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Author Topic:   Behold the Homind
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 16 of 73 (249048)
10-05-2005 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 8:53 AM


Then let me quote what I felt is the key sentence in my post:

And we may never know the answer to that. If we suppose that natural selection is the main driving force of evolution, then all we can say is that a population of our pre-Australopithecine ancestors were in an environment that larger brains and more intelligent gave the individuals with those traits an advantage over the others.

Have you ever played pachinko? What does one ball take on path from top to bottom, and another ball take quite a different path? Both paths are completely determined by Newton's Laws of motion, and yet you will have a difficult time explaining exactly, in detail, why one ball "choose" to go in one path and another ball "choose" to go in another.

In any evolutionary lineage, the exact "path" that lineage takes will depend on the exact environment in which the population lives (and that alone is a lot of variables!), the physical anatomy of the species (which may preclude some traits from being advantageous), the niche in which the species lives, and which mutations actually occur at which times. That is a lot of variables; it really shouldn't be a surprise that different populations of a species will travel down different evolutionary paths.

As far as your example of a "leaf insect", Thor correctly points out that your question assumes too much teleology. There was a population of a certain species of insect. In that population, some inidividuals that looked a little more leaf-like were able to leave more offspring than individuals that looked less leaf-like. After many generations, you have a species of insect that looks a lot like a leaf.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 17 of 73 (249051)
10-05-2005 9:19 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:13 AM


quote:
Zinjanthropus boisei

Boy, that is an ancient term that is no longer used! Where are you getting your information? If your sources are this out of date, no longer you are confused!


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 9:13 AM ausar_maat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 9:26 AM Chiroptera has responded

  
ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 18 of 73 (249054)
10-05-2005 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:13 AM


quote:
I'll try, at least how I see it. Humans don't really have much else going for them. We are relatively slow, weak, have no real natural defences like claws or razor sharp teeth, we can't see very well in the dark, our sense of smell is nowhere near as acute as many animals, and to top all that off, we lost a lot of our trees that were our home for so long!

you're absolutely right, however, that's my bug with this whole issue. Why would nature remove these advantages from us : sharper teeth, (much) hairier bodies, tails, better sight and hearing, stronger bodies, etc, at the expense of a "higher intelignce"? We could always say, well..it just does..but then again, science is about inquiring. I don't see the need to trade these advantages for an intelligence form that would allow us to build the tools and synthetic means of producing what nature was capable of providing us naturally. In that sense, from the Sahelanthropus tchadensis to the present day H. Sapien...it seems as though we devolved and our ape "cousins" like the gorillas evolved. Is there a specific principle in the NS paradigm through which I could find an answer to these questions?

thank you


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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 19 of 73 (249055)
10-05-2005 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Chiroptera
10-05-2005 9:19 AM


quote:
Boy, that is an ancient term that is no longer used! Where are you getting your information? If your sources are this out of date, no longer you are confused!

which is why I'm here,

maybe I can get help?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Chiroptera, posted 10-05-2005 9:38 AM ausar_maat has responded

  
Yaro
Member (Idle past 4883 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 20 of 73 (249057)
10-05-2005 9:29 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:13 AM


Hey AM,

It's not necisseraly the brain size but the brain to body mass ratio which is considered a mark of intelligence. In any case a creature like Zinjanthropus boisei, now called Australopithecus, would be much too chimp like to pass off as a human. If you saw him today, you'd think it was just a chimp. The major innovation of this species is upright posture.

Now, if we got a critter like Neanderthals, we may pass him off as an east European wrestler ;) And there is nothing to indicate they were particularly dumber than we were.

And more importantly, what NS process, through isolation or other relevant factors would warrant this "advantage". I'm also unclear on how an "advantage" is not a need, or how an insect simulating the shape of a leaf is an "accidental" mutation but yet, bestows a specific natural "advantage" to it's recipient.

