Excellent dissection of Creationist Conflationary Confusion.
https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/evo-devo refutes evolution
Short version may be summarized:
Deuterostomes have a dorsal central nerve cord whereas Protostomes have a ventral central nerve chord.
Contrary to introductory textbook orthodoxy, this may be the only real distinguishing feature between the two.
It would be interesting to determine which was more ancestral.
P Z Myers nails it again
Excellent dissection of Creationist Conflationary Confusion.
LOL. Do you have a problem recognizing that adder as a tetrapod or do you not?
I *believe* that you want to make the point that certain tetrapods are morphologically more divergent from ancestral tetrapods than extant coelacanths are from their ancestors. Is that correct?
Both are true, only in the former case we are talking about ancestral Sarcopterygians and in the latter we are talking about extant species of lobe-finned fish (lung fish and coelacanths).
You never got the hang of tree-thinking did you? 🙂
Does “evolved” mean the same thing as “unchanged”? Are you using your private vocabulary again?
Which leads me to:
When you sow equivocation, then arguments about the meaning of words is what you will reap.
Life? PZ Myers advocates blind evolution and David Swift advocates an omnipotent engineer.
Two choices: either a short-sighted process driven by chance as a core mechanism, running over millions and billions of years, or an omnipotent engineer. What’s it to be? I say neither.
The following from pharyngula:
I like how he words these remarks. In their development organisms make use of the substances and molecules at their disposal. This is a good start, the whole making use of the parts.
In the review, “Planar cell polarization: do the same mechanisms regulate Drosophila tissue polarity and vertebrate gastrulation? Trends in Genetics”, 18(11), 564–571. doi:10.1016/s0168-9525(02)02770-1, by Marek Mlodzik (2002)., he concludes:
(For those unfamiliar with the abbreviations PCP (planar cell polarity), has to do with the organization of cells in the epithelial plane in drosophila development. And CE (convergent extension) is the migration of cells causing the vertebrate embryo to narrow and elongate.)
Organisms with very different morphologies use very similar mechanisms in their formation. Cell migrations follow polar gradients to reach precise positions. Is this a good time to link to the Bioelectrics thread?
Goethe sums it up nicely in his, Aphorisms on Nature
Goethe’s morphology was all about recognizing the wholeness through study of the parts. Neither an external “engineer” nor blind forces pushing from below, but Nature herself, the whole directing the parts with individuality being the outcome.
TSZ, the house of correction for evolution heretics. Put me down as a consistently failing student who has zero chance of graduating, but who refuses to drop out. 🙂 If only corporal punishment was still an option 🙁 😉
That presupposes “evolution” in a spectacular case of circular reasoning. You certainly do not see proteins diverge, do you?
Nothing more was expected from you. And you don’t disappoint.
And the Coelacanths diagrams you showed have nothing to do with the actual fossil record. They are artistic representations of artistic representations. Plus fossils do not come with arrows, groupings, and flesh.
BTW, the only thing PZ Myers could nail is a 2×4 to his own forehead.
We have explained how evidence works previously. Hypotheses make testable predictions. You are welcome to come up with an alternative explanation that fits the data better. We’ll wait.
Actually we do. I did encourage you to check out the spike protein.
I never disappoint.
If at some point you do expect a little more from me, try making an actual argument. You can start with articulating what it is that you are taking issue with. I genuinely cannot tell whether you dispute that the depiction of coelacanths fossils is not accurate, or that the change they show is not real or that the change is real but only represents “adaptation”. There is very little I can do with denialist ravings.
I’ll say it again, no I don’t have that problem.
How do I know that adders are tetrapods? After all we would be wrong to say it is because, as the name suggests, members of this group have four feet. It’s not immediately obvious to perception that they are tetrapods. I know it only because I have a thinking mind with which I can make use of my memory and make connections between several observations, past and present.
Imagine a group of people with very limited knowledge of biology and had never come across the word tetrapod. If it was explained to them that a tetrapod was a four-legged animal and they were then shown pictures of a variety of animals, I’m sure they would pick out cats and dogs, but how many of them would select snakes as being tetrapods?
