quote:Originally posted by Andya Primanda: OK, I want to make the debate straight. My opposition states that progress can be defined in neural complexity and stages of consciousness. He considers that his definition is the position of many scientists.
I'm new to this forum, although I used to participate in Percy's old yahoo! club...
The "position of many scientists" is just hand waving unless he names some. And since you can't get two scientists to agree on what the hell "consciousness" means, this guy really can't argue for any sort of consensus based on "stages of consciousness".
There's actually no particular expertise needed to answer this. There's plenty of evidence that evolution can result in lower neural complexity as well as higher. If a free swimming/moving organism evolves into a filter feeder, say (e.g., the sea squirt), or a parasite (e.g. tapeworm), you don't need a complex brain. The sea squirt is famous for eating its own brain, in fact - after passing through a brief free swimming developmental phase, it takes root in a nice spot, and absorbs its own brain - won't be needing that anymore! (This has been compared to the tenure process, by the way).
The fact that things are more complex, "on average", now than at the beginning of life can be fully explained assuming a random walk of increasing or descreasing complexity. Since you start at zero, you can only end up higher.
Imagine every new species is equally likely to be either more or less "complex" or "conscious" than its parent species. No direction here, right? Just random. Still, the highest "complexity" or "conscious" organism will tend to be more complex over time, even though there is no direction or systematic change. Indeed, the vast majority of life is and always has been bacterial, hardly a sign of an inherent drive towards greater "consciousness"!
So, if you want to argue that evolution is fundamentally progressive, you have to do more than say "look, humans have big brains, trilobites didn't".
Now, I think it's possible that there might be a statistical bias towards complexity along some measures. But even this wouldn't show a "great chain of being". What philosophical conclusions would one draw from a statistical walk through a continuum of complexity?
WRT your post: in other words, the rebuttal to Andya's opponent's position on intelligence is the same (roughly) as the rebuttal to the old Escala naturae - there's no evidence that nature is required to tend toward increasing perfection or complexity. It can, in fact, go either way. Did I catch it right?
quote:Originally posted by Quetzal: WRT your post: in other words, the rebuttal to Andya's opponent's position on intelligence is the same (roughly) as the rebuttal to the old Escala naturae - there's no evidence that nature is required to tend toward increasing perfection or complexity. It can, in fact, go either way. Did I catch it right?
Yeah, what you said!
And another point: Everything's been evolving for the same amount of time, and 99% of it is bacteria, fungi, plants, and protists. To characterize evolution in terms of "neural complexity" when nearly all life lacks a nervous system seems pretty misguided.
------------------ "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." - Chomsky
Can I pick on Kant as the guy who said we can't ever ever ever know anything about the true nature of existence and about how this is an ad hoc argument to get around all the trouble that Hume fellow was causing at the time?
... we have already picked on Kant anout this, as we peers examine the evidence of a consistent and clear set of individual facts available to us all, as a group, to confirm empirically.
As the Scientific Method has grown to explain so much and produce a model of Reality which man images, we now can disagree with Kant in the specific claim, we can know Reality.
We can not disagree with Kant, however, that we are separated from Reality by the wall of our own senses that connect to us both, Reality and our minds which can merely think about it.
Truth is all we are privy to, but we can be rather certain that Truth corresponds one-to-one with a tangible essence common to us (peers) all.
Everything's been evolving for the same amount of time, and 99% of it is bacteria, fungi, plants, and protists. To characterize evolution in terms of "neural complexity" when nearly all life lacks a nervous system seems pretty misguided.
Everything's been evolving for the same amount of time, and 10% of it is the same initial protoplasm that appeared in some abiogenetic anomaly then experienced growth which fattened it up enough to split into more and more separate pieces.
The nervous system than developed from this growth, development, and maturity of that sole initial appearance of life is still alive, having merely shed worn out parts and rejuvenate itself through mitosis and miosis processes.
What Teilhard saw as Omega Point was the apparent directed evolution which seeks a more complicit relationship with Reality, one which will better guarantee the continued existence of this singular Life on earth by means of intelligent adaptation to the environment of the planet.
In the concept of Gia, man can look at his own appearance as the beginning of an end point to the meaning of Life, i.e.; survival.
you can't get two scientists to agree on what the hell "consciousness" means, this guy really can't argue for any sort of consensus based on "stages of consciousness".
That this is the case, simply means we are assured that our own understanding of Consciousness can not be scientifically disputed, hence is at least as good as those we are absent of or already debating about.
I suggest that you will all agree that Consciousness is the now exaggerated State-of-Mind previously a very short, almost instantaneous pause before an organism underwent a Reaction to Fear.
The very purpose of such a pause, even an extremely short pause initially, was for the purpose of evaluating the Reality which had suddenly unfolded. The only difference in man is that the pause has become 24/7, and rightly so, as the Fears increased with the increasing knowledge about that Reality which eternally befalls him.
Reality is the lord over all life and death.
. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge:
Re: ..".all life" is really one living protoplasm...
This all sounds rather pantheistic to me, but since we are in a science forum, i wont comment further.
You are wise to fear the moderators wrath, but first had you been smelling religion creeping, in the term pan-en-theism would better apply.
But fear not, because the idea of all life being one is actually the science proposal called Gaia:
The hypothesis was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in disciplines such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science. In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.
There is an interesting new hypothesis about the formation of the earth, that can explain the origin of terrestrial water and early life based upon a new theory of planet formation including a new geological explanation for the origin of the moon, the early continents, oceans and paleoclimate. The importance of silizium and water in early formation processes is part of this work. It shows that the evolution of life began much earlier than previously thought. There was an early stage of the planet called Adam Kadmon in hebrew language. Adam = earth, Kadmon = primordial.
You can find the article as free PDF with Google:
"Evolution and Geological Planet Formation - Home"
Some anti-virus software products give general warning when a file from the upload-area is opened. But there is definitely no virus on these files. You can open the page, click on the link to the PDF in the upload-area and read the article. I guarantee this is safe because the uploads come from my own PC. Everything is clean here.
You will find most interesting new ideas and discoveries.