I'm assuming you mean intelligence. Essentially, monkeys/apes in general, are pretty resourceful creatures. Let me give you a rundown of traits and maybe you can get a clearer picture.

The primates have hands. These were originally tools to grasp branches (which selected for longer arms which extend away from the body). A side effect of this, is that better grasping means developing something of a thumb. This, as a consequence, leads to the creation of a general purpose manipulation device.

All that swinging from the trees required lots of depth perception which selected for eyes in the front of the head. To process all that spatial movement, and run those complicated hands, the frontal lobes began to grow larger.

Now we get a creature like a chimp, smart, tree dwelling, social(gotta do something with that left over brain power ;) ).

Now, take away all his trees. A chimp is pretty smart, they can learn from each other, they ain't just gonna roll over and die. They stick it out, and as a consequence the most resourceful chimps live longer, extend that over millenia and you have only resourceful chimps getting selected for.

Now we get back to upright posture. Those arms aren't grabbing branches anymore, they are now interaction tools. Combined with our binocular vision, and large frontal lobes, those arms essentially turned us into thinking complex beings capable of all manner of technology. Our arms separated us from the world, provided a layer of abstraction, from which a consciousness could detatch itself from it's environment and begin to reason it.

And so on and so fourth.

Does that paint a clearer picture, or does it muddy the watter all the more?

This message has been edited by Yaro, 10-05-2005 09:38 AM


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 21 of 73 (249059)
10-05-2005 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:26 AM


Well then, why don't you go to a library and check out a more recent book on evolution? There are a lot to choose from. I bet people here have their favorites. My favorites are the earlier collections of essays by Stephen Jay Gould (like The Panda's Thumb).

Are you still in high school? Or college? Take a biology class. That might be informative, too.

But your knowledge of evolution is out-dated material that still calls the Australopithecines by the name Zinjanthropus, then I'm not sure that a few posts on a message board will be very enlightening.

Another good source is Talk Origins. They have a few basic pages and FAQs that might be enlightening as well.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 9:26 AM ausar_maat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 9:46 AM Chiroptera has not yet responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 22 of 73 (249063)
10-05-2005 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Yaro
10-05-2005 9:12 AM


Heh. That would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

Thanks for the compliment.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Yaro, posted 10-05-2005 9:12 AM Yaro has not yet responded

  
ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 23 of 73 (249064)
10-05-2005 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Chiroptera
10-05-2005 9:38 AM


in all truth, I'm aware of the term Australopithecines. I didn't think it was a big deal to use the former though. Since it's only a technicality.

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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 24 of 73 (249065)
10-05-2005 9:49 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:46 AM


quote:
Now we get back to upright posture. Those arms aren't grabbing branches anymore, they are now interaction tools. Combined with our binocular vision, and large frontal lobes, those arms essentially turned us into thinking complex beings capable of all manner of technology. Our arms separated us from the world, provided a layer of abstraction, from which a consciousness could detatch itself from it's environment and begin to reason it.

This is beginning to shape up..thanx


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Replies to this message:
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Yaro
Member (Idle past 4883 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 25 of 73 (249070)
10-05-2005 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 9:49 AM


This is beginning to shape up..thanx

Glad to hear it! Another point I alluded to, but didn't quite get accross, is the importance of context when it comes to NS.

Creatures are surviving with what they have, not necisseraly what they need. Where as the savannah ape probably would have been a better surviver had he been shaped like a lion or cheetah, he only had ape parts to work with. So in the context of apedom, NS sellected for those things which would allow an ape-like creature to survive.

There is no overiding natural law that says "Intelligence is ALLWAYS advantageous", it just so happens that apes don't got much going for them except for their large brains and neat hands. So NS capitalized on them and developed one of many solutions to the problem of survival.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 9:49 AM ausar_maat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 10:31 AM Yaro has responded

  
ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 26 of 73 (249072)
10-05-2005 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by Yaro
10-05-2005 10:07 AM


that is clearer yes,

but in reference to the following,

quote:

Creatures are surviving with what they have, not necisseraly what they need. Where as the savannah ape probably would have been a better surviver had he been shaped like a lion or cheetah, he only had ape parts to work with. So in the context of apedom, NS sellected for those things which would allow an ape-like creature to survive.