Yes. It all started with Flint claiming that by some measure to do with lineages, “humans are far less evolved than most organisms”. I wanted to explore that statement further.
I do know that truth claims are not something that anyone can make regarding lines of descent over such long periods of time.
No, you’ve missed out the all-important adverb. It is generally believed that evolution is accountable for the minutest detail up to the most spectacular changes. Is it not believed that every change fixed in a population, no matter how insignificant, is down to evolution.
I feel like we’ve become embroiled in a ‘real numbers vs measurement’ type of argument in which there is virtually no headway being made. 🙂
Where is the equivocation coming from? You listed some differences between extinct and extant coelacanths in 2021 and I replied here.
This is an excerpt from my reply:
I’ve made it clear that ‘virtually no change’ does not mean ‘no change at all.
I’m arguing that, no matter what mammal you choose to study, it will show a great deal more evolutionary change than the extant coelacanths since their paths diverged in the prehistoric past.
That’s the thing, predictions unique to “evolution” like gradualism and divergence fail spectacularly while those that do not fail like unity of life are not unique to “evolution”.
The only recourse you have is to deny the clear evidence. You cannot be helped with that.
You must have used the wrong link because there’s nothing there supporting you.
That is your problem. You understand little and dispute a lot.
I said nothing about “adaptation” so you can scratch that (where is that from?). I said nothing about change. What change? Once discovered, fossils do not change – well maybe a bit of degradation – but that’s not your point, is it? They are what they are.
That was coming from you Nonlin:
If even you cannot be bothered to pay attention to your own words, then why should anybody else?
Believe it or not, but I knew you were going to say something like that. Tetrapods is not the collection of “four-legged animals” just like coelacanths is not the collection of fish with hollow caudal fin rays (“koilos akantha”). Nobody will have any problem whatsoever identifying snakes as belonging to the group of terrestrial vertebrates called tetrapods, for example because they can easily spot the resemblance to (four-legged) lizards. This is why “these species are all recognizable as belonging to group X” is such a bad argument for arguing that a group has changed very little.
Bah! That is just word games. If you want to say that humans are special, then say it and I’ll just agree with you.
And yet that is exactly what you did when you claimed that “[t]he form of some species of coelacanths appear to have been virtually unchanged for over 400 million years”. This too was discussed two years ago where I noted that a lot of your arguments rely on reasoning that you have been actively undermining in previous comments. And now you have forgotten all about it and are doing it again.
Which is, like I said previously, a reasonable claim. However, this is a very different claim from “The form of some species of coelacanths appear to have been virtually unchanged for over 400 million years” which is PLAIN WRONG! And instead of simply accepting this small correction, you mounted some insane defense in which you claimed that “virtually unchanged” was equivalent to “having evolved for 400 million years, only not as much as birds and mammals” and THEN you complained how these arguments always end up focusing on the meanings of words.
To end on some more constructive note:
There are definitely a few of those around, but I believe you can do better than that.
You were replying to a comment from March 15 but addressing another unrelated comment from March 14? Who’s not paying attention now?
Or are you just trying to be evasive?
Haha, I am not sure whether I should respond to this, since you posted on the 17th and it is already the 18th now.
People do have problems assigning evolutionary relationships in terms of physical appearance. Without any zoological foreknowledge how would anyone group, say, golden moles, marsupial moles and elephants in terms of how closely related they are?
And that is why careful study of all the evidence is needed to come to any reasonable conclusions about evolutionary relationships. The diagram I posted here estimates anatomically modern coelacanths to have emerged over 400 million years ago. Anatomically modern humans are thought to have emerged a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Or ancestry stretching back millions of years before this age has consisted of creatures which are not recognizably human. A simple question: Comparing the coelacanth and human lines over the 400 million year period, which do you think has shown the greatest change?
Why do you think comparing evolutionary trajectories is just word games? If humans are special in their evolution then so are coelacanths. They have managed to remain as they are for so long because they are so accomplished in leading the lives that they do. Of course this has its drawbacks in that they haven’t developed the attributes required to attain the higher consciousness possessed by birds and mammals.
