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On false knowledge …

Bruce S. Thornton of the Classics department at Fresno State University in California , author of Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge (ISI Books, 1999), certainly spoke for me when he said,

What makes us recognizably human, then, is not what is natural about us but what is unnatural: reason and its projections in language, culture, ritual, and technology, self-awareness, conscious memory, imagination, and the higher emotions; and, most important, values, ethics, morals, and the freedom from nature’s determinism that allows us to choose, whether for good or ill. Nothing else in nature possesses any of these attributes, despite the wishful thinking of those who believe they are teaching chimps to “talk,” or who consider a monkey digging up termites with a stick to be “using tools,” or who label baboon rump-submission a “social practice,” or who subjectively interpret the behavior of animals to indicate the presence of “self-awareness” ore higher human emotions such as love, grief, regret, guilt, shame, or loyalty. For every dog that howls over the body of its dead master there is another that, if necessary, will happily eat his corpse.

Ah yes, … happily eat his corpse.

The meticulously tailored attendants at the funeral parlour down the street from my home are not, typically, told what to do when the bereaved open the coffin and start to …

In those few human civilizations when the bereaved serve the dear departed at the funeral feast, no mere animal hunger drives them. They want to absorb the merits of the departed. A misguided idea to be sure, but a distinctly human one.

Sadly, there is no easy path to virtue.

So what to make of the frantic project of the evolutionary psychologists who pretend that all these human qualities are regularly found among the creatures that squeak, howl, and shuffle in the night – warring over boiled-out soup bones in the dumpsters behind apartment buildings?

Just this: There is no going back on being human. You can be a good or a bad human. You can be a stupid or a wise human. But there is no going back on being human.

Get over looking for advisors among lemurs and chimps. They cannot tell you anything you cannot learn from your own life experiences.

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36 Responses to On false knowledge …

  1. I continue to be fascinated by the obsession on the part of evolutionary psychologists and evolutionary theorists of all stripes to equate humans with the animal kingdom.

    It seems to me to be some kind of pathological obsession, when the evidence is that humans are not just “more of the same” from the animal kingdom (that is, only quantitatively different), but something entirely, qualitatively different.

    This point should be transparently obvious to anyone who is not blinded by the idiocy of Darwinian thinking. Within recorded and archaeological history humans have gone from the stone age to the information age.

    Chimps are still picking up ants with sticks.

    If the evo guys want to explore something really interesting, they should compare the complete intellectual and technological stasis of the animal kingdom with the exponential evolutionary growth of human knowledge.

    Oh, and by the way, please explain how, in such a short period of time (i.e., a few million years at most), the chimp brain was rewired by random accidents affecting the nucleotides in the DNA molecule to convert picking up ants with sticks to the design and manufacture of supercomputers, advanced mathematics, books on ethics, pianos, symphonies, and so much more.

    Please give me a break. The entire Darwinian story is so stupid I can’t imagine how anyone with any intelligence or who has even given a cursory glance at the reality that surrounds them can take it seriously.

  2. A couple of interesting things. No one yet has been able to define intelligence and to describe what it means to be uniquely human. I don’t think anyone thinks we are not somehow unique but it is hard to pinpoint just what quality it is that makes it so.

    In a post a few weeks ago I referred to a Teaching Company course where the presenter addressed this question and the best he was able to do was that humans are unique in using previous knowledge and building upon it. In other words no other species uses accumulated knowledge and builds on it. Other species learn things and transmit this knowledge to other members but none except humans build upon previous knowledge.

    It seems to me there must be more than this but while we make super computers, write symphonies, fly to the moon etc, this is the best that he says scientists and philosophers have come up with. One related thing is that one of the hominid predecessors to homo sapiens used tools for a million years or more and never improved these tools during this time. So what quality of a human allows it to build to the super computer or symphony.

    An aside, I spent a couple weeks on a trip where Bruce Thornton was a lecturer. A very bright and nice guy and a conservative thinker about the modern world as well as an expert in the ancient world.

  3. GilDodgen: Bien dit. Thanks.

    One has to wonder if the goal [of those who persistently and methodically try to find man in animal and animal in man] is not trying to urge the world ‘forward’ to, that unspeakable reprobate, P. Singer’s ideas on sexuality.

    That other unspeakable reprobate – H. Hefner – stated many years ago that there is nothing wrong with bestiality.

    No level of baseness is surprising with these morons.

