Evolution and humans: more on learning to read (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, November 12, 2018, 13:05 (2017 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You say your God preprogrammes or dabbles evolutionary change in advance of need, and I say evolutionary change happens in response to need (and/or opportunity). I have not ignored the gaps; I have tried to explain them, although in fairness we can hardly expect to find a complete line of fossils from 3 million years ago onwards. We were incredibly lucky to to find Lucy. And of course she was different from the apes who stayed in the trees, and of course she was transitional. That is the whole point! A tree-dweller that left the trees would still have tree-dwelling characteristics as well as ground-dwelling characteristics. “Logically the unchanged apes who stayed in the trees had no need to leave” seems to be the key to your thinking. We don’t know why Lucy and her ilk left the trees. She didn’t keep a diary. But, as explained above, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in a particular location a particular group of apes DID need to leave the trees. Or some apes decided to leave the trees and seek a new life, while the others decided to stay as they were. Your version also focuses on a particular group of apes up in the trees, but has your God fiddling with some bits of their anatomy (leaving the rest), and saying to them: “Now you lot will leave the trees, while the rest can stay where they are, because although I can design whatever I want to design, and I actually want to design H. sapiens, I want to design you as the first of a whole bunch of transitional forms.” Yes, I find my hypothesis more natural, whether your God exists or not. Meanwhile, since you agree that exercise changes the brain, why can’t you agree that the new way of life, i.e. the implementation of new concepts, would have changed the brain (and the body) of Lucy and all the other pre-sapiens?

DAVID: Taking on your last sentence, I've agreed above that exercise changes the existing brain, just as the study shows. That doesn't explain the gap in brain size in the fossils we have. Darwin's hope is now expressed by you: gaps hopefully will be filled. And since Darwin died the gaps have not been filled but made to look much worse, especially with the new finds in China re' the Cambrian. Basically the findings have refuted all of Darwin's hopes of tiny steps. There is no question but that evolution is punctuated, not a step by step continuous process. Accepting that point, the issue between us remains: did Lucy come down from the trees and then change or was she changed so she could come down from the trees? We have no way of knowing, so each of us has a preferred view. I do not see a meeting point of minds.

We have no idea how many transitions there were, but I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium, and like Huxley, “Darwin’s bulldog”, I reject Darwin’s gradualism and I accept saltation. I’m glad you agree that exercise changes the brain and body, which leads logically to the conclusion that a new way of life would have changed the brain and body, as opposed to the brain and body having to be divinely changed in anticipation of the new way of life. Now perhaps you will comment on the logic of my reply to your claim that God made the changes in Lucy's group, because "logically the unchanged apes who stayed in the trees had no need to leave". I have bolded it, just in case you missed it!

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