Do you understand the difference between truth and appearance?
Forgetting about the intimate details of coelacanth evolution, it boils down to the question of which group has undergone the greatest change over time, Coelacanthiformes or Primates?
In other words I should conform.
I believe even children have no problem recognizing elephants and moles of either kind as mammals. Is it giving you problems?
Morphologically, between the two, my money would on the human lineage. But like I believe I mentioned a few times before, this is a different claim from “The form of some species of coelacanths appear to have been virtually unchanged for over 400 million years” which is THE OPPOSITE OF CORRECT! When will you stop squirming and accept a correction I wonder?
Because you haven’t defined what you mean by “earlier stages of evolution” so this is just up to anyone’s fancy. Flint and Jock have already explained at the beginning of the thread, but somehow you seem to be incapable of seeing things from their perspective. Is your perspective more valid than theirs?
The offending term here is “400 million years”. If “truth claims are not something that anyone can make regarding lines of descent over such long periods of time” than you cannot make the claim that Latimeria has descended from Devonian coelacanths.
But we can make that claim, and using the very same methodology we can also make the claim that tetrapods descended from ancient lobe-finned fishes.
No, that is just a side show sprouted from your curious inability to accept even the smallest correction. Suppose we pick some other group that is clearly more morphologically derived than primates. For example, comparing the hummingbird and the human lineages over the 400 million year period, which do you think has shown the greatest change? How about sea horses? How about barnacles? Humans aren’t top dogs in accumulating morphological changes at all. So why did you pick coelacanths?
What this really boils down to is getting you to see that you are tailoring your arguments to fit your desired conclusion.
Oh, for Pete’s sake. You are visiting this site for years now. Did you never read the bleedin’ masthead?
Alas, these are two standard aspects of the human condition – we all filter our observations to fit our preferences to some degree, and most of us can’t even realize we are doing this. Morton’s Demon will never die.
No problem for the children if they were reasonably well informed. But this doesn’t answered my question. Given examples of all three, and asked to pick two that are closely related, which two do you think the average child would pick?
It wasn’t a claim, it was a question.
I wrote, “virtually unchanged” to keep it vague. It is not the opposite of correct, at most it is an exaggeration. Compared to the mammalian line, they are virtually unchanged. The essential features and attributes that define fossil coelacanths has changed very little over these ages. Recognizable coelacanths emerged just over 400 million years age, recognizable mammals just over 200 million years ago, recognizable humans much, much later. Since they appeared, mammals have shown a remarkable degree of diversification, but coelacanths have shown a reduction in diversification.
In the example we are discussing, one very obvious example of movement from an earlier to a later stage of evolution is when animals began to colonize the land. Do you agree that this event marks a transition from an earlier to a later stage?
With this in mind that we can compare coelacanths and humans. I’ve made a start below.
Previously you wrote:
From your link above:
Most of the differences noted here would apply when comparing different species of fossilized coelacanths excluding the two extant species. The major change we can see over the 400 million years is that their diversity then was greater than their diversity now. Just because their is no fossil evidence for fish as large as Latimeria does not mean they did not exist in the deep water at that time.
Here, in The Science Times” is a nice, short article on the lifestyle of coelacanths with an explanation of why they have had no need for an air-filled swim bladder.
In the case of fossil coelacanths, all we have to go on in determining lifestyle and behaviour is body plan and the conditions in which it was fossilized. We do not have direct access to watching how they behave as living creatures.
But inferring from morphology, what do we know about the essential nature of the coelacanth and human lines from 400 million years ago to present? Let’s start by comparing the coelacanth line then and now:
Then and now – aquatic.
Then and now – gas exchange by means of gills.
Then and now – locomotion by means of lobed fins.
Then and now – brain size to body size very small.
Then and now – retained notochord.
Then and now – a hinged dorsal braincase seemingly unique to coelacanths which allows the jaws to open wider when catching prey.
