and some great apes and dolphins, had been known to do." [http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com...]

Maybe not reason, but definitely consciousness.

Evolution is documented.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Envisage
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6/14/2015 11:40:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor.

This is false. The fact that all species that have ever existed are related does not follow that there is a single common ancestor. C.f. horizontal gene transfer for example.

This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no?

Well, you are talking about abiogenesis here, not evolution. But evolution would depict that such a common ancestor would be exceptionally simple, much simpler than any extant single celled organism today. And actual abiogenesis hypothesis do away with one of the major facets of the workings of scells today (e.g. some hypothesis start form a RNA-only environment, with no protein production, some with peptide-only, some with lipid-only). All of these self-replicate, but would not by definition be called "life", despite being capable of evolving to become such. Such systems would also be accessible abiotically.

Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

We can, and we already have made self-replicating systems from scratch. I myself have made several autocatalytic systems in the lab before, although these can never evolve into life - you need a system that can introduce and preserve errors before that is possible. I have a debate on this which may interest you (I lost it, but my opening round highlights how abiogenesis is possible, and in fact driven).[http://www.debate.org...]

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

Understanding consciousness as a whole is a conceptual problem, not a scientific problem. While consciousness itself can indeed be entirely naturalistic, it wouldn't be relevant to evolutionary science. By consciousness I presume you are talking about the subjective experience of the senses, rather than the ability to think/reason - which would indeed have evolutionary considerations.

Understanding the brain allows you to understand how consciousness is affected (such as our massive visual cortex leads us to prioritise visual stimuli in our experience, and also dictates how we hallucenate, etc.), but won't address the experience itself (objective/subjective distinction).

3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks. Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

Artificial selection is completely different to natural selection. The former selects for arbitrary traits, the latter purely selects for survival to reproduction. In neither case is there a strong requirement for neural networks. Neural networks are actually very expensive, and only evolutionarily favourable for movement. Moreover "high" intelligence has only evolved once (twice if you count Neanderthals as a completely separate instance), there simply isn't a large evolutionary advantage for large networks which consume tonnes of energy.

Davil Wolpert has a good talk on this: http://www.ted.com...

So in other words, I am not sure why we would to see many neural changes in experiments etc. Such changes are slow when they do occur, and the selection pressures for them are not immediately apparent.

Note we share pretty much the same neural network as primates. Essentially exactly the same type of connections, same nerve cell types, etc. It's quite different from a rodent brain, or neural network, but the changes aren't exactly revolutionary even along this rather large evolutionary gap. I recommend Susana's talk on how rubbish having a brain is, and implicitly why it took so long and was so hard for us to have our own ones.[https://www.ted.com...]

4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other?

The fact you are asking this question shows you have a misunderstanding of what a "transitional species" is. Evolution largely entails common ancestry, it doesn't entail one species changing into another. Yes, there are a lot of changes between the common ancestor and today's species, but sometimes there aren't many. Every species is capable of producing branches, and thus all species are "transitional species" in a sense.

I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry.

Poodles never have, and never will transition into leopards (or vice versa). This statement is based on the misunderstanding I have already outlines. Yes leopards and poodles will share a common ancestor, but at no point did one change into another. It's like looking at two twigs that arise from the same branch. Both twigs share a branch, but both twige are not directly connected.

With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

We have a pretty comprehensive catalogue of the earlier mammals, including many of the ancestor species... You just need to look at the leopard evolutionary line, and the feline evolutionary fenline, and then find where the ancestors become the same.[http://fossilworks.org...]

These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition.

Never happens, as already explained.

I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans)

Don't know why you would exclude humans, given that humans constitute an excellent case of it (especially since naturally most research would be done on our own evolution, for obvious reasons).

or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that.

Cats and dog's don't possess consciousness> Can you prove that> Can you prove to yourself that I posses consciousness> I find it extremely difficult to believe that they do not possess at least some experience of consciousness if I accept the premise that other humans do possess it.

Also the assertion that they cannot reason is factually false (studies on primates, elephants, terepods pretty much falsify this, especially the former), they just cannot reason on the same level as humans can.

I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.

I need to read up on evolution of neurology, it sounds interesting and I have neglected to do so. I definitely recommend at least watching susanna's talk if you are interested in neurology though. Will give you a good perspective of the costs of our bra
Ajabi
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6/14/2015 12:05:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 11:35:57 AM, tejretics wrote:
There are two essential components required for formation of basic cell structure: (1) RNA nucleotides, and (2) amino acids. RNA nucleotides form RNA monomers which, in turn, link to form simple polymers of ribose sugar and nucleotides, which then react in simple form as deoxyribose sugar to become DNA. Amino acids complexify to form proteins.

The Miller-Urey experiment was the first in a succession of experiments that succeeded in abiotically synthesizing amino acids with the precise conditions that were present 3.6-3 billion years ago to form life.

RNA nucleotides have been synthesized abiotically as well in similar conditions, which confirms that basic cell structure *can* be synthesized abiotically.

I'll read more about this and get back to you. As far as I know viruses are "alive" but just that they live inside the cell. Then again I did not study biology after Year 7 (My subjects were Maths, Physics, and other humanities.

Viruses are living examples of a "first step" in abiotic synthesis of life, since they have nearly non-functioning proteins and D.N.A., but are non-living.



Edelman (2003) and Veldmans and Schneider (2007) suggest that a biological basis of consciousness is present not just in the pre-frontal cortex, but rather in the positioning of brain neurons. Today, biologists tend to reject the proposition of Descartesian ontology that suggests monistic idealism, and the mind is just another aspect of neuron positioning.

I can confirm this position is considered incorrect by many neurologists. In fact Roger Penrose has even given mathematical argument against this.
That aside I can refer you to a course on Neurology by Duke University. As far as neurons are concerned, neural connections are complex not just in humans, but also in animals. Neural networks cannot create consciousness or reason. It has been suggested by some neurologists that extremely complex neural connections could accomplish this, but there is no proof as of yet.

Brain evolution via. natural processes has been seen with (1) fossil evidence, and (2) *recent* microevolutionary changes in some species. The area of the brain with the greatest amount of recent evolutionary change is called the cerebrum, or neocortex. In reptiles and fish, this area is called the pallium, and is smaller and simpler relative to body mass than what is found in mammals. According to Griffin (2003), the cerebrum first developed about 200 million years ago. It's responsible for higher cognitive functions - for example, language, thinking, and related forms of information processing.

