On evolution

Fortunate_Son
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On evolution

(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom? 

(2) What is the essence of "human"? 

(3) What kind of changes would I have to make to myself in order to be classified as a non-human?

(4) Why did we evolve to have evil in the world?  Why did we evolve to have so much corruption?

(5) What causes evolution?

(6) If I have one stone by my foot and continually add more stones one-by-one, at what point does it become a pile?  After 2 stones?  3 stones?

(7) If science is based on observation, testability, and repeatability, how can macro evolution be classified as science since nobody has ever observed it happening nor tested it?

(Cool Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

(9) Are there possible worlds where evolution could be false?

(10) Is there any proof for evolution other than similarities between different species?

 


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1] I disagree with your

1] I disagree with your premise. Most creatures are rational.
2] Define essence in this context.
3] You are incapable of being anything but human.
4] There is no such thing as evil. Corruption is simply selfishness unbound. All creatures are selfish.
5] That one is too complicated for me to get into right now. Either someone else will take it or I'll deal with it later.
6] Pile: a collection of objects laid on top of each other.
Apparently enough that they can be stacked.
7] It has been observed and tested. "macro" is just a collection of "micro".
8] No, and maybe, depending on what you refer to. I'll let another take this one anyway, as others can explain it better.
9] No.
10] Proof for evolution is in multiple scientific fields. Paleontology was merely one of the first. Microbiology, chemistry, and genetics are examples of fields where evolution has been proven.

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...

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom? 

(2) What is the essence of "human"? 

(3) What kind of changes would I have to make to myself in order to be classified as a non-human?

(4) Why did we evolve to have evil in the world?  Why did we evolve to have so much corruption?

(5) What causes evolution?

(6) If I have one stone by my foot and continually add more stones one-by-one, at what point does it become a pile?  After 2 stones?  3 stones?

(7) If science is based on observation, testability, and repeatability, how can macro evolution be classified as science since nobody has ever observed it happening nor tested it?

(Cool Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

(9) Are there possible worlds where evolution could be false?

(10) Is there any proof for evolution other than similarities between different species?

 

 

1)  Non-human animals have less developed brains than humans.  Among humans, it's possible that practical realism might be more adaptive than factual realism.  People who have certain delusions might be better adapted to get more power, money, sex, etc. 

2)  Humans don't have an "essence."  Humans can be defined biologically.

3)  Ask a biologist.

4)  Evil is adaptive.  People who are evil can get what they want from the weak.  This will backfire on the evil person if they don't balance their evil with good, because unfortunately for the evil person, people catch on pretty quick.  Evil people usually end up banished, beaten, imprisoned, or murdered.  There is a point when evil becomes disadvantageous, and that is when there is so much evil in a society that the evil people eventually destroy each other.  People who work in groups are more powerful than individuals, and that is why good is more common than evil. 

5)  Limited resources, a growing population, and limited space.  Organisms will compete for the resources, and some will get them and others won't.  The traits that allow the organisms to get the resources come from genes, and those genes will be passed along to the offspring, provided one of the resources obtained was sex.  The limited resources and growing population causes a competitive environment and a predator vs. prey dynamic.  Also, don't forget that random gene mutation causes variation.

6)  Four stones, but you have to put the fourth stone on top of the other three so it makes a little cone.

7)  Macroevolution has been observed in the lab and in nature -- another word for this is speciation.

8)  I don't know of any evidence that the laws of nature have changed or could change, but I'm not worried.  The laws have such regularity that I have no reason to think that they will change.

9)  In a world which was designed by an all-powerful, all-knowing being, evolution could be false if the being eliminated gene mutations, the possibility of interspecies breeding, or reproduction altogether. 

10)  Yes.  Evidence of evolution lies in the fact that copying errors take place in genes and that organisms that have certain traits get what they need to survive and reproduce.


Marquis
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Fortunate_Son wrote:(5) What

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(5) What causes evolution?

 

 

With this, I anoint thee. You may hereafter call yourself The One True King of Silly Questions.

 

As for evolution, my best guess is that some not yet properly defined natural force is causing "self replicating patterns" to organise in ever increasing hierarchies of complexity. "Life" as we know it is but a slice of the pie. A narrow fraction of an infinite band of possibilties.