Then and now – tough elasmoid scales offer protection from predators
Now a comparison of modern humans with our presumed ancestors prior to the transition to terrestrial life:
Then aquatic now terrestrial.
Then possibly some form of gills to allow gas exchange in their aquatic environment; now lungs.
Then swimming; now bipedal walking with forelimbs free for more creative activities.
Then no fossil evidence of organisms with comparatively large brains; now there are complex spoken and written languages, technology, world wide communication. The combination of dexterity (advanced forelimbs), communication skills (advanced vocal apparatus), and mental intelligence (advanced nervous system), a suite of advancements which opened the door to the Anthropocene epoch.
Then skin structure suitable for aquatic living; now skin structure suitable for living in the terrestrial atmosphere.
Then notochord/axial skeleton that wasn’t required to support bodily weight out of the water; now an axial skeleton with the strength and flexibility to support us while walking, running, jumping, sitting, etc.
To get a glimpse of this progression, all we need do is examine any one of the above changes among the multitude that our line has undergone.
Kind of interesting that Linnaeus, who developed the tree of life approach to classification (he created the taxonomic hierarchy of domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species) was working entirely with morphology. That was long before genetics, which are the primary means of determining relationships and lineages today. And yet his taxonomy was remarkably similar to what is accepted today, because morphology is pretty indicative most of the time.
Linnaeus classified marsupials as a different order than placentals. There was agreement at that time that marsupial and placental mammals had diverged a very long time in the past. I suspect Linnaeus would have related all placental mammals as more closely related than to any marsupial. Today, taxonomists think the branch that became marsupial branched from the line that became placentals about 160 million years ago, while placentals (including elephants and golden moles) began diversifying maybe 70 million years ago.
(And I read that when explorers returned the first platypus to Europe, the differences – egg laying, venomous, electric, etc. – at first caused European naturalists to accuse the explorers of fraud. Even when the platypus was accepted as a real animal, since it is not a marsupial, there was debate as to whether the monotremes branched from other mammals before or after the marsupials. Turns out they did.)
Goethe was very grateful to Linnaeus for his efforts in cataloguing organisms. The three people he considered to affect his thinking most were Spinoza, Shakespeare and Linnaeus.
Goethe popularized the term ‘morphology’ and Linnaeus provided him with an abundant source of knowledge about the anatomy of organisms. But Goethe did not want only to assemble lists of organisms in a hierarchy of juxtaposed forms. He was more interested in comparing the processes of individual development; how forms developed in a range of environments, what the differences were, and what they had in common.
From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Goethe distinguished the living from lifeless nature in that the source of change possessed an inner drive in the former, but came from without in the latter.
Pure observation of golden moles, marsupial moles and elephants alone is insufficient to determine relationships. Knowledge of the evolutionary course taken in the diversification of mammals within the vertebrates is needed if we are to understand why golden moles and elephants are more closely related to each other than either are to marsupial moles.
How can we be sure if an animal is a tetrapod or a mammal or whatever? It isn’t always easy to do this by looking at an individual. Its life history and its evolutionary history give us a more complete understanding. In my mind’s eye I can picture the developmental process in dynamic way which is a higher way of seeing than physical sight affords.
Yet by pure observation, Linnaeus got it right nearly all the time. So pure observation isn’t completely sufficient, but it comes close.
This may have been true once, but it’s no longer the case. Today we can use genetic and molecular methods to nail down such things as closeness of relationship, time of diversion, etc. And even so, for most branches of the complete tree of life, there are many equally well supported ways to draw the diagrams.
I also think you have this backwards. Knowledge of the nested hierarchy of organisms followed, it did not precede, classification.
Seems to me your “higher way of seeing” is either guesswork, or you have secret access to a time machine. Of course, I’m regarding DNA analysis as an aspect of physical sight. I suppose dating fossils by various means helps fill in some details. But I doubt the higher way of seeing your mind’s eye provides will help you a whole lot in determining the branching times of marsupials and monotremes, to tell you which came first.
So we are talking about a child without any zoological knowledge, right? Haha!