The neo cortex is just the front most part of the pre-frontal cortex which allows value judgments as well as comparisons to be made. Also you realize "cerebrum" is just Latin for brain. lol. Cerebrum includes the temporal lobes, the basal ganglia, and all the other fun lobes and what not. :P It is present in nearly all neural networks of moving creatures. No transition has been proven by fossil records.

A simple explanation of the evolutionary processing of the brain has been described. A long term study comparing the human brain to the primitive brain found that the modern human brain contains the primitive hindbrain region " what most neurologist call the protoreptilian brain. The purpose of this part of the brain is to sustain fundamental homeostatic functions.

Its more commonly known as the brain stem, and homeostasis occurs not by the brain stem, but by the individual cells. But yes blood pressure, and other chemicals are to a degree controlled by the brain stem. Thats why a motor riders injury to the C4 results in death.

The pons and medulla are major structures found there. A new region of the brain developed about 250 million years after the appearance of the hindbrain. This region is known as the paleomammalian brain, the major parts of which are the hippocampi and amygdalas, often referred to as the limbic system. The limbic system deals with more complex functions including emotional, sexual and fighting behaviors. These are basically common features exhibiting some changes that demonstrate that the human brain was rooted in some reptilian and non-human mammalian species.

Again there is no active evidence for this. And the limbic system as well as the occipital lobe are present in earlier ancestors as well. Its where the flight or fight "amygdyla" is present.

(1) Fossilization is very rare. When organisms die, they decompose quickly. Only organisms that die in very specific conditions, such as being buried in tar, can fossilize. For this reason, the fossil record only gives us a small snapshot of far less than 1 percent of the species that ever existed. In addition, only hard-matter fossilizes, so fossils of everything except vertebrates are extremely rare. So we don't have anything *near* a complete snapshot of every species that ever existed.

(2) There *are* fossils that show direct evolutionary changes, especially evolutionary changes in the skulls of various species of the genus Homo. The skeletal structure of Australopithecus afarensis demonstrates that it was only partially bipedal (i.e. walked upright but also walked using its hands), so it is part-way in between humans and apes. Pakicetids are a transitional form part-way in between modern horses and whales: they had hooves but had special membranes in their ears making them capable of directional hearing under water. It's important to note that modern cetaceans evolved after mammals *returned* to the water, so pakticetids were a transitional form between hoofed animals and cetaceans.

As I said I believe there are physiological differences, it is neural networks causing neural change is hardly documented.

Many other species possess consciousness, e.g. elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees. "Studies show that structures in the elephant brain are strikingly similar to those in humans. MRI scans of an elephant's brain suggest a large hippocampus, the component in the mammalian brain linked to memory and an important part of its limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions. The elephant brain has also been shown to possess an abundance of the specialized neurons known as spindle cells, which are thought to be associated with self-awareness, empathy, and social awareness in humans. Elephants have even passed the mirror test of self-recognition, something only humans, and some great apes and dolphins, had been known to do." [http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com...]

I think we have conflicting definitions of "conscious". For me conscious is one who can reason out two things: I have been born without my will, and I will die without my will, and can then derive conclusions from this. My definition is Eric Fromm's.

Maybe not reason, but definitely consciousness.

Evolution is documented.

You are false, sir. :P

Also challenge me to the debate on God with whatever rules ya want. I'm in for a God debate. :P
Envisage
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6/14/2015 12:09:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
RNA nucleotides have been synthesized abiotically as well in similar conditions, which confirms that basic cell structure *can* be synthesized abiotically.

This is just false. The cellular structure depends more on availability of lipids, and ability to form membranes. Even if RNA world hypothesis is correct, then it would require some form of compartmentalisation (for which lipids are the most obvious candidate).

Viruses are living examples of a "first step" in abiotic synthesis of life, since they have nearly non-functioning proteins and D.N.A., but are non-living.

This is a dubious example, given that viruses cannot self-reproduce. They cannot reproduce either their genetic content, nor their structure. Retroviruses are a better example, but halobacteria are probably as close as we have to the earlier list.

Edelman (2003) and Veldmans and Schneider (2007) suggest that a biological basis of consciousness is present not just in the pre-frontal cortex, but rather in the positioning of brain neurons.

Got citations> This sounds interesting, even if the conclusion is different to your claim here.

Today, biologists tend to reject the proposition of Descartesian ontology that suggests monistic idealism, and the mind is just another aspect of neuron positioning.

Descartesian ontology is dualism.... Even assuming you meant dualism, so what?

Brain evolution via. natural processes has been seen with (1) fossil evidence, and (2) *recent* microevolutionary changes in some species.

Citations please, these would be interesting to read. AFAIK with fossil evidence, it is only really possible to compare craniums/spinal cords/other inferred features of neurology, rather than directly the neurology itself. I could definitely be wrong though.

Many other species possess consciousness, e.g. elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees.

As I have said with Ajab, prove it. While you are at it, please refute epistemological solipsism. We seem to just take it on assumption (albeit inference to best explanation) that other things are conscious.
Ajabi
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6/14/2015 12:10:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 11:40:35 AM, Envisage wrote:
1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor.

This is false. The fact that all species that have ever existed are related does not follow that there is a single common ancestor. C.f. horizontal gene transfer for example.

Dawkins would disagree.


This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no?

Well, you are talking about abiogenesis here, not evolution. But evolution would depict that such a common ancestor would be exceptionally simple, much simpler than any extant single celled organism today. And actual abiogenesis hypothesis do away with one of the major facets of the workings of scells today (e.g. some hypothesis start form a RNA-only environment, with no protein production, some with peptide-only, some with lipid-only). All of these self-replicate, but would not by definition be called "life", despite being capable of evolving to become such. Such systems would also be accessible abiotically.

I'll have to read more about this to answer you.


Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

We can, and we already have made self-replicating systems from scratch. I myself have made several autocatalytic systems in the lab before, although these can never evolve into life - you need a system that can introduce and preserve errors before that is possible. I have a debate on this which may interest you (I lost it, but my opening round highlights how abiogenesis is possible, and in fact driven).[http://www.debate.org...]