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Fortunate_Son wrote:(1)

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom?

Arbitrary statement. Is rationality the greatest tool for the survival of any species? Like every other attribute that a species can possess that depends on environment and ecological niche within that environment.

In any case, rationality is fairly well distributed. One simple way of illustrating that point is that we can model the behaviour of most species quite accurately on a computer, so it must obey mathematical rules. 

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(2) What is the essence of "human"? 

See the definition of the word Species and the Human Genome.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(3) What kind of changes would I have to make to myself in order to be classified as a non-human?

Nonsensical question. If you began making the neccesary changes you would cease to be yourself long before you ceased to be human.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(4) Why did we evolve to have evil in the world?  Why did we evolve to have so much corruption?

Both are manmade constructs. Evolution has nothing to do with their existence.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(5) What causes evolution?

Chemistry.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(6) If I have one stone by my foot and continually add more stones one-by-one, at what point does it become a pile?  After 2 stones?  3 stones?

The Sorites Paradox, only with stones instead of sand. People have been studying that for two and a half millenia. Wikipedia gives quite a good introduction. Why is that relevant?

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(7) If science is based on observation, testability, and repeatability, how can macro evolution be classified as science since nobody has ever observed it happening nor tested it?

Has been observed, look up the London Tube Mosquitos for just one example. There is also plenty of evidence in the fossil record. Also, distinguishing between macroevolution and microevolution is a false dichotomy.

Fortunate_son wrote:

(Cool Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

'Does nature evolve?' is nonsensical. The laws of nature do not evolve - what would there be for them to compete with or for? If you meant to ask, do the laws of nature change the answer is no, at least not measurably in the last four billion years.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(9) Are there possible worlds where evolution could be false?

Sure, if they were lifeless.

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(10) Is there any proof for evolution other than similarities between different species? 

Fossil record, observed speciation, observed evolution of behaviour and physical characteristics within species, endogenous retroviruses, biochemical similarities between certain species, chromosome configuration within various clades, mitochondria...

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Hambydammit
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 Quote:(1) Rationality is

 

Quote:
(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom?

I think you're confused.  Creatures who behave irrationally tend to die untimely deaths.  Most creatures' behavior is quite rational.  They're just not capable of second-order thought, so they don't know they're being rational.

Quote:
(2) What is the essence of "human"?

There isn't any.  The term "species" is virtually meaningless in modern biology.  Here's a blog post that may help you understand a little better:

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/a-fertilized-egg-is-not-a-human-being/

Pay special attention to the part about ring species and gulls.  Actually... go read that article now, before you continue.  I'll give you a minute.

(Hums Jeopardy Tune)

Ok.  Now, you understand that humans have been isolated by death.  That is, we are not part of a ring species, but there is no real biological separation between us and the myriad of organisms that would be part of a ring species had they only survived.

Quote:
(3) What kind of changes would I have to make to myself in order to be classified as a non-human?

There is no technology I know of that would allow such a change at this time.

Quote:
(4) Why did we evolve to have evil in the world?  Why did we evolve to have so much corruption?

Evil is a value judgment.  Value exists because intention exists.  Here's a book you can read that will explain the concept of evil and evolution to you in much greater detail:

The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History

Quote:
(5) What causes evolution?

The existence of replicators, the existence of time, and changing environments.

Quote:
(6) If I have one stone by my foot and continually add more stones one-by-one, at what point does it become a pile?  After 2 stones?  3 stones?

I dunno.  Depends on your definition of a pile.

Quote:
(7) If science is based on observation, testability, and repeatability, how can macro evolution be classified as science since nobody has ever observed it happening nor tested it?

It's been observed and tested.

Quote:
 (Cool Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

No.  Nature does not evolve.

Quote:
(9) Are there possible worlds where evolution could be false?

Do you mean worlds in which life exists but does not evolve?  We can't say that it's impossible, so I suppose it's possible, but nobody's ever come up with even a working hypothesis for how this could happen.   The thing is, for such a thing to be possible, we'd have to be horribly wrong about a great many things.

Quote:
(10) Is there any proof for evolution other than similarities between different species?

Mountains of it.  So much that you could spend your entire lifetime reading it, and you wouldn't even dent the first mountain.  The Theory of Evolution is at least as scientifically solid as the Theory of Gravitation.

 

 

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agreeing with all the other

agreeing with all the other answers, here is my two cents:

Quote:
(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom?

Is it the greatest tool for survival? I would venture to say that our reptile instincts are the greatest tool for survival. Or maybe it's the ability to reproduce, which is why we are here to begin with.

Quote:
(2) What is the essence of "human"?

Too broad of a question. Perhaps the ability of higher order thought. But theoretically, this could be achieved in another arbitrary species and furthermore we do not know if other mammals are not capable of higher order thought--we cannot ask them.

Quote:
(3) What kind of changes would I have to make to myself in order to be classified as a non-human?

um, strange question. You would have to become another species.]

Quote:
(4) Why did we evolve to have evil in the world?  Why did we evolve to have so much corruption?

Evil is a by-product of other processes that assisted us in survival, such as selfishness and xenophobia. Survival itself creates a propensity to dominate others, which leads to corruption and evil. Someone suggested The Lucifer Principle. Read it.

Quote:
(5) What causes evolution?

Life.

Quote:
(6) If I have one stone by my foot and continually add more stones one-by-one, at what point does it become a pile?  After 2 stones?  3 stones?

A pile suggests plurality, so I say 2. What is the point of this question?

Quote:
(7) If science is based on observation, testability, and repeatability, how can macro evolution be classified as science since nobody has ever observed it happening nor tested it?

Fossil record. It has been tested as well. And observed. There are fish living deep in the ocean that have not evolved for hundreds of millions of years. Also, the rapidly growing field of genetics gives a rich treasure-trove of evidence. Read some Richard Dawkins. In fact, read The Origin of Species

Quote:
( 8 ) Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

Nature does not evolve, how could it? If the laws of nature mutated and changed, then we would not be able to make any of the observations we have made, and likely we would not exist.

Quote:
(9) Are there possible worlds where evolution could be false?

The key word here is possible. Of course it could be possible, but highly speculative to the point of fiction. It would require life unlike anything we know, and possible a whole different set of natural laws--not our universe.

Quote:
(10) Is there any proof for evolution other than similarities between different species?

Okay, this is just a really silly question. Do some research.


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Fortunate_Son, your logic <

fail owned pwned pictures

 

For any regulars bewildered/annoyed by my constantly posting EPIC_FAIL pics, I

do this when the question doesn't warrant expending the energy. Like now.

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


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Fortunate_Son wrote:(2) What

Fortunate_Son wrote:
(2) What is the essence of "human"?

Is it just me, or is "essence" a remnant of platonic philosophy that needs to be flushed down the toilet of philosophy with all other outdated concepts?


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Abu Lahab

Abu Lahab wrote:

Fortunate_Son, your logic <

fail owned pwned pictures

 

For any regulars bewildered/annoyed by my constantly posting EPIC_FAIL pics, I

do this when the question doesn't warrant expending the energy. Like now.

Dude, can you do a Sunday School version of this:

"Theological creation theory test"

Question 1: "How was the universe created"

Answer: "God did it".

Teacher puts a gold star on the test, puts in the comment section, "And you showed your work too".

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Marquis
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KSMB wrote:Fortunate_Son

KSMB wrote:

Fortunate_Son wrote:
(2) What is the essence of "human"?

is "essence" a remnant of platonic philosophy that needs to be flushed down the toilet

 

Not necessarily. It is sometimes a vague concept which attempts to describe the "core" of a hierarchy of "emergent energies" (in the biological context) that in sum total constitutes the entity "man". Unless you want to define the human being as a "thing" - which is truly an outdated concept - we have to study her as a process that begins in conception and ends in death and decomposition. In this context, "essence" means the subjective principle, the feeling of being alive and separated from the world at large.

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 Quote:Not necessarily. It

 

Quote:
Not necessarily. It is sometimes a vague concept which attempts to describe the "core" of a hierarchy of "emergent energies" (in the biological context) that in sum total constitutes the entity "man". Unless you want to define the human being as a "thing" - which is truly an outdated concept - we have to study her as a process that begins in conception and ends in death and decomposition. In this context, "essence" means the subjective principle, the feeling of being alive and separated from the world at large.

We don't like thinking of it this way, but we are processes, not things.  I am not made up of the same molecules I was made of last week.  The complex algorithm that describes my cognitive processes is different now than it was when I began typing this sentence.  Absent the dynamic motion that is "life," the collection of molecules that currently comprise "me" would not be "me."  Life IS change, and humans are a life form.

Our human hangup with understanding this subtlety is one of evolutionary necessity.  Even though the rival tribe across the river is technically not the same "physical" group of "things" that it was last week, it's damn helpful for me to think of it as such, since part of the process of human life is memory, and all of the strong males remember that I'm here.  I'd do well to function as if they are discreet "things" with "essences."

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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"Essence" is an attempt to

"Essence" is an attempt to capture the feeling that there is some constant core 'thing' that unifies what we perceive as an otherwise non-constant 'entity', such as a particular individual human being, or another living creature, or a cohesive group of people (tribe, nation, ethnicity, etc), and so on. As distinct from, say, a rock or other dead physical object, which does not appear to change perceptibly in our life-time.

It is illusory when it inspires the thinker to ascribe it some quasi-pysical reality in itself, whereas it is really just a label we put on the fact that we can identify a strong thread of continuity or connection through time of what is, in each case, a continually changing assemblage of elements, be they atoms or individuals.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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 Bob, I think this error in

 Bob, I think this error in thinking -- mislabeling a conceptual category as a material "thing" -- is what led to all the nonsense of a human "soul" in the first place.

It has only been in the last eyeblink of human history that we've had the philosophical sophistication to describe and understand our own thinking about conceptual categories.  To early humans, there would have only been two kinds of "things," namely material objects and actions.  This is a rock.  I can throw the rock.  That is Glargax.  Glargax is throwing rocks at me.

Unfortunately, when I threw a rock at Glargax and hit him in the right way, he fell to the ground and stopped being "Glargax."  He looked like Glargax, but he wasn't Glargax.  Furthermore, Glargax and Bloxgar were brothers, and looked exactly alike.  (They were identical twins.)  But Glargax was not Bloxgar.  Everybody could clearly see that Glargax and Bloxgar are different.  But they're the same...

So... logically, there must be something that makes Glargax and Bloxgar unique.

It's not hard to imagine that the concept of an invisible "essence" would be invented.  It's something that leaves the body when we die, such that we're not us anymore.  Also, it's invisible.  Since there are only actions and things, and it doesn't make sense that this "essence" would be an action, it must be a thing.

Viola!  Soul.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 'Scuse me for barging -

 'Scuse me for barging - but, as an aside, I think you need to give early humans a little more credit for discerning between a Glargax and a rock.  

However, I get the jist of your suggestion - that the difference between an animated object and a non-animated object may have prompted a belief in a soul (essence?)  Witnessing the sudden abscence of animation is bound to be cause for.... concern? curiosity?  distress? (divorce!?)

Many early cultures believed animals had "essences" or "souls" as well as humans.  I think the belief that humans only are in possesion of a soul, is a relatively recent mindset. 


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Fortunate_Son wrote:(1)

Fortunate_Son wrote:

(1) Rationality is perhaps the greatest tool for the survival of any species.  Why is it so unevenly proliferated throughout the animal kingdom? 

 

(Cool Does nature evolve?  If so, do laws of nature evolve?  If so, have the laws governing the physical events associated with evolution evolved?

 

 

I think these were all well answered already.  I'd add:

1.  Rationality is relative to the species.  What may seem irrational behavior to a human observer - is probably misunderstood.  If the behavior is frequent, my guess is it's been an integral part of whats kept the species alive.

 

8.  The laws of nature continue to be discovered.  They don't change.  Our ability to comprehend them does.


Hambydammit
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 Quote:I think the belief

 

Quote:
I think the belief that humans only are in possesion of a soul, is a relatively recent mindset.

I don't recall positing that early humans believed only humans had souls.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 You didn't.  I was

 You didn't.  I was rambling.