If it makes you happy, I will concede that there exist exceptional situations where convergence or the retaining of ancestral characters can create superficial resemblances that may confuse the occasional little child or anthroposophist. I am very curious where you are going with this. It looks like you are aiming for the good ol’fashioned shot in the foot.
I believe it was more like a subordinate clause to a question. This is getting a little desperate, don’t you agree?
Everything you write is intentionally vague. Don’t do that: Instead, try to write as clearly as possible.
How much diversity did you expect in TWO SPECIES exactly?
No I do not agree. This is another fine example of you being intentionally vague. Chronologically, this claim is unremarkable (except for cetaceans and such). But when you use those words, you are implicitly talking about progress. Don’t do that: Instead, make that claim explicit and try to support it.
Also, you did not answer the question: Is your perspective more valid than Flint’s and Jock’s?
Here, that looks like fun. Let me try that:
What do we know about the essential nature of the hummingbird and human lines from 300 million years ago to present? Let’s start by comparing the human line then and now:
Then and now – terrestrial
Then and now – boring colours
Then and now – teeth, just like everybody else
Then and now – average metabolic capacity
Then and now – slow limb movements
Now a comparison of modern hummingbirds with our presumed ancestors prior to our split:
Then terrestrial now powered flight
Then boring colours now radiant plumage colours
Then teeth now a highly specialized bill for nectar feeding
Then average metabolic capacity now highest mass-specific metabolic rate of any homeothermic animal
Then slow limb movements now capable of wing-flapping rates of dozens times per second
We have discussed this time and again and you still do not understand why cherry picking and glorifying the traits humans are good at impresses nobody.
Let me ask again: “Comparing the hummingbird and the human lineages over the 400 million year period, which do you think has shown the greatest change? How about sea horses? How about barnacles? Humans aren’t top dogs in accumulating morphological changes at all. So why did you pick coelacanths? “
But Linnaeus wasn’t relying on pure observation. He would have observed and spent a lot of time thinking about relationships. Comparing specimens he would be trying to establish which similarities differences were important and which were incidental.
Who receives genetic information in isolation? Genetic information is at the same time information about the course of evolution.
What makes you think that? Nested hierarchies are part of classification. Do you honestly think that, when he was examining plant specimens, Linnaeus did not understand them to be situated within the plant kingdom?
It’s not my “higher way of seeing”, it’s everybody’s way of seeing. The howling wolf sees the same moon as I do, but what I see is coloured by a lifetime of learning about this heavenly body. We reflect on what we see in a way that the wolf does not. This is our “higher way of seeing”. My “time machine” is the way I can use my mind and my conscious memory to delve into the past. Over the past week or two I’ve looked up at the evening sky and watched how the Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter have moved relative to each other from night to night. How could I make this comparison if I didn’t have several pictures of them in my mind’s eye?
* Apologies, just deleted a double post.
How does this differ from what I said? Are you distinguishing between “pure” observation and actually thinking about it?
My point is that we have better tools now than Linnaeus had, and those tools give us a lot more insight about the pattern of past evolution.
You need to read for comprehension. Yes, of course Linnaeus knew that plants were plants. But you can look at a great many different plants without realizing that they have a nested evolutionary past. The whole idea of a tree is that (1) each branch is connected to some prior branch; (2) that once branched, no branch then merges back into any other branch (excepting HGT in bacteria). And finally (3) that if all living organisms branched from existing or prior organisms, and have always done so, there must be some original form of life that started the entire cascade.
Linnaeus understood the necessary nature of this nesting. Modern tools allow us to fill in a great many historical details – what branched from what and when. It wasn’t until Darwin that people had a decent understanding of how and why branches occur.
The moon the wolf sees is ALSO colored by a lifetime of learning and experience. Believe it or not, wolves experience and learn. The wolf reflects on what it sees in a way YOU do not. If you are special, it’s because you have never demonstrated any ability to think clearly. You seem to live surrounded by woo, and your response tends to be “oh wow, far out, man! ”
All creatures have different ways of experiencing their worlds. Yours is no “higher” than the wolf or the mole – unless you define “higher” to mean, human.