So technically they cannot evolve into life, that is what I meant to state.

Understanding consciousness as a whole is a conceptual problem, not a scientific problem. While consciousness itself can indeed be entirely naturalistic, it wouldn't be relevant to evolutionary science. By consciousness I presume you are talking about the subjective experience of the senses, rather than the ability to think/reason - which would indeed have evolutionary considerations.

I mean the ability to realize 2 things: we are born without our will, and we die without our will, and to derive natural conclusions and comparisons whilst understanding this.

Understanding the brain allows you to understand how consciousness is affected (such as our massive visual cortex leads us to prioritise visual stimuli in our experience, and also dictates how we hallucenate, etc.), but won't address the experience itself
(objective/subjective distinction).

And yet the prefrontal cortex does not prove that conscioussness exists.
Ajabi
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6/14/2015 12:16:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago

Artificial selection is completely different to natural selection. The former selects for arbitrary traits, the latter purely selects for survival to reproduction. In neither case is there a strong requirement for neural networks. Neural networks are actually very expensive, and only evolutionarily favourable for movement. Moreover "high" intelligence has only evolved once (twice if you count Neanderthals as a completely separate instance), there simply isn't a large evolutionary advantage for large networks which consume tonnes of energy.

Yes one is random and the other isn't but they function in a similar fashion. Also WHY? Why is it that high intelligence has only evolved once, that too so many millions of years ago, and no one else comes even close to this high an intelligence. Humans are dramatically more evolved than all other species, does that not strike you as odd?


Davil Wolpert has a good talk on this: http://www.ted.com...

So in other words, I am not sure why we would to see many neural changes in experiments etc. Such changes are slow when they do occur, and the selection pressures for them are not immediately apparent.

Note we share pretty much the same neural network as primates. Essentially exactly the same type of connections, same nerve cell types, etc. It's quite different from a rodent brain, or neural network, but the changes aren't exactly revolutionary even along this rather large evolutionary gap. I recommend Susana's talk on how rubbish having a brain is, and implicitly why it took so long and was so hard for us to have our own ones.[https://www.ted.com...]

There is debate about this, also your point isnt all that clear.

The fact you are asking this question shows you have a misunderstanding of what a "transitional species" is. Evolution largely entails common ancestry, it doesn't entail one species changing into another. Yes, there are a lot of changes between the common ancestor and today's species, but sometimes there aren't many. Every species is capable of producing branches, and thus all species are "transitional species" in a sense.

You misunderstand me. Regarding my point below about the poodle what I mean is wy dont we have fossils of animals which look a little less like a poodle ever few million years, and a little less like leopards every few million years. Eventually going back maybe a billion years the ancestry of poodles and leopards will be one. Or so Dawkins says.

I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry.

Poodles never have, and never will transition into leopards (or vice versa). This statement is based on the misunderstanding I have already outlines. Yes leopards and poodles will share a common ancestor, but at no point did one change into another. It's like looking at two twigs that arise from the same branch. Both twigs share a branch, but both twige are not directly connected.

Read my above point. You misunderstand me.

We have a pretty comprehensive catalogue of the earlier mammals, including many of the ancestor species... You just need to look at the leopard evolutionary line, and the feline evolutionary fenline, and then find where the ancestors become the same.[http://fossilworks.org...]

These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition.

Never happens, as already explained.

I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans)

Don't know why you would exclude humans, given that humans constitute an excellent case of it (especially since naturally most research would be done on our own evolution, for obvious reasons).

or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that.

Cats and dog's don't possess consciousness> Can you prove that> Can you prove to yourself that I posses consciousness> I find it extremely difficult to believe that they do not possess at least some experience of consciousness if I accept the premise that other humans do possess it.

Also the assertion that they cannot reason is factually false (studies on primates, elephants, terepods pretty much falsify this, especially the former), they just cannot reason on the same level as humans can.

I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.

I need to read up on evolution of neurology, it sounds interesting and I have neglected to do so. I definitely recommend at least watching susanna's ta

I will do so, but the evolution of meurology is for me the weakest point of evolution.
Ajabi
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6/14/2015 12:17:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 11:35:57 AM, tejretics wrote:

Your points seem a bit weak to me, we can debate evolution if you like. You can instigate with your rules.
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6/14/2015 12:22:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Dawkins would disagree.

I don't think he would. I mean, the general idea is correct, but the superficial concept of there being "one first ancestor cell" is not one that is either mandated, likely, or required.


Well, you are talking about abiogenesis here, not evolution. But evolution would depict that such a common ancestor would be exceptionally simple, much simpler than any extant single celled organism today. And actual abiogenesis hypothesis do away with one of the major facets of the workings of scells today (e.g. some hypothesis start form a RNA-only environment, with no protein production, some with peptide-only, some with lipid-only). All of these self-replicate, but would not by definition be called "life", despite being capable of evolving to become such. Such systems would also be accessible abiotically.

I'll have to read more about this to answer you.

Let me put it this way. The simplest life that exists today has over 500 genes and a genome of over half a million base pairs. Abiogenesis I estimate would yield a self-replicating system with less than 300 base pairs and no genes whatsoever, and at most less than a dozen proteins. At least that is where all the research is being done.[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

The hypothetical last universal common ancestor would itself be much much more complex than anything produces by abiogenesis, thus there is a large (stupendous, enormous, or whatever large inducing adjective you prefer) evolutionary gap between the former, and anything you would ever call life.

So technically they cannot evolve into life, that is what I meant to state.

This is also false though, since we have self-replicating systems which:
1. allow for cumulative errors
2. reproduce with fidelity

From relatively system made-made systems, such as riboxymes, ligases, etc. See my debate for examples of such. They are a long way from evolving into life, but there is no obvious inherent physical barrier that would prevent them to like there is with my own autocatalytic systems (which have perfect fidelity, and hence no cumulative error inducing mechanism).

I mean the ability to realize 2 things: we are born without our will, and we die without our will, and to derive natural conclusions and comparisons whilst understanding this.

Define "will".

And yet the prefrontal cortex does not prove that conscioussness exists.