It brings me back to the question of "advantage" in correlation to "survival" in the context of NS.

you mentionned that:

quote:
There is no overiding natural law that says "Intelligence is ALLWAYS advantageous", it just so happens that apes don't got much going for them except for their large brains and neat hands. So NS capitalized on them and developed one of many solutions to the problem of survival.

So a "solution" to a "survival" problem isn't always an "advantage", if I take your meaning correctly? If not, please elaborate. If so, please elaborate.

thanx


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Yaro, posted 10-05-2005 10:07 AM Yaro has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Yaro, posted 10-05-2005 10:59 AM ausar_maat has responded

  
Yaro
Member (Idle past 4883 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 27 of 73 (249090)
10-05-2005 10:59 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 10:31 AM


So a "solution" to a "survival" problem isn't always an "advantage", if I take your meaning correctly? If not, please elaborate. If so, please elaborate.

That's not exactly what I meant. I just meant that no particular "advantage" is allways an advantage :)

For example, fins and gills aren't very good in a desert, but they work wonders in the ocean. Or, heavy fur is probably not too good for a rain forest, but for icy tundra it's a good thing.

The term "advantage" is subjective. It's wholey dependant on what the survival needs of the creature are in the given environment.

With that said, any given "advantage" may turn into a disadvantage as environmental pressures change.

In other words, Should things shift and start selecting for dumber humans with smaller brains, that's what would have to happen in order to ensure our survival.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 10:31 AM ausar_maat has responded

Replies to this message:
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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 28 of 73 (249096)
10-05-2005 11:30 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Yaro
10-05-2005 10:59 AM


thanx

how can I find out more about the biochemical origins of "survival" in living organism, as a purely scientific process though. Because, at this point, the information I have read leads me to view "survival" as a philosophical concept, more then as a biochemical principal inherent to the eukaryota's evolutionary stages. It seems the "need" (another loose canon)to "survive" in organisms, which is the primary if not only "cause" of evolution, has an unclear cause itself. I would need source material on those very specific areas: "survival" and is there a need for it. If so, what warrants the "need"?

btw, I enjoy your explanations, they are very productive and constructive..thanks again

This message has been edited by ausar_maat, 10-05-2005 11:31 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Yaro, posted 10-05-2005 10:59 AM Yaro has responded

Replies to this message:
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Yaro
Member (Idle past 4883 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 29 of 73 (249099)
10-05-2005 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 11:30 AM


how can I find out more about the biochemical origins of "survival" in living organism, as a purely scientific process though. Because, at this point, the information I have read leads me to view "survival" as a philosophical concept, more then as a biochemical principal inherent to the eukaryota's evolutionary stages. It seems the "need" (another loose canon)to "survive" in organisms, which is the primary if not only "cause" of evolution, has an unclear cause itself. I would need source material on those very specific areas: "survival" and is there a need for it. If so, what warrants the "need".

Hmmm... one book that comes to mind is 'Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution' by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan. It's an excelent book that explores evolution and the drive for survival starting with the simplest organisms on up. Though the book deals mostly with Microbial Evolution I found it to be an excelent primer on evolution in general.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 11:30 AM ausar_maat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by ausar_maat, posted 10-05-2005 12:39 PM Yaro has responded

  
ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3886 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 30 of 73 (249106)
10-05-2005 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Yaro
10-05-2005 11:54 AM


thanx

I will check it out. But from that reading, did you find the notion of survival was explained based on a specific biochemical factor, or was is more on a the basis of interpretating the phenomena of said "survival"?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Yaro, posted 10-05-2005 11:54 AM Yaro has responded

Replies to this message:
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