Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

The Logical Failure Of Science Fans

January 27, 2019

If it’s science it must be right, coz science is kool, right?

Thus in essence is the basis on which many science fans argue in internet comment threads.
A question posted on Quora involved me in a discussion with a typical member of this group, he’s besotted with science and argues from the perspective of a religious believer rather that somebody who questions things objectively. To the question:

As a scientist, is there any possibility that evolution did not give rise to mankind?

I had answered:

Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe, writer, poet, free thinker

Sorry I can’t answer because I’m not a scientist.
But if I was a scientist I wouldn’t be a biologists so I’d probably give the same answer as would occurs to me as a well – read retired management consultant: There are always possibilities. It’s often said that we evolved from monkeys, but more likely we and monkeys shared a common ancestor which might have been so far back it was just a blob of jelly floating in a primeval salt marsh. Nobody truly knows.
Likewise human intelligence. The theory that we developed conscious intelligence spontaneously as our brains reached a certain mass has been debunked. Homo Neanderthalis had bigger brains than Homo Sapiens and yet they became extinct.

At some stage we progressed from Homo Sapiens (man who knows) to Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Man who knows he knows) with far greater cognitive skills and the ability to handle abstract ideas than our predecessors. When and how that change occurred is a mystery and so far no evolutionary evidence has been found to explain it.

Did aliens visit us and get jiggy with girl troglodites? Was intelligence seeded in us by a perhistoric super – race that knew they were dying? Was it some form of supernatural process? Did our ancient ancestors eat magic mushrooms and experience an expansion of consciousness? All these are theories believe by some.

My advice is don’t think about these things too much, it has driven people crazy.

Other studies show that is not true. Baysean inference might have been a factor in either conclusion. That’s the trouble with scientific studies.
However Chimps and Bonobos are reckoned to have evolved from a common species about a million years ago, around the same time as homo erectus separated into neanderthalis and sapiens.
Chimps are pretty much as they were then according to naturalists and anthropoligists, we made the leap from sapiens to sapiens sapiens and now construct tower blocks almost a mile high, fly around the world in jet aircraft, and invent increasingly sophisticated ways of killing each other. Given that they have had the same amount of time to develop, I’d say chimp intelligence cannot reasonably be compared with human intelligence.

So why have chimps not evolved when we have? That’s a part of the mystery.

Other studies? Well here’s one.
Pioneering brain study reveals ‘software’ differences between humans and monkeys

Then there’s Thomas Suddendorf’s work in which he identifies what he calls episodic memory as a big part of what differentiates us from all other species.
Episodic memory versus episodic foresight: Similarities and differences
(you have to have hacking skills to open this one, but it’s not that difficult
It’s late now and I don’t want to sit here all night compiling a comprehensive list, so I’ll leave you to continue in your own time.

Ian Thorpe

No, it doesn’t. That’s because the research paper is about the things that make humans unique among species. And the question asked was about whether here is any possibility humans are not a product of evolution. Thus my reply concerned that mystery of how we humans developed our unique intellige…


Phil Dunlap

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