I never said nor implied it does.
Ajabi
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6/14/2015 12:27:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 12:22:20 PM, Envisage wrote:
Dawkins would disagree.

I don't think he would. I mean, the general idea is correct, but the superficial concept of there being "one first ancestor cell" is not one that is either mandated, likely, or required.

He legit does in a certain way in his book. :P

Let me put it this way. The simplest life that exists today has over 500 genes and a genome of over half a million base pairs. Abiogenesis I estimate would yield a self-replicating system with less than 300 base pairs and no genes whatsoever, and at most less than a dozen proteins. At least that is where all the research is being done.[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

This makes it better, do you know of any books on this? I want to read more.


The hypothetical last universal common ancestor would itself be much much more complex than anything produces by abiogenesis, thus there is a large (stupendous, enormous, or whatever large inducing adjective you prefer) evolutionary gap between the former, and anything you would ever call life.

So technically they cannot evolve into life, that is what I meant to state.

This is also false though, since we have self-replicating systems which:
1. allow for cumulative errors
2. reproduce with fidelity

This seems very open and you're basically saying if, maybe, but, however, I don't see documented evidence...


From relatively system made-made systems, such as riboxymes, ligases, etc. See my debate for examples of such. They are a long way from evolving into life, but there is no obvious inherent physical barrier that would prevent them to like there is with my own autocatalytic systems (which have perfect fidelity, and hence no cumulative error inducing mechanism).

I mean the ability to realize 2 things: we are born without our will, and we die without our will, and to derive natural conclusions and comparisons whilst understanding this.

Define "will".

Without our intentional desire. Unless you commit suicide.


And yet the prefrontal cortex does not prove that conscioussness exists.

I never said nor implied it does.

Nice to see we agree.
Envisage
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6/14/2015 12:34:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Yes one is random and the other isn't but they function in a similar fashion. Also WHY? Why is it that high intelligence has only evolved once, that too so many millions of years ago, and no one else comes even close to this high an intelligence. Humans are dramatically more evolved than all other species, does that not strike you as odd?

Watch susanne's video, which may help you there. Intelligence isn't an exceptionally preferable evolutionary trait. The fact it is so rare (not just human level intelligence, but higher intelligent organisms whatsoever, such as primate-level, when you compare it to the rest of the animal kingdom) pretty much explains the point.

And yes, it does strike me as very odd - humans are an exceptional outlier, thus there must be a very intriguing explanation/collection of explanations. I know you have a theological reason, but you must know I am more aware of this than most - again I can only recommend Suzanne's video which explains one stance on this:

[https://www.ted.com...]

There is debate about this, also your point isn't all that clear.

I know. The "stoned ape theory" is the most intriguing of them, lol.

You misunderstand me. Regarding my point below about the poodle what I mean is wy dont we have fossils of animals which look a little less like a poodle ever few million years, and a little less like leopards every few million years.

But we do.... Also tej's point on how often fossilisation occurs comes into play here. For example you can basically fit all humanoid fossils into the back of a pick-up truck - they are that rare. We have a lot of them, but they are still rare (fossils in general that is).

Eventually going back maybe a billion years the ancestry of poodles and leopards will be one. Or so Dawkins says.

Well, boney animals didn't exist a billions years ago, c.f. Cambian explosion lol. And clearly the common ancestor of leopards and poodles (which is just the common ancestor of all felines and canines) would have a skeleton since they both possess one (otherwise they would have to have evolved them completely independently, which is a statistical miracle) - which is basically how common ancestry makes fossil record predictions that can be tested.

[http://fossilworks.org...]

I will do so, but the evolution of meurology is for me the weakest point of evolution.

You can't do much research on it via., the fossil record since they are soft tissues, so most the information on it is going to come from comparative anatomy, genetics, etc. The comparative anatomy with our fellow primates is pretty useful in this regard.
Envisage
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6/14/2015 12:41:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This makes it better, do you know of any books on this? I want to read more.

I have never read a book on it, I only read the publications (since abiogenesis is such a new field). I have a few reviews I can forward you, but its not like there is a consensus on anything (I get my old uni laptop back next weekend, I will forward you them then). There is a reason why I qualify them as hypothesis, and not theories, since they have insufficient testability/explanatory power to be classified as a theory of the origin of life on Earth.

This is also false though, since we have self-replicating systems which:
1. allow for cumulative errors
2. reproduce with fidelity

This seems very open and you're basically saying if, maybe, but, however, I don't see documented evidence...

Riboxymes:
http://www.pnas.org...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Peptides:
http://cba.mit.edu...
PNA
http://pubs.rsc.org...
Lipid vesicles/membranes:
http://www.weizmann.ac.il...
http://www.colorado.edu...

/gish gallop

Define "will".

Without our intentional desire. Unless you commit suicide.

You are using a negative attribute to define will. Are you sure you want to do that> Because it is a useless broad definition the way you have given it. I mean, try and think for yourself examples of things "without our intentional desire" and see if you could classify them all as will.
DanneJeRusse
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6/14/2015 12:50:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections, but seeing as how I'm reading Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth" I was bound to come up with questions. If anyone can address them, I'd be very happy. These are not all the questions, only the immediate questions from the first two chapters which come to mind.

1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor. This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no?

It was an ongoing process for millions of years in the early oceans, which means organisms were coming into existence everywhere and under a variety of conditions over long periods of times. The extent of the magnitude and diversity of lifeforms even then would indicate many early ancestors and that life didn't just form as a "first organism", that it was instead occurring all over the planet in various stages and at various times. It is thought there was at least one mass extinction due to an ice age that covered most of the planet. Life had to literally start over again.

So, it's not really that relevant in trying to pinpoint that "first organism" when the entire concept is probably moot.

Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

It's certainly not an easy task to replicate an early ocean and those conditions along with having to somehow shrink millions of years of time down to few years of laboratory experiment.

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks. Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other? I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry. With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition. I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans) or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that. I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
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Saint_of_Me
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6/14/2015 4:19:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Anybody who still thinks there is an insufficient collection of transitional fossils that PROVE the Evolutionary Theory has not even attempted to research the subject.

I dare..DARE anybody who doubts our VAST collection of transitional fossils to simply Google it. Go to Wiki...and prepare to be amazed. There are thousands.