    You have to question the motives of these lame brained twits and I remain very suspicious. Indeed, I would not leave a dog alone near them let alone a child.

  4. “Please give me a break. The entire Darwinian story is so stupid I can’t imagine how anyone with any intelligence or who has even given a cursory glance at the reality that surrounds them can take it seriously.”

    Well stated.

    I did not start questioning Darwinism until I read “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

    Vivid

  5. Ms. O’Leary,

    That’s the best post of yours I’ve read.

    Thanks,

    Stu

  6. Humans differ from non-human creatures in physical form, for ours is in the likeness of the creator, and in the defining fact that humans have souls, while non-human creatures do not. Neanderthals, although they possessed intelligence comparable to ours, did not have souls, and so it was no sin for our ancestors to remove them and claim their territory. All non-human creatures are subject to man, and the primitive technologies of Neanderthals were not science, while all of their activities were beastial due to their earthly nature. They were of a different species than ours, and never produced any offspring with humans, who are the descendants of Adam and Eve. Adam’s father was not substantially different from Adam physically, but Adam’s father had no soul, for the first soul of man is Adam. The soul of a human being is responsible for the moral character of all the thoughts of his or her brain, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit come only to humans, for they are gifts of the Spirit. When a human soul is disobedient to God and turns from His knowledge to seek to supplant God’s authority with the knowledge of this world, depraved and immoral behavior occurs and the disobedient person takes on the characteristics of a creature of this world, which is passing away. Art, science, and culture are the product of spiritual man, and even the sciences of Satan could not have been created by physical brains alone. Adam and Eve possessed a genetic diversity greater than that possessed by anyone who lives physically today, and subsequent mutations in our gene pool are limited in comparison to their genetic diversity.

  7. jerry,

    You wrote:

    I don’t think anyone thinks we are not somehow unique but it is hard to pinpoint just what quality it is that makes it so.

    I think the answer is in Ecclesiastes 3:11. “He has put eternity in their hearts”. (NKJV)

    The YLT version has the whole verse as follows.

    The whole He hath made beautiful in its season; also, that knowledge He hath put in their heart without which man findeth not out the work that God hath done from the beginning even unto the end.

    Only humans wonder where they came from and where they are going. Dogs may howl at the moon but they do not wonder how it got there or why its movements are so regular.

  8. “”The entire Darwinian story is so stupid I can’t imagine how anyone with any intelligence or who has even given a cursory glance at the reality that surrounds them can take it seriously.”

    I have to disagree with one word in this description and that is the word “entire.” Much of what Darwin said is so obvious to the average person and is also supported by science that it is then easy to accept the “entire” Darwinian story. Micro evolution follows the Darwinian paradigm and survival of the fittest is such an easy to understand concept that it is not hard for the average person and even the trained scientist to accept the leap of faith that follows when the Darwinian story then proclaims that all origins follow the basic paradigm.

    So yes, while the origin of many organisms through Darwinian processes is intellectually vacuous, the whole of it is not. And that is what we are fighting here. We are fighting what appears to be an inherently consistent description of life to most people until they are informed of its inconsistencies which is hard to do in our present climate.

    The curious thing is that the lack of proof for all of Darwinian theory is the one thing that unites those who support ID and it is the one thing that the Darwinists when they are here fail to debate with any vigor. Did ribczynski really debate it while here. Not really. He made a brief attempt to do it but quickly abandoned that approach. Others try to do it and we have had biologists and even evolutionary biologists here who make no effort to do so. Others try but none make any headway. They depend on the average person taking the true and obvious part of the theory and then swallowing all of it.

    Did any of the recent group of newcomers who are anti ID make an attempt? Very little. We all know why.

  9. Mortimer J. Adler covered this magnificently in his book :”The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes”, 1967. Still worth reading after 41 years

  10. Jerry,
    before proclaiming victory, I should remind you that you still haven’t responded to my query of whether the 5 examples I presented represented examples of macroevolution. or, for that matter, provided a definition of macroevolution. I have presented my evidence and my definition, and I would appreciate a response.

  11. Jerry that is a very good point. It must start at the school level so that the inconsistencies are made clear at a young age, the indoctrination of our youth is scary.

  12. I have to disagree with one word in this description and that is the word “entire.”

    I should have clarified and been more specific. I’m talking about the entire Darwinian story about how primitive simian ancestors turned into humans by random mutation/variation and natural selection.