Of course not, just the average child who can recognize most farm animals when they see them. Show the image below to some of these children and ask them to describe what they see. How many would reply that one is a placental mole and the other is a marsupial mole?
Where am I going? I am pointing out that there are discernable patterns in evolution, as there are discernable patterns in individual development. The whole reflected in the parts.
I quite often sense exasperation from you, now desperation. Who’d have thought it? 🙂
No, everything I write is not intentionally vague. But when we are dealing with millions of years of evolution it can never be an exact science.
Mammals and coelacanths are a higher level of classification than species. I wrote the above with reference to the diagram I provided here
What! You don’t agree that colonization of the land came later than aquatic life?
In comparing humans with extant species of coelacanths, I have been very specific in detailing the progression. I listed particular examples. What more can I do? There is not much I can do if you don’t see as progress, the transition from fins to human forelimbs with their manipulative, creative skills, over and above the fact that we can still use them for swimming,
Obviously, I wouldn’t be arguing for my perspective if I did not think that’s the case. Are eukaryotes not derived from prokaryotes in similar fashion to multicellular adult being derived from single cells, only at different levels? I’m happy to discuss the unique derived features of higher vertebrates in comparison with the unique derived features of modern bacteria from ancient prokaryotes.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Your hummingbird examples:
Have you ever looked at flight radar zoomed out to cover the world recently? That’s how far humans have taken powered flight. That’s not to say I’m making any sort of value judgement here.
Hi-vis vests and protective clothing, hair dyed all the colours of the rainbow, bright coloured clothing as fashion statements. Sometimes I’m tempted to wear sunglasses when I’m out and about. 🙂
Specialization narrows the options for future evolution. We have incisors for slicing, canines for piercing and molars for grinding. keeping our options open.
When you spend so much time feeding there’s little room for any other activities.
Leaving no chance that their wings can evolve to do anything but keep them airborne.
Don’t you think the present age is called the anthropocene for a reason?
There is no race to see who can change the most. What counts is the use that can be made of these changes. Sea horses and barnacles are confined to a particular lifestyle. Modern humans who have a degree of freedom have a vast choice of lifestyles they can follow.
No, they are not. That is deranged. Although, I guess you will come up with a wildly all-encompassing meaning for “at different levels”: everything you write IS intentionally vague.
Really? Pray tell how you are going to identify the unique derived features of modern bacteria from ancient prokaryotes. You really are going to need that time machine. You are plumbing new depths of vacuousness here.
I tried to come up with an objective measure of “how far different clades have evolved”. Using most molecular clock approaches is obviously unfair on vertebrates and the like, as it focuses on time since divergence. A much fairer approach is just to use rRNA divergence, where there is no such thing as a synonymous change, so sequence divergence is a true measure of “distance traveled”, that is to say, how far they have evolved.
You will be glad to hear that humans have come a long way since the split with Giardia, as have mushrooms and maize, but not as far as other eukaryotes such as vairmorpha or trypanosomes. Over on the bacterial side, flavobacteria (even without the nylon-eating thing) and the truly awesome planctomycetes have us beat.
Simply put, we ain’t that special. [Cue another round of “they all look the same to Charlie”.]
ETA: Figure from Lineweaver and Chopra 2009.
Yes, although I realize that pure observation is something that is never done in practice, there are always other elements such as thinking and emotions involved. What I am alluding to in the case of children looking at the “moles” and the elephant, is that, on average, they probably do not have the background knowledge required to make an accurate assessment of the relationships.
That is true.
There isn’t much there that I disagree with.
Evolution can be thought of as a tree like structure. And in a similar way my individual development can be thought of as a tree like structure with the zygote at the root. Within it there are many terminations and lost branches, but the whole retains its form-building grip on life even if by nature it is transient.
Does the wolf understand the relationship between the sun, the moon and the earth? Does it understand it can see it by means of the light reflected from the sun? Does it ponder its evolution and origins?
Can you explain the way you presume that the wolf reflects on the moon? What indications are there that it thinks about any of this. From the evidence it looks as though it spends its time trying to satisfy its needs and desires and doesn’t engage in any philosophizing whatsoever.
The way in which I see humans as higher that any animal is in our skill of cognition and our ability to use skills like this to invent and create in a multitude of ways. We know things and we know we know things. We know that we have responsibility when it comes to maintenance of the planet.
Of course having knowledge does not mean having the wisdom to do what’s right. The uniqueness of each extant species has a limited effect on the planet. Evolution has reached the unprecedented stage where human uniqueness affects the future of the whole planet.
And it shouldn’t need to be said that, without qualification, higher than or further advanced than does not mean better than.
You do understand, don’t you, that I’m not talking about extant prokaryotes? Let me put it another way, All eukaryotes are thought to have derived from ancient, single-celled forebears.
Well my point is that there’s not much we can say on the changes from some ancient prokaryote to modern prokaryotes. But there is a great deal we can say on the changes from some ancient prokaryote to modern multicellular higher animals.
How can I disagree that what you say is true. But this is a very specific measurement of evolution. There are many other ways to compare evolutionary trajectories other than molecular differences. What about the evolution of sentience, or consciousness, or complexity?
Would you sacrifice your cognitive abilities for having rRNA with more evolutionary diversity?
You are doing a lot of your old numbers again, including the “humans can fly”. No, Charlie, I am pretty sure you cannot fly a plane. You can sit in a plane and let yourself be flown, but so can a mussel.
Because the repetition is getting a bit tedious I am going to restrict myself to the comments where I might be able to say something not said a dozen times before.
I will abstain from pointing out your glaring anthropocentrism once again. What I will point out is that you insist that you have been “very specific in detailing the progression” whereas what you were asking me was: “Do you agree that this event marks a transition from an earlier to a later stage?”
Please, re-read my remark above very carefully. No, you have NOT been very specific. You were, in fact, equivocating “later stage” with “progress”. This was exactly my complaint! You disguise your claims as superficially reasonable statements, like above asking whether one thing followed another. Sure, but what you really mean is that humans are better and that this is the purpose of evolution. This is not an honest way of discussing. I fear the biggest victim of this dishonesty is not me or Flint or Jock, but you yourself. You are deluding yourself.
Good. Let me remind you of the quote that set this discussion off:
And now we have established that when you say “earlier stage” actually you mean “having not progressed as far as us”. Flint and Jock took issue with this statement, emphasizing that this critically depends on what one views as being further evolved (meaning progressed). That is a valid point of view, but you seem to be incapable of accepting that. For someone constantly complaining that everyone is asking you to conform to their views, this is remarkable. Why is it important to you that your perspective prevails over our perspectives?
I’ve been at the controls of a few aircraft in my time. I don’t have a private pilot’s license but with training it wouldn’t be difficult for me to get one.
And your point highlights a difference between us and animals. Whereas the niches of animals are at the population or species level, human niches are formed at an individual level and can be very versatile.
I think I get it. You would like me to spell out some specific examples of progression during the tetrapod transition from sea to land. Well, land animals can evolve a greater visual range than sea creatures. The transition involved the development of more complex, jointed limbs. Such limbs are more adaptable to various tasks than fins (as can be read below, I’ve already mentioned this.). The move from sea to land meant that tetrapods could now diversify and exploit a far wider range of habitats. They could now find niches in air, land and sea. Air breathing lead them to being able to communicate vocally with increased individual intelligence. Will that do for now, or would you like me to think of more examples for you?
Now who is making vague statements? I would never say humans are better, because that is a nonsensical statement. Better at what? Do we have better sight than eagles? No. Better sense of smell than dogs? No. Do we have better communication skills than fish? Yes. Can we circumnavigate the globe faster than any bird? Yes.
I don’t think I’ve made any secret of the way I see evolution progressing. I’ll give a rough, basic sequence leading to humans, as I see it, and others are welcome to compile one leading to other branches of life so that we can compare them.
Single cells led to mobility, which led to multicellular complexity, which led to greater sentience, which led to exploration of different environments, which led to tetrapods, which led to transition onto the land, which led to greater limb mobility and the ability to communicate vocally, which led to a further expansion of consciousness, which led to self-conscious individuality, which led to more advanced creativity including technology, which led to our dominance over other life forms.
This is progression as I see it. It may be a progression which endangers all of earthly life, but I have never claimed that its direction would benefit life as a whole.
As no other species is capable of providing such a list, who is willing on their behalf, to compile a sequence leading to any of the twigs on the other branches of life selected from the diagram kindly provided by DNA_Jock?
Would you do me a favour? Could you write this sentence down on a memo and stick it to your monitor? Then please re-read your complete comment. Pay special attention to the parts where you wax on about “increased individual intelligence”, “greater sentience”, “advanced creativity” and my personal favorite “our dominance over other life forms” and ponder the contrast between these hymns of praise and the humble sentence above.
Enough with the false modesty. Please explain to us what you mean by “progress” if it does not involve getting better.
You are still doing it. You are using the adjective “better” without specifying to what it is attached, its referent.
Previously, you wrote:
A progression is a movement from an earlier condition to a later condition. Diseases are said to progress, wars progress. So progression is not always something we would welcome.
Now the progress of the evolution of life has produced a situation in which the dominant animals are made up of self-conscious, rational, creative individuals. Thus some groups have called for this epoch to be named, the anthropocene.
Whether the current situation will be better for the wellbeing of earthly life as a whole is debatable.
You seem to have a problem with me indicating that the trajectory of evolution from ancient prokaryotes to us involved, increased individual intelligence, greater sentience, advanced creativity and our dominance over other life forms. Can you explain why this is false and let me know what alternative trajectory you would suggest?
Oh, for crying out loud. Do you even read the stuf you write yourself? Did you not write several OPs outlining how the purpose of the whole show is to evolve “individual self consciousness” and that all non-human lineages operate in the service of achieving that goal in our lineage? Did you not grab every single opportunity to glorify our individuality, rationality and capability for self-reflection to the point where onlookers had to avert their eyes from the screen out of embarassment on your behalf? Did not scores of TSZers repeatedly tell you that you were indulging in blatant anthropocentrism? And now I have to explain to YOU how whenever you use words like “higher evolved”, “later stage” and “advanced” that you are patting yourself on the back?
Are you trying to pull my leg or can you really not see how you have been putting yourself on a pedestal?
What I am trying to do is to specify and distinguish words and phrases such as “progress”, “later stages”, “higher levels”. If there is progression, in what sense is this progression? If something is higher in what sense is it higher? If something is better, in what sense is it better? If some thing is evolving, in what sense is it evolving?
Of course, as I believe that mind has priority over matter then looking at evolution from the point of view of consciousness, I see a process whereby, on the physical plane, individual consciousness has progressed to the present at which time there are self conscious, rational, creative beings who have only surfaced recently.
Other life forms have progressed in different directions and at different rates. Plants have shown no signs of taking the path to individual, self consciousness, but their progress has produced the atmospheric conditions and food source by means of which animals can thrive and evolve in their own direction.
Life as a whole has evolved to the stages of achieving sentience and the beginning of sapience because parts are sacrificed along the way. Life forms other than humans will no doubt reach stages of higher consciousness through their own paths. This will take longer than it has for humans, but this is no bad thing. It isn’t a race. It’s not a case of fast rates of evolution being better than slower rates. As with individual development, who would think that premature aging is a good thing? And as is the case with individual human development, different life forms evolve at different rates. The whole reflected in the parts.
You have told everybody why. Evolution is a teleological process and its purpose is to evolve “individual self consciousness”. You cannot claim our lineage to be en route to the fulfillment of the purpose of the entire creation and simultaneously act all modest about it. So please stop doing at least one of those things.
It is obvious what your beliefs are and you are entitled to them. But a belief is just a belief and I see no reason why it should be more valid than other perspectives.