As far as JeRusse's claim of it being difficult to recreate the conditions that we think comprised Darwin's Warm Little Pond some 3 billion years ago..well, sure it is! Ya think?

But we have come close and are getting closer. Hell. the MIller-Urey experiment some four decades ago yielded some good stuff, and although they failed to produce life, or DNA, they did create the precursors to proteins which are the building blocks of DNA-rNA (along with sugar phosphates.) And that is proteins.

I will have to research some more, as I cannot recall exactly, but I think microbiologists in another Miller-Urey-type experiment, a few years ago, managed to create proteins--a step closer. And maybe even rNa. But I will check.

But so what? If they haven't? IN know way does this diminish the credibility of the LUCA theory, or Evolution. There are may many things and conditions in the natural world we cannot replicate.

To use the failure of Miller-Urey as a proof of God is usage of the cop-ft God of the Gaps excuse at its lamest.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
Ramshutu
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6/15/2015 9:21:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor. This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago. So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no?

Just for point of reference, the Last universal Common ancestor is inferred to be about 3.8bn years old. This organism is highly unlikely to be the first organism ever, but merely the last creature which we can say all organisms share ancestry.

Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

Abiogenesis research is trying to recreate unknown steps that occurred 3.8bn years ago to create the first self replicating organism based on conditions we are not certain of. Considering we don't fully understand how organisms work now, it's not surprising that we aren't sure exactly what steps are required or what chemical processes were at work at that time. However, there is significant progress in this field. 50 years ago, we weren't even sure how or even if the most basic chemicals could form; since then there have been many fascinating processes discovered that make the concept of abiogenesis very compelling.

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

I don't think anyone really knows what consciousness is. We know we're not special in most measurable ways from other animals; many other species can be determined to be self aware to some degree, many others have complex thought and problem solving abilities. Genes may not decide consciousness, but it could simply be what a brain tells itself it experiences when it gets complex enough; or it may be decided by genes, in that being aware of your self allows for better predicting of the future, and positions; all effecting survivability.

3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks. Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

Mammalian brains are pretty much all the same; they differ in size in relation to body size, but their composition and structure is pretty much the same. Given this, it is unsurprising that large quantumn leaps in brain structure haven't occurred in dogs; they haven't occurred that many times in the history of life in general.

What I will say though, is the temperament of dogs, including how they act; varies wildly between different breeds and is very different to that of wild dogs, including wolves.

4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other? I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry. With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

Many anti-evolution people make this claim a LOT. A lot of it is because they do not understand what a transitional form; expecting that a transitional form is a mutant chimera between two species that are still alive. Like a "Croco-Duck" for example, or something halfway between a poodle and a leapard.

Evolution indicates that a single species can diversify into multiple different species, with each lineage acquiring differen traits; this has happened again and again over time accounting for all life on earth.

Given that, you can work out what a transitional form "should" look like:

Firstly, If you have two species; one descended from another, then you should be able to find a fossile with only some of the NEW traits acquired in the descended species, but still having mostly traits of the parent. As evolution inferrs that the descendant species gradually acquired it's traits over time.

Secondly, if you have two species that are descended from the same ancestor, then you should be able to find a fossile that has all the traits those two species have in common, but none, or very few of the traits that are different between them; as evolution inferrs that the two species split off from a common ancestor, and the traits that are not shared were acquired since the split (otherwise both lineages would derive it).

So do we have any of these? Yes. Hundreds. We have fossile representatives of almost all the major transitions; Inverterbrates to verterbrates, verterbrates to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to lizards, reptiles to mammals and reptiles to birds. ( PikaiaTiktaliik, Proterogyrinus, Biarmosuchus and other Therapsids, Archaeopteryx, and various raptor forms respectively), and these are the most pronounced examples, with literally hundreds more showing transitions in horses, cetaceons, fish, humans, snakes, carnoviroraform (including Dormaalocyon latouri which is considered ancesteral between poodles and leapards.

On top of this, there are literally thousands more examples of species that are not transitional (they are not common ancestors of inferred species), but show the progression of different species and traits over time.

The fossile record is incontravertable in this respect, and so much richer than anyone would really suspect until they looked into it; and it clearly shows a progression of traits within species over time.

I will say, if you have read websites, or been told that there are "no transitional forms", then someone has been straight-up lying to you. There are, and there have been for hundreds of years.

You seem to be trying to find out what the truth is, to seek out the evidence on your own; that is a really good thing, and I am quite happy to answer any questions you want to ask; some area's aren't my sphere of expertise, but if you want to ask questions on Genetics or Phylogenetics, or the general evidence for evolution, I think I'm pretty good.

However, I will say that some of the things you aren't sure about seem to be typical to the types of arguments Creationists often make. So I am a little cautious as to whether your questions were asked honestly; there have been many creationists that have portrayed themselves as "asking an honest question", where really they just want to ignore anything that is said to proseltyze their own opinions.
Ajabi
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6/16/2015 8:27:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/15/2015 9:21:12 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
Just for point of reference, the Last universal Common ancestor is inferred to be about 3.8bn years old. This organism is highly unlikely to be the first organism ever, but merely the last creature which we can say all organisms share ancestry.

So all the other species from the 1.4 billion years ago before died out? Why did only one survive. The main problem I have right now is that evolution sounds like a sturdy theory, which does have evidence backing it, but it has *a long* way to go. Also its not a de facto "fact" like Dawkins claim. Perhaps its the most likely theory, but I think one should also look at Punctuated Equilibrium vs. Natural Slow Selection. For this I'm reading the articles of Gould and Dawkins. PE would explain the Cambrian explosion and the stasis better. But again I've just started researching.

Abiogenesis research is trying to recreate unknown steps that occurred 3.8bn years ago to create the first self replicating organism based on conditions we are not certain of. Considering we don't fully understand how organisms work now, it's not surprising that we aren't sure exactly what steps are required or what chemical processes were at work at that time. However, there is significant progress in this field. 50 years ago, we weren't even sure how or even if the most basic chemicals could form; since then there have been many fascinating processes discovered that make the concept of abiogenesis very compelling.