  13. Let me present my story, please help me translate it to maintain a seriously diminished view of animal intelligence.

    I was fishing, fiddling around, on the Rogue river in Oregon a few years back. I saw a few very small bass, 3 that were about 3 inches long, and 1 that was more like 5 inches.

    I figured, great, let me see the fish respond to my fly. So I stuck a fly in front of their noses. The little ones twiddled with it a bit, then the big one came out and bit it.

    I let the fish go. It swam back to its original location. I stuck my fly out again. The little ones responded as before. However, this time the big one came out and knocked the little ones away from the fly. None of the fish responded to my fly after that.

    It is difficult to even write this story without anthropomorphising. Why did the big one shew the little ones away? Did the big one “care”? Did the big one “love”?

    Its a fish, and idiot fish. And I am obviously and evolutionary psychologist or I would never have bothered to observe such a thing.

  14. On: “For every dog that howls over the body of its dead master there is another that, if necessary, will happily eat his corpse.”

    See: http://history.howstuffworks.c.....-party.htm

    ‘Seems that humans, if necessary, are quite able to eat each others’ corpses.

  15. I balk at the diminishment of the animals, and it always saddens and puzzles me when some people want to deny to them their obviously quite emotional natures. There is abundant evidence that animals can be quite clever problem solvers at times, and that they do experience grief, love and loyalty, as well as compassion and even altruism. The examples are so numerous that denial of it must have an emotional cause, not a rational one. Have we not had enough of cruelty, and is not cruelty accompanied by lack of respect?

    It seems obvious that the difference between animals and man is in our stupendously superior intellect, and the self reflective consciousness that infuses our emotions with a higher understanding.

    Of interest is not the rare account of a dog who might eat its master’s corpse – there are vicious and neglected dogs – but the dog who howls at his masters death, lays upon his grave, and refuses to eat. What are we to call that if not grief?
    If the higher mammals do not have the basic emotional toolkit, what are they, plants, inanimate objects?

    We need not horde those, for we humans have the true higher emotions, and those are spiritual in nature: Spiritual joy, hope, tears of repentence, unconditional love, appreciation of the beauty of the human soul, appreciating the beauty and perfection of the creation, uplifting experience of the Holy Spirit which words cannot express, overwhelming gratitude to God for the gift of our existence in this awe-inspiring universe, in which every day is a beautiful day with a thousand sunsets over the ocean at every moment for all time.

  16. bFast,

    I think there’s a distinct difference between cannibalizing under the survival pressure of necessity versus eating a compatriot merely because he’s the most readily available food.

    I guarantee you that in most circumstances people would rather die than eat each other. Just because it might have happened under the most extreme conditions in one circumstance does not make it readily comparable to something that is every day animalistic life in the wilderness.

    Just imagine how many people in Ethiopia and impoverished African communities would be eating each other if humans truly did share this trait with animals. You took one extreme situation and used it in analogue with a common occurance from a different situation.

    Also, about the fish, just because we can relate to such behavior as altruism (Mainly because we practice it very commonly ourselves) doesn’t mean that’s what was actually occuring in the fish’s brain. Who knows, maybe it truly was an act of selflessness or it could have just been some low level instinctual reaction with no real connection to emotion for the other fish.

  17. PaulN:

    I think there’s a distinct difference between cannibalizing under the survival pressure of necessity versus eating a compatriot merely because he’s the most readily available food.

    And what evidence do you have that dogs are quick to eat their dead masters? The story presented said, “if necessary, will happily eat his corpse.” The term “happily” in this context seems a little odd because the author doesn’t seem to acknowledge the emotions of animals. Further, based on what evidence does the author claim the dog’s glee.

    PaulN:

    Who knows, maybe it truly was an act of selflessness or it could have just been some low level instinctual reaction with no real connection to emotion for the other fish.

    My story is hardly “hard proof”that fish are altruistic. However, to say on one hand “who knows” and to say on the other hand “animals don’t …” are incongruent concepts. Either we know, and animals either do or don’t …, or we don’t know, and animals very well may … You can’t have it both ways.

  18. Humans are the only collections of particles in the known universe that do not obey God’s Laws.

  19. I wonder if a monkey feels a deep joy at Christmas?

    Merry Christmas All:

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon Rock

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....6b9aa9db1c

  20. Khan,

    This thread is not the place to hash out what the Darwinian controversy is about. This is a thread about the comparison of animals with humans and I was just responding to Gil Dodgen’s comment about the whole Darwinian story.

    You are new to this controversy but just briefly, the debate is over the construction of new information that controls complicated systems and whether it can be accomplished by gradual means or any other natural means. So you can define macro evolution anyway you want but if the definition you use does not address this issue then the discussion is meaningless.

    You failed to read what I wrote to you before and address it and all you wanted to do was use your definition and say you won. Well that is not the debate. So in another thread in the near future when it is appropriate, we can address your questions but many of them have been addressed and the ball is actually in your court whether you know it or not and it is up to you to show where the new information was built and what this new information did. Since I am not familiar with your examples, it is up to you to flesh them out.

    So on another thread when it is appropriate and I or any other one is around, bring it up again and we will see if your examples are apropos. But you can not just point at something. Be ready to explain in detail especially since no one I have ever seen has used your examples to counter ID or in defense of gradualism.

  21. For some interesting animal learning examples, read Evolution in Four Dimensions by Jablonka and Lamb. It is a complicated book by two committed Darwinists but is no threat to ID and is fascinating in some micro evolutionary areas especially epigenetic processes.

    One of their dimensions is the learning that takes place by animals and how they pass it along to other members of their population and how this learning will actually change their behavior in the future and affect the possible direction of the gene pool of a population.

    Bfast’s story of the fish learning about the hook would be an example. Animals learn and just about any dimension you pick, animals will show some similar characteristics but rarely to the extent that humans do. In some ways they may be more intelligent than humans because they can process information that humans cannot, for example, scents.

  22. Jerry,

    Here is the statment I was responding to: “The curious thing is that the lack of proof for all of Darwinian theory is the one thing that unites those who support ID and it is the one thing that the Darwinists when they are here fail to debate with any vigor. Did ribczynski really debate it while here. Not really. He made a brief attempt to do it but quickly abandoned that approach. Others try to do it and we have had biologists and even evolutionary biologists here who make no effort to do so. Others try but none make any headway..”

    AM I one of those “others”? when i last heard from you (I subsequently posted a few more times but only got responses from gpuccio), I had asked you to provide a definition of macroevolution. you had asked me to respond to a quotation from a video of Jerry Valentine answering a question about the Cambrian Explosion at a cocktail party or something (i’m obviously being facetious, but it may well have been since you gave no link or reference I could look at).. I had already responded to this by pointing out that peer-reviewed manuscripts are better references than video quotations, and that nothing Valentine has written in the literature (that I am aware of, I plan to plow through the Origin of Phyla over the holidays) would support your interpretation of his statement.

    In any case, I’m not quite sure when the time will be apropos, but here’s something to read about the creation of new biological information in the evolution of organelles:

    Bock, R., and J. N. Timmis. 2008. Reconstructing evolution: gene transfer from plastids to the nucleus. Bioessays 30:556-66.

    Briefly, 1) thousands of genes transferred from the pre-chloroplast bacteria to the host during the history of the symbiosis, 2) those genes became active in the host genome, 3) this process continues and can be observed today. I argue that this massive transfer and activation of new functional genes in the host is a clear example of the creation of new biological information (and yes, I would appreciate a definition of the term information, but we can wing it for now).

  23. Hi Khan,

    Not my argument, but you answered your own question. You said that the genes were transferred to the host and became active there. A transfer of existing information is not the creation of new information.

    Back to the animals. It is difficult to find traits of humans that animals do not possess in rudimentary form, and that includes humor; however humor is seen in only a few animals and that very rudimentary, whereas in humans it is really one of our most salient and persistent characteristics. The forms of humor are many and varied. When we are not hard at work on serious tasks – and even when we are – most humans will engage in near constant jocularity and banter. All languages are filled with apt expressions that are really quite funny.

  24. —–Battman: “Humans are the only collections of particles in the known universe that do not obey God’s Laws.”

    Yes, or the only ones who can pervert their own nature.

  25. Khan,

    For the video of James Valentine go here:

    http://www.arn.org/arnproducts.....m.php?id=7

    It is not off the cuff remarks but a formal interview and my quote was the transcript of a small part of the interview, word for word with the question asked and his answer.

    Information is a piece of data and each nucleotide is a data point. Search the internet for definitions of the word. For example, go here

    http://www.onelook.com/?w=information&ls=a

    Use for information

    news; intelligence; words

    facts; data; learning; lore

    Each nucleotide is a piece of information just as each molecule in a rock is a piece of information. Both DNA and a rock are complex so each is an example of complex information. However, some units of the information in the DNA specify something else, for example a gene specifies a protein and sometimes RNA. And some of these proteins and RNA have functions and some of these proteins and RNA work together as functional units. So the information in the DNA is complex, specified and and the elements specified are functional. Life is the only place this appears in nature. It appears quite frequently with human intelligence.

    Again this is not the place to discuss this. Wait till another place that is more appropriate. If you answer this comment, I will not answer it here because it is supposed to about animals and humans. Also the next week is one that I will have little time to post anything here.

  26. Khan,

    In #10 you take jerry to task for failing to respond to your claimed examples of macroevolution. Presumably you were referring to this post, comment #111. However, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. You have, AFAICT, not responded to my comment #113 in that post. Normally I wouldn’t care much, but when I see you attacking jerry for what you apparently did yourself, it does seem a little unfair.

    As jerry said, this is not the thread. Fortunately there is a thread which is a continuation of that thread, and we can continue the discussion there. Otherwise, please leave jerry alone.

  27. Khan,

    I am also still waiting for some comments about this post, which was in answer to you, and about the same subject. There is nothing wrong in leaving the discussion fall in a blog, but that was an interesting discussion.

  28. Vivid

    did not start questioning Darwinism until I read “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

    This may be the first time I’ve seen someone reference this book with respect to evolution. I haven’t looked at it in years…but perhaps I shall pick up it again.

    One thing for sure (OT aside comment), this book explains the current state of our US economy!!

  29. Borne wrote:

    One has to wonder if the goal [of those who persistently and methodically try to find man in animal and animal in man] is not trying to urge the world ‘forward’ to, that unspeakable reprobate, P. Singer’s ideas on sexuality.

    That other unspeakable reprobate – H. Hefner – stated many years ago that there is nothing wrong with bestiality.

    No level of baseness is surprising with these morons.

    Of course you’re going to get screams of outrage on various evo sites about that opinion.

    If they think it’s farfetched and outlandish that you could think such a thing, they need to get to know their science better. For instance, they could pick up a copy of the impeccably scientific National Geographic:

    Interspecies Sex: Evolution’s Hidden Secret?

    Or they could see what their friends who have put all of that goofy morality from dusty old books behind them are doing. I wonder if their parents know what they’re up to?

  30. Hello Kahn,
    I would like to join this discussion because it seems more interesting than most.

    I would agree with avocationist that “A transfer of existing information is not the creation of new information.”

    I would also tend to take a less black and white line on the spontaneous creation of information than many of my ID brothers and sisters do. It appears to me that lucky (pure chance) mutations periodicaly happen which create a new allele. This new allele has some new information content. As such there is new information.

    I also would be interested specifically in studies of the reasonableness of “thousands of genes transferred from the pre-chloroplast bacteria to the host during the history of the symbiosis” as chance events.

    Please understand, ID does not suggest that such events didn’t happen. Id only challenges that chance is capable of instigating these events.

    However, what I find most interesting are de-novo or Orphan or ORFan genes — genes that have no known preceedents (is that english? I don’t care, you get my message.)

    I had a chat with a biologist on Telic Thoughts a while back who suggested that at most we should see two or three true de-novo genes that occur in the human line since the human-chimp LUCA, and that these genes should only play a minor role to the human. My understanding is that the latest research shows about 50 genes with unknown origin. Now, it seems reasonable that there is some “we haven’t found the origin yet”, but there seems to be a huge disparity between 3 and 50.

    I would say that the IDer is much more interested in the difficult case, the case of the de-novo gene, than we are in the cases of HGT, and the rare positive mutation.

    Evolutionary science seems to me to try to answer simple questions, then suggest that all of the other questions are simple questions. If the latter is so, so be it, but it cannot be established by proclamation. Please provide statistical analysis of the likelihood of de-novo genes evolving by chance, and compare that to the human population since separation from the human-chimp LUCA.

  31. bfast and avocationist,

    I would agree with avocationist that “A transfer of existing information is not the creation of new information”

    please realize that genes do not just plunk right over from a prokaryote to a eukaryote- they have to be assimilated into the genome and get promoter and terminator sequences to become active. think of it this way- you can not put a piston from an Edsel straight into a an ’09 Camry and expect it to work (there are many flaws w this analogy,including being far too generous about the degree of similarity btwn prok and euk genomes; but it was helpful to me). the mechanisms by which this occurs are fairly well-known, and can be ascribed to chance events (illegitimate repair, alternative splicing). thus the analogy breaks down further in that there is no mechanic doing this. additionally, sometimes these genes acquire entirely new functions in the host genome.

    so while on a superficial level this appears to be a “mere” transfer of information it is actually a massive addition of information in the form of new genes, new promoter and terminator regions and sometimes new functions in the eukaryotic host.

    even neater, this happens at a very high rate and can be observed happening in the lab. here’s decent summary of some recent work:

    http://www.plantcell.org/cgi/c.....18/11/2865

  32. “This may be the first time I’ve seen someone reference this book with respect to evolution. I haven’t looked at it in years…but perhaps I shall pick up it again.”

    I know it has nothing to do with biology so if you want to reread it as you know its not drected toward Darwinism.

    However this is how it went down. I was sckeptical of the empirical evidence for Darwinism however every scientist I read assured me it was the gospel truth. Who was I to argue otherwise. My thinking was that if the vast maority of scientists were that confident it was probably true. I mean I would say to myself ” all these scientists cannot be wrong”.

    I read the book because I was interested in its history of manias as they relate to economic affairs. Some of the insanity described blew my mind. I mean how could so many people be so wrong and so deluded? When I finally finished the book it hit me square between the eyes that delusions and manias are a common part of all societies. Just because we were and are in the “modern age” was no guarantee that our society is immune. So I started thinking “what delusions are going on now”?

    That freed me from bowing down to the idea that all the scientists could not be wrong. They very much could be wrong. After all they operate in a closed society professionally speaking, they all read the same thing and say the same thing. All are some of the prequisites of crowd psychology ( read Lebon on crowd behavior) and until I see some empirical evidence of the incredible powers attributed to Darwinism I am quite content to ascribe much of their statements as a perfect example of at least one popular delusion.

    Vivid

  33. FatherJay,

    So where do I get one of these soul meters? How do you know Neanderthals didn’t (don’t) have souls? I just did a word search and did not find “Neanderthal” in the Bible. “Erth” and “thal” were the closest.

    I think there’s plenty of Neanderthals around. For one thing they play hockey. In rock bands they’re called “drummers.” If I should begrudge them souls (or not) that says more about my soul than theirs.

    Re: All non-human creatures are subject to man:
    Tell that to Acinetobacter baumannii

    Re: “Art, science, and culture are the product of spiritual man…”

    Art, science, and culture are products of intellect. While they reflect our unique birthright they are not intrinsically spiritual. Each can become every bit as much a mask as your typical voodoo doll.

    Re: Adam and Eve possessed a genetic diversity greater than that possessed by anyone who lives physically today.

    Interesting proposition given the tendency of systems toward entropy. However, isn’t “lives physically” redundant?

    Yours, pmob1

  34. bFast

    If fish can’t think, why do we have to change presentation all the time? Like other critters, they can sense, remember and think about things just fine, but only real things (sensible). Whereas we can think about non-real things as well, which Adler liked to talk about (see Turrell above).

    Given this, it seems to me that animals are capable of apprehending God to the degree God is sensible.

    I will admit that some northern pike can’t think.

    Yours, pmob1

  35. Vividbleau, well said.

    pmob1, reguarding changing presentations, you make my point.

    However, pmob1,

    Like other critters, they can sense, remember and think about things just fine, but only real things (sensible).

    How do you know that fish only think about “real things”? We can measure some of what fish think about, and we can confirm that they think. However, we don’t have any way of measuring whether fish think about “non-real things” or not, so any statement about their ability in that reguard, pro or con, is conjecture. Alas, this is my point.

    ps, I ain’t found a smart pike either.

  36. bFast,

    Re: However, we don’t have any way of measuring whether fish think about “non-real things”

    We can draw an inference and we can also propose testable correlations based upon that which we do know and can measure.

    First the inference: the ability to apprehend the non-real, (in universals, for instance), appears inseparable from the ability to communicate same. We therefore infer that any beings that can not communicate abstractions (or show evidence of having understood such communication) are incapable. The inference may also be tested on humans in their developmental stages and in cases of impairment. Fish don’t pass the test.

    Second, the measurable correlation: beings known to apprehend the non-real do also regularly bring into being the non-real: intellect regularly invents and deploys new realities seemingly out of nothing. In animal science terms, we might call this behavioral confirmation of non-real thinking. We easily recognize such distinctive behavior informally but we may also ascribe to it a more formal distinguishing property. In any case, we can indeed see and measure the effects of behavior associated with non-real thinking.

    Yours, pmob1

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