This is something others have also mentioned. As far as I have yet learnt, abiogenesis is a speculative theory, nearly as speculative as biogenesis. However after I am done with Dawkins and some other books I plan to read more about abiogenesis. Until now I'm withholding opinion.

I don't think anyone really knows what consciousness is. We know we're not special in most measurable ways from other animals; many other species can be determined to be self aware to some degree, many others have complex thought and problem solving abilities. Genes may not decide consciousness, but it could simply be what a brain tells itself it experiences when it gets complex enough; or it may be decided by genes, in that being aware of your self allows for better predicting of the future, and positions; all effecting survivability.

I disagree. I believe philosophy has well enough defined consciousness, in the terms of Kant and Fromm. Humans seem to have developed this "higher consciousness" at the Pro-Magnun Sapien after the Neanderthal. Seeing how neuroscience cannot tell why this happened, this is a major "question" for me. Though I'm hoping to read more from Gerhard Roth.

Mammalian brains are pretty much all the same; they differ in size in relation to body size, but their composition and structure is pretty much the same. Given this, it is unsurprising that large quantumn leaps in brain structure haven't occurred in dogs; they haven't occurred that many times in the history of life in general.

This is incorrect. The human brain is very different from normal mammals possessing a highly evolved pre frontal cortex is only possessed by human beings. I know this from my coursera course, but please provide evidence to the contrary and I'll review it.

Also humans are much more highly evolved than any other species. We have noses unlike any other mammal to allow us to breathe in air and be able to swim underwater. Our reflexes (speed up metabolism/reduce heart rate) in water is something which well we really don't need. Our brains developed much higher intelligence even though it may be an evolutionary disadvantage as we need very huge skulls and our brain takes 25% of our body's energy. Seems fishy.

Many anti-evolution people make this claim a LOT. A lot of it is because they do not understand what a transitional form; expecting that a transitional form is a mutant chimera between two species that are still alive. Like a "Croco-Duck" for example, or something halfway between a poodle and a leapard.

I have since learned that transition fossils are there, and that was a misunderstanding I have a Creation website to thank for. In any case I still stand by my neural connection objection.

You seem to be trying to find out what the truth is, to seek out the evidence on your own; that is a really good thing, and I am quite happy to answer any questions you want to ask; some area's aren't my sphere of expertise, but if you want to ask questions on Genetics or Phylogenetics, or the general evidence for evolution, I think I'm pretty good.

However, I will say that some of the things you aren't sure about seem to be typical to the types of arguments Creationists often make. So I am a little cautious as to whether your questions were asked honestly; there have been many creationists that have portrayed themselves as "asking an honest question", where really they just want to ignore anything that is said to proseltyze their own opinions.

I really don't appreciate being accused of being a secret creationist. Right now I'm reading different things, and weighing them. Because evolution is not a fact that doesnt make creationsim true. My true objection is that evolution can be said to be the best theory available but from what I see now, it has a lot to explain and do before its a "fact". Personally I'm doubtful of evolution, but I'm not in a rush. I've planned to have a judgement on evolution by December...that gives me enough time to go through sources.
v3nesl
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6/16/2015 9:45:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
...

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. ...

I totally agree with you, but this issue is axiomatic. If I were able to produce an Artificial Intelligence program that could make posts here that are indistinguishable from human posts, would that AI program be conscious? As you think it through you realize there is no formal logic way to decide consciousness. Only consciousness can recognize consciousness, so it is axiomatic.

So, I think we must presume we actually are conscious, whatever consciousness may be. If consciousness is said to be an illusion, then we obviously have no means for determining truth, so that option, even if true, is useless. The only option is to assume true consciousness, and then ask if various explanations for it are adequate.

And then a next step is to realize that consciousness cannot be *only* a product of the strict determinism of the natural laws. That results in the 'illusion' option, where we only have certain neuron firings based on certain stimuli. Consciousness is then just some pattern of neuron firings, it's not actually a knowledge *about* the physical world. Do we only react to stimuli, or can we know about stimuli?

And again, we must assume the latter, or all human inquiry is illusory. So we're left with the startling realization that thought is metaphysical. You can properly use that terrifying word: Super-natural. It's something other than *only* physical interaction with the physical world.

And this is the starting point, that's the critical thing to realize. Science itself only starts after we have assumed we can know *about* the physical and not merely react to it.
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DanneJeRusse
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6/16/2015 1:04:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 9:45:58 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
...

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. ...

I totally agree with you, but this issue is axiomatic. If I were able to produce an Artificial Intelligence program that could make posts here that are indistinguishable from human posts, would that AI program be conscious?

Yes, because consciousness is the working, the effects and results of the brain, so consciousness in an AI "brain" would be the workings, effects and results of that mechanism.

As you think it through you realize there is no formal logic way to decide consciousness. Only consciousness can recognize consciousness, so it is axiomatic.

Is there a point to that?

So, I think we must presume we actually are conscious, whatever consciousness may be. If consciousness is said to be an illusion, then we obviously have no means for determining truth, so that option, even if true, is useless. The only option is to assume true consciousness, and then ask if various explanations for it are adequate.

And then a next step is to realize that consciousness cannot be *only* a product of the strict determinism of the natural laws.

No, that would not be the next step, the evidence is quite clear, the brain and it's activities do not violate the natural laws in any way and can be affected by them. If any other "products" were claimed of the brain not nature or if it violates the physical laws, then that evidence would have to be shown.

That results in the 'illusion' option, where we only have certain neuron firings based on certain stimuli. Consciousness is then just some pattern of neuron firings, it's not actually a knowledge *about* the physical world.

Yes, it absolutely is the knowledge of the physical world, that is exactly the result of those neurons firing.

Do we only react to stimuli, or can we know about stimuli?

Yes, we know about stimuli, it can be applied to the brain when experiments are conducted.

And again, we must assume the latter, or all human inquiry is illusory. So we're left with the startling realization that thought is metaphysical. You can properly use that terrifying word: Super-natural. It's something other than *only* physical interaction with the physical world.

You have simply jumped to an irrational conclusion based entirely on false premises.

And this is the starting point, that's the critical thing to realize. Science itself only starts after we have assumed we can know *about* the physical and not merely react to it.

Science and it's processes have gone well beyond the elementary concept of knowing *about* the physical world. It's laughable to use that as an argument.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
Enji
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6/16/2015 6:11:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 8:27:55 AM, Ajabi wrote:
At 6/15/2015 9:21:12 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
Just for point of reference, the Last universal Common ancestor is inferred to be about 3.8bn years old. This organism is highly unlikely to be the first organism ever, but merely the last creature which we can say all organisms share ancestry.

So all the other species from the 1.4 billion years ago before died out? Why did only one survive. The main problem I have right now is that evolution sounds like a sturdy theory, which does have evidence backing it, but it has *a long* way to go. Also its not a de facto "fact" like Dawkins claim. Perhaps its the most likely theory, but I think one should also look at Punctuated Equilibrium vs. Natural Slow Selection. For this I'm reading the articles of Gould and Dawkins. PE would explain the Cambrian explosion and the stasis better. But again I've just started researching.

I think it would be useful for you to research Mitochondrial Eve, who is the most recent matrilineal ancestor of all modern humans. Some things to consider: Why wasn't Mitochondrial Eve the only woman ? Why might the individual who is Mitochondrial Eve change overtime, even though the definition remains the same? There's probably some other good questions to learn the answers to, but this is a good start. The answers should help you understand the significance and meaning of last universal common ancestor.

There is no debate between Punctuated Equilibrium vs. Natural "slow" Selection. Gould's Punctuated Equilibrium is in contrast with phyletic gradualism, both of which rely on the same mechanisms of evolution - including natural selection. Gould proposes that speciation is driven by natural selection acting on significant environmental changes on smaller groups (e.g. allopatric speciation) - rather than gradual change of the whole group; he claims that change in large populations is stabilised by the homogenizing effect of gene flow.
dylancatlow
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6/16/2015 8:08:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 11:40:35 AM, Envisage wrote:
1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor.

This is false. The fact that all species that have ever existed are related does not follow that there is a single common ancestor. C.f. horizontal gene transfer for example.


If all organisms are related to each other, then all organisms are related to the very first organism to exist, in which case they are all descendants of that first organism, in which case they all share a common ancestor. How does that not follow?
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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6/17/2015 3:16:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections,

1. Evolutionists say...

Using the word "evolutionists" itself is a sort of objection. It often surprises me how some people use it. Would you use the word "gravitationalist" if you have questions about gravity and wanted to talk to someone who believes gravity exists?
v3nesl
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6/17/2015 9:02:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/17/2015 3:16:30 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections,

1. Evolutionists say...

Using the word "evolutionists" itself is a sort of objection. It often surprises me how some people use it. Would you use the word "gravitationalist" if you have questions about gravity and wanted to talk to someone who believes gravity exists?

If you have questions about gravity, you can drop something. Gravity is reproduce-able, and thus subject to the scientific method. The evidence is readily available to us all, and thus doesn't require some high priesthood of gravity to keep belief in gravity alive.

Evolution, by contrast, has never been observed nor demonstrated, only inferred. That is why it requires a special class of people who are expert in shaming and intimidation to keep the faith alive.
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DanneJeRusse
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6/17/2015 9:36:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/17/2015 9:02:41 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 6/17/2015 3:16:30 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections,

1. Evolutionists say...

Using the word "evolutionists" itself is a sort of objection. It often surprises me how some people use it. Would you use the word "gravitationalist" if you have questions about gravity and wanted to talk to someone who believes gravity exists?

If you have questions about gravity, you can drop something. Gravity is reproduce-able, and thus subject to the scientific method. The evidence is readily available to us all, and thus doesn't require some high priesthood of gravity to keep belief in gravity alive.

Evolution, by contrast, has never been observed nor demonstrated, only inferred. That is why it requires a special class of people who are expert in shaming and intimidation to keep the faith alive.

It really is sad that ignorant believers are so dishonest, they are compelled to fabricate lies to defend the very philosophy that causes so much damage to their minds.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
Otokage
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6/17/2015 3:28:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/14/2015 10:46:53 AM, Ajabi wrote:
These are not objections, but seeing as how I'm reading Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth" I was bound to come up with questions. If anyone can address them, I'd be very happy. These are not all the questions, only the immediate questions from the first two chapters which come to mind.

1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor. This ancestor would be some sing-celled life organism living about 4.54 billion (+/- 300 million) years ago.

Actualy, as far as I know, the oldest biogenic carbon that we have found dates from ~3'8 billion years ago, not 4,5.

So someone would essentially have had to create that first organism, no?

The fact that we can not "create" life, would be a good answer to that question. Life can not be "created" as far as we know. There's a lot of things nature can do, but humanity can not.

Right now, no matter how we humans arrange carbon and other elements, perfectly even replicating the chemical nature of living substances we cannot cause them to become alive and replicate. Why?

I believe our inhability to create life borns from a missunderstanding of how life was in the first place. We actualy know nothing about how the first "living thing" was, so maybe aiming to create a "first cell" is not even a good way to start. So to your question of "why" I would answer: ignorance. We simply don't know how to create it or even what do we have to create.

2. Genes do not decide "consciousness" and neuroscience cannot determine why consciousness arose in humans. Yes, the pre-frontal cortex is an important tool, but a neural network does not create reason or consciousness. In this humans are distinct from all other animals, so if evolution led to humans, when did consciousness appear, why?

I believe this particular question is simply a misunderstanding of yours. Neural networks create consciousness, this can be evidenced by damaging those neural networks and seeing how consciousness disappears. This is often called "reverse neurology", and it means messing with unknown neural elements and analyzing the consequences in order to know what they do.

As for humans being diferent from any other animal, I believe this is also a misunderstanding of yours. There's no qualitative difference between humans and most mammals, let alone primates, there's only quantitative differences.

3. A comparison between natural and artificial selection is often made. As far as I know artificial selection does lead to physiological differences, but there are very few to none neural differences. (The "evolved" labradoodle has the same fMRI scans of its less evolved Labrador or Poodle). Even if you go back to the wolves from which all dogs have said to have mutated, one notices a striking similarity in neural networks.
Seeing how artificial selection is just a speeding up of natural selection, and physiological changes can occur, why is it that in the centuries of artificial selection no important neural changes have occurred?

It is true that brains, not only on dogs and humans, but everywhere in nature, are very plastic tools. From all organs that nature has created, brains are no doubt the ones with a bigger relation with the environment, the ones responding to environment more quickly, the ones adapting faster and more efficiently, etc. This doesn't mean brain differences between individuals are only a result of environmental influences. It would be nice if it were like that, but it is not. Some people do have a genetic advantage over others in terms of mind hability, in the exact same way they can also have an advantage on any other trait. As for the dog example, I don't know about neural patterns, although being dog races so closely related, why should we expect very different neural patterns? Also, as I've said, the brain is a very plastic tool, so probably it is not something that evolves fast. In fact, it is precisely the brain what have stopped/heavily slowered humans' evolution, as the main function of the brain is to make us survive, which means skipping natural selection as much as we can.

But going back the dog example, it seems to me that you have never had a poodle do you? Shame, your poodle would prove you wrong in less than a week :) I have been fortunate enough to, from the 7 dogs I've had in my life, to have one of them as a poodle. There's simply no possible comparison between her and the rest of my dogs in terms of intelligence.

4. Why aren't there fossils detailing the transition of species from one to the other? I mean you should have fossils showing the transition of the poodle to the leopard, and displaying their common ancestry. With all the excavations, why have we not found fossils detailing the transitions? Also as my earlier question asks, is transition from a neural point possible?

Transition of one species to another, or rather, from one state to another (species is not really a useful term talking about the fossil record) is called "phylogenetic series". Here is one that shows us a transition from the horse's ancestor, to what we call "horse" today. https://upload.wikimedia.org...

Of course phylogenetic series are very difficult to find, as they require a good amount of specimens of the same "lineage" to fossilice, and fossilization is simply a very uncommon process.

These thoughts make me doubt the mutability of species from one to another in cases of extreme transition.
I can believe that all mammals might have had a common ancestor (except humans) or that cats and dogs share a common ancestry, but seeing how humans possess reason and consciousness, I cannot see how mutability leads to that. I also have doubts regarding neural evolution, but I do accept to a large degree, physiological evolution.

Then you need to ask yourself exactly what makes evolution stop at certain points. Why would you believe evolution can turn dogs into cats, but not ie fish into reptiles?

As for reason and consciousness, that's not a humans' exclusive trait, so I don't know why anyone would think we are unrelated to other animals. For starters, we have other extinct hominids that are known to build, paint or make tools.
Envisage
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6/18/2015 4:10:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 8:08:34 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 6/14/2015 11:40:35 AM, Envisage wrote:
1. Evolutionists say life could have developed from random, however if all species are linked, and going back share common ancestors, one can assume that there is a point in time where all living creatures share one ancestor.

This is false. The fact that all species that have ever existed are related does not follow that there is a single common ancestor. C.f. horizontal gene transfer for example.


If all organisms are related to each other, then all organisms are related to the very first organism to exist, in which case they are all descendants of that first organism, in which case they all share a common ancestor. How does that not follow?

It does follow... since you are presupposing a UCA in your point. But as I said - horizontal gene transfer (which does not necessarily occur via. breeding) is one such mechanism which renders that hypothesis unsound.
Floid
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6/18/2015 7:50:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/17/2015 9:02:41 AM, v3nesl wrote:
Evolution, by contrast, has never been observed nor demonstrated, only inferred. That is why it requires a special class of people who are expert in shaming and intimidation to keep the faith alive.

What about Lenski's long-term evolution experiment?
v3nesl
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6/18/2015 7:59:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/18/2015 7:50:10 AM, Floid wrote:
At 6/17/2015 9:02:41 AM, v3nesl wrote:
Evolution, by contrast, has never been observed nor demonstrated, only inferred. That is why it requires a special class of people who are expert in shaming and intimidation to keep the faith alive.

What about Lenski's long-term evolution experiment?

There was no Darwinian evolution there, no "origin of species". The bacteria remain bacteria, even after 10s of thousands of generations. Seems to me he demonstrated that evolution does NOT happen, only statistically bounded variation. Sure, he found some interesting outlier data points, but no progressive accumulation of small changes to produce anything new.

And the more we understand about the information (or information-like, if you prefer) properties of DNA, the more we understand why Lenski demonstrated that Darwinian evolution does not occur. You shuffle a deck of cards enough times, you'll see some crazy patterns occasionally. But you'll always have a deck of cards; there is no mechanism for generating a 13 of clubs or a 9 of roses.
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DanneJeRusse
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6/18/2015 9:24:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/18/2015 7:59:51 AM, v3nesl wrote:
You shuffle a deck of cards enough times, you'll see some crazy patterns occasionally. But you'll always have a deck of cards; there is no mechanism for generating a 13 of clubs or a 9 of roses.

LOL. Evolution is not a deck of cards. And, coming up with absurd, irrelevant analogies does not in any way scrutinize, critique or refute in any way the theory of evolution. You would actually have to spend the time learning about it, first, before attempting to refute it, whereupon, you would be actually attacking the theory rather than attacking a deck of cards.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
v3nesl
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6/18/2015 10:38:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/18/2015 9:24:33 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 6/18/2015 7:59:51 AM, v3nesl wrote:
You shuffle a deck of cards enough times, you'll see some crazy patterns occasionally. But you'll always have a deck of cards; there is no mechanism for generating a 13 of clubs or a 9 of roses.

LOL. Evolution is not a deck of cards.

Do you have ANY idea how DNA works, lol? Why are you debating evolution anyway, when you clearly don't want to think about it?
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DanneJeRusse
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6/18/2015 10:45:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/18/2015 10:38:42 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 6/18/2015 9:24:33 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 6/18/2015 7:59:51 AM, v3nesl wrote:
You shuffle a deck of cards enough times, you'll see some crazy patterns occasionally. But you'll always have a deck of cards; there is no mechanism for generating a 13 of clubs or a 9 of roses.

LOL. Evolution is not a deck of cards.

Do you have ANY idea how DNA works, lol? Why are you debating evolution anyway, when you clearly don't want to think about it?

LOL. If I wasn't thinking about it, then I wouldn't be able to recognize and acknowledge your irrelevant analogies and the fact you have no idea what you're talking about.

That's the thing about topics and subject matter, when someone understands something, they can easily see right through the nonsense of those who don't.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth