Should evolution be taught in high sc...

Should evolution be taught in high school?

There are 179697 comments on the www.scientificblogging.com story from Feb 24, 2008, titled Should evolution be taught in high school?. In it, www.scientificblogging.com reports that:

Microbiologist Carl Woese is well known as an iconoclast. At 79 years of age, Woese is still shaking things up. Most recently, he stated in an interview with Wired that...

"My feeling is that evolution shouldn't be taught at the lower grades. You don't teach quantum mechanics in the grade schools. One has to be quite educated to work with these concepts; what they pass on as evolution in high schools is nothing but repetitious tripe that teachers don't understand."

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#160284 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
You are shifting the definition of communication when you go from bacterial exchanges to this article. All communication at the bacterial level consists of is an exchange of chemical signals that initiate a cascade of other chemical reactions, which changes behavior. Why you think that is consciousness is beyond me.
It's called Quorum sensing, and is an established science of microbial and bacterial communication , that is a realization under study.

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#160285 Dec 23, 2013
And whether you believe in God or not. Wishing you all a Safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or if you prefer Happy and Safe Holidays. This goes out to everyone, even my nemesis Dannyboy.

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#160286 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
And that then means it is not a 'conscious' thing: it is an automatic thing.
So, once again, we come down to a matter of definitions. Do bacteria have a sense of self? I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Do plants have a sense of self? Again, I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Does it 'feel like' anything to be a plant? Again, I strongly doubt it. There is no 'consciousness' there.
But there *is* such consciousness for, say a cat or a dog. There *is* such for a bird. I am not so convinced about planaria, for example and I strongly doubt there is such for jellyfish or sponges. Communication does not imply consciousness.
You are applying consciousness and conscious to terms a being with a hundred trillion synapses and the neural net or the most gifted type being ever to grace the known universe.
To understand consciousness on a level so far below the senses you possess, is a very hard thing to do. Of course it is not on a level so high as we sport. But can you realize that consciousness can exist without eyes, ears, nose, touch , or taste, at a levels imperceptible to the amplified perceptions we posses ? Can you even try to think it could?

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#160287 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
And that then means it is not a 'conscious' thing: it is an automatic thing.
So, once again, we come down to a matter of definitions. Do bacteria have a sense of self? I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Do plants have a sense of self? Again, I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Does it 'feel like' anything to be a plant? Again, I strongly doubt it. There is no 'consciousness' there.
But there *is* such consciousness for, say a cat or a dog. There *is* such for a bird. I am not so convinced about planaria, for example and I strongly doubt there is such for jellyfish or sponges. Communication does not imply consciousness.
Here you falter and badly , sea stars and and echinoderms are at a different level than us .
But clearly are conscious and have a will as well as plans, not easily understood or realized without time lapsed film techniques.

http://vimeo.com/45154593

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#160288 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
And that then means it is not a 'conscious' thing: it is an automatic thing.
So, once again, we come down to a matter of definitions. Do bacteria have a sense of self? I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Do plants have a sense of self? Again, I strongly doubt it. How would we tell? Does it 'feel like' anything to be a plant? Again, I strongly doubt it. There is no 'consciousness' there.
But there *is* such consciousness for, say a cat or a dog. There *is* such for a bird. I am not so convinced about planaria, for example and I strongly doubt there is such for jellyfish or sponges. Communication does not imply consciousness.
Do rocks communicate, or do computers? Only if we define the communication between living things doe it imply consciousness. Do we communicate with the dead..the unconscious? hmmm
Does the dead communicate at all ? Does the unconscious communicate? Maybe because unconscious is a state of conscious. Does communications succeeded when one (the sender or the receiver) is unconscious? hmmm.

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#160289 Dec 23, 2013
replaytime wrote:
<quoted text>
You don't think all living things have the drive/will to survive? Try choking a cat, a dog, a rabbit, etc etc. Everything that is trying to be killed or being killed fights back, even bacteria. That fight is the drive/will for survival. If living things had no drive/will to live they would just lay there and die. That drive/will comes from consciousness of knowing that when something is trying to kill you, that is not normal so in response fight for survival is what you get.

You were good till you made the presumption that it was consciousness that caused the behavior.

I once had a nasty virus on my computer that refused to die. It took quite a lot to finally kill it.

But it was not conscious.

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#160292 Dec 23, 2013
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
You were good till you made the presumption that it was consciousness that caused the behavior.
I once had a nasty virus on my computer that refused to die. It took quite a lot to finally kill it.
But it was not conscious.
Your computer is not alive as in "life" either now is it?

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#160293 Dec 23, 2013
replaytime wrote:
<quoted text>
Your computer is not alive as in "life" either now is it?

true, but that avoids the point, does it not?

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#160294 Dec 23, 2013
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
true, but that avoids the point, does it not?
Not really. Life is life full of consciousness, feeling, thought, and fights for survival to carry on. Your PC is nothing more than a creation from man and only does what man programs it to do. If you pull its plug it would not know nor would it care.

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#160295 Dec 23, 2013
Aura Mytha wrote:
<quoted text>
Gee IDK what would communication and consciousness be doing together?
Here's a clue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication
If communication implies consciousness, please explain Quantum entanglement ... there is no life form involved.

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#160296 Dec 23, 2013
Aura Mytha wrote:
<quoted text>
Do rocks communicate, or do computers? Only if we define the communication between living things doe it imply consciousness. Do we communicate with the dead..the unconscious? hmmm
Does the dead communicate at all ? Does the unconscious communicate? Maybe because unconscious is a state of conscious. Does communications succeeded when one (the sender or the receiver) is unconscious? hmmm.
In quantum entanglement, both are not conscious.

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#160297 Dec 23, 2013
replaytime wrote:
<quoted text>
Not really. Life is life full of consciousness, feeling, thought, and fights for survival to carry on. Your PC is nothing more than a creation from man and only does what man programs it to do. If you pull its plug it would not know nor would it care.

My point. Simple life forms do not necessarily feel, think or beholding of consciousness.

A computer virus fights to stay "alive" just as much or more than some life forms do. A computer is no more conscious than a rock. We simply have no evidence that simple life forms do more than react instinctively to a stimulus.

Now, if you ask me what I think is true, I think they have more than that, but I honestly see no evidence for it.


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#160298 Dec 23, 2013
Ooogah Boogah wrote:
<quoted text>
If communication implies consciousness, please explain Quantum entanglement ... there is no life form involved.
Wriggling like a fish doesn't imply intelligence, quantum entanglement is not a communication
it is a state of being connected. That's like saying a string passing out one end of a pipe to the other end is conscious.

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#160299 Dec 23, 2013
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
My point. Simple life forms do not necessarily feel, think or beholding of consciousness.
A computer virus fights to stay "alive" just as much or more than some life forms do. A computer is no more conscious than a rock. We simply have no evidence that simple life forms do more than react instinctively to a stimulus.
Now, if you ask me what I think is true, I think they have more than that, but I honestly see no evidence for it.
Really bad example...Viruses are not alive IRL, why would a virtual virus be alive?

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#160300 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
Wow. This shows you don't understand the concept of a 'black box'. The whole *point* of the concept is that we don't probe the internal structure, but only observe the outer effects! And that is *exactly* what we do with consciousness! if anything, the things on your list are the black boxes and everything else is NOT!
Again, misrepresenting me. Aren't you getting tired of that yet? I even defined my terms to make it easy. Still too hard?'Black box' is an arbitrary term; 'consciousness' is not an arbitrary term. I said "black box" means "at least somewhat tangible", and the inability to place something in a box is like saying it is completely intangible. That's how I defined it. Pay attention much?

Yes I understand that we observe the "outer effects", but we place an electron within a probability function. We contain it so to speak. We can't place consciousness into a brain until we can show the brain produces it. Therefore it is still intangible. We cannot work with it directly like we can an electron. Please tell me that's not too hard for you, mr token science guy for the topix team.

I suppose you'll ask me next how or why a fundamental force is intangible. Well, it is basically irrelevant whether it is considered tangible or not but IMO a fundamental force is something that exists *between* other things, not something that stands alone that we can then put into a box.

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#160301 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
of course there are! The 'handholds' are the evidence we collect and the observations we make.
Why hasn't anyone shown me any specific handholds? What direct evidence do we have of origins? You're so full of it.
I object to the use of the word 'sense' here. We do not 'sense' atoms or protons. But we do 'detect' them using extensions of our senses. And yes, there is undoubtedly more that we have not detected.
Fine I'll use the word 'detect' from now on; that's what I meant anyway.

And the way to *get* evidence is to compare those things that definitely have consciousness to those things that do not. Now, a rock, in my understanding, does not have consciousness. So we can compare things about the rock with things about a conscious human and make conclusions based on those observations.
And I said I had no problem with that. Compare away, I hope you find something but until you do, don't claim that emergent consciousness is a slam dunk.
So you admit that rocks are not conscious??
Dang dude, really; how can I admit rocks are either conscious or not when I don't know? I have already admitted that they are very different and obviously are not anywhere close to being in the same category as sentient life; all I said was basically this :
*if* consciousness originates as a fundamental quantum reality *then* I'd assume rocks to possess an *aspect* or small fundamental "quanta" of consciousness, just like everything else in existence.
Yes, there is a LOT to do. But it is clear, right now, that consciousness is a property of how the brain works.
But is it produced by the brain?
It is not a property of rocks.
What we observe in humans is not observed in rocks but that still doesn't help to determine whether consciousness is emergent or eternal.
It is even a property of the brain to the extent that changes in the brain can change the state of consciousness. THAT is simple observation. Whether that means 'emergence'(and I suspect you misunderstand that concept) is another matter.
It almost sounds like we're getting somewhere. You admit that it doesn't mean emergence. That's all I wanted to hear from you. Again, where is the argument here if that is what you believe?
Can you at least admit that brain functioning has a direct correlation with consciousness?
Kind of, yes. I mean obviously the two are integrated in some way. But is it direct? Brain functioning has a direct correlation with the 'ability to display consciousness' but until we find evidence of origins we can't say it is directly related to consciousness itself.

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#160302 Dec 23, 2013
I have to set this one apart.
poly wrote:
It is even a property of the brain to the extent that changes in the brain can change the state of consciousness. THAT is simple observation. Whether that means 'emergence'(and I suspect you misunderstand that concept) is another matter.
and
I wrote:
It almost sounds like we're getting somewhere. You admit that it doesn't mean emergence. That's all I wanted to hear from you. Again, where is the argument here if that is what you believe?
Is that cool or what? BTW, speaking of cool, why has no one commented on my "intangible beaver' idea as a definition for 'black box'? Have you guys no sense of humor anymore? Are all of you just extensions of the original stoic Drewbot?

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#160303 Dec 23, 2013
I wrote:
Granted I agree that when a subject cannot display consciousness then perhaps most or all of it is "gone" but how do we know it is "disintegrated" rather than still existing in the form of the fundamental quantum "parts" that give rise to it?
and
polymath257 wrote:
The evidence is that it is the *interaction* of those parts that produces consciousness.
Did you perhaps misunderstand me? You're saying that it's the interaction of quantum parts that gives rise to consciousness? I know that's not what you believe. First of all there is no evidence of anything when it comes to the origins of consciousness. There is evidence that the brain is involved, but no evidence the brain is the origin.
Again, making the claim that we should refrain from conclusions because absolute knowledge is impossible. There 'could be''possibilities' with 'implications'. Until you have *evidence* of such possibilities and implications, it is reasonable to take your speculations as they are: worthless for any type of understanding.
Again you are misrepresenting me.

For the hundredth time, I am not trying to promote my speculations; you are trying to promote yours. Technically emergent consciousness doesn't even qualify as an hypothesis but I agreed to let you have that one anyway. I mean there is no evidence regarding origins/emergence, just association. No one has shown me any yet. Again, when we observe a subject responding in a "conscious" way that doesn't mean we are observing the origin of consciousness, we are observing a *product/property* of an already existing consciousness. Big difference. Is it the only product or property of consciousness? Who knows?

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#160304 Dec 23, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
You refuse to define the subject of your concept of 'consciousness' except to say we don't know what it is. OF COURSE we don't know what it is! You haven't defined it and have rejected all attempts to do so. I have attempted to find clear examples of what *I* mean when I say the word 'consciousness'. You didn't like the examples, but refused to give any yourself. You claim that rocks can be 'conscious' by your standards, which means, to me, that you use the word 'conscious' in a very different way than I do.
Again, misrepresenting me. With one side of your mouth you say 'of course we can't define it' then you wonder why I haven't yet defined it. I've told you a million times what I *believe* it to be. So yes I have defined it for myself. But that is irrelevant because we cannot define, on behalf of science, before we find evidence enough to do so.

Do we define an electron to be more than "that which" produces certain properties? We don't try to define whether it is emergent of something else before we have evidence. We simply call it fundamental. So quit trying to define consciousness before you have evidence to do so. I told you already that I agree it is necessary to define terms to make it easier to work with but any definition that includes emergent consciousness is not a definition at all, but a speculation, maybe hypothesis if you're lucky. So yea, speculate away. And don't pretend it's a slam dunk when you don't know.

I didn't claim rocks are conscious. Quit the game already. I said we cannot know whether only certain things are conscious or whether everything is. We simply cannot know that. You are free to believe it but science is not free to lean on the subject.

We don't know what consciousness is and we only observe it in certain life forms. That's all you have. And that's enough I suppose to consider it a hypothesis, but it's still a gray area; when we talk about abiogenesis and you guys insist, without evidence, that it was a spontaneous process, and you say that the absence of evidence (for it being a spontaneous process) is not evidence of absence. But here you don't allow me to have that same power of assertion you claimed for yourself. The absence of evidence *may* be evidence of absence or it may not be; NO ONE KNOWS. You insist spontaneous abiogenesis was a slam dunk and you insist emergent consciousness is a slam dunk. You can believe it but you can't insist on behalf of science.
This isn't a true/false proposition. it is a definitional issue: what do *you* mean when you use the word 'consciousness'? Your idea of it is obviously quite different than mine, but I truthfully have no idea what you mean when you use the word. And then you refuse to give examples so I can hope to learn your terminology. Somehow you seem to think I should understand what you mean even though you refuse to give a definition. GIVE SOME EXAMPLES!
I've given you all kinds of examples over the years. You're gonna pretend you don't know? You lost your edge. You used to be able to fake it better; now it's too easy to tell. I've told you what I believe a million times but it doesn't matter what I believe, no one can define it any more specifically than "that which produces the property of being sentient". We can't assume we know where it originates.

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#160305 Dec 23, 2013
polymath wrote:
But that is exactly part of the evidence that consciousness is a process in the brain! It is the very fact that a simple administration of a drug, which affects the workings of the brain, can shut down consciousness that shows consciousness to be certain workings of the brain. We can even point to crucial parts of the brain that need to work 'properly' for there to be consciousness.

So, no, consciousness is NOT the same as 'molecular complexity'. But such complexity is required to run the *process* that is consciousness.
I'm not saying processes that we observe in the brain are not a product of consciousness; I'm saying that we cannot know whether consciousness is emergent of the brain or whether it is as eternal as energy itself. If consciousness was emergent then why do we sleep? Molecules don't need rest. And *what* is sleep? Gee so much confidence you have amidst so much mystery.

Do you still not see that what you say *assumes* you know whether consciousness is emergent rather than providing evidence that it is? Let me reword your statement to make it more appropriate.'We can even point to crucial parts of the brain that need to work properly in order we can witness a display of consciousness'.
Again, what you refer to as consciousness is actually 'a display of consciousness' or 'the ability to show consciousness'. Those are two different things until proven the same.

The fact that this charade matters so much to you is suspicious and telling. By 'charade' I mean your feigning to not understand or acknowledge what I am saying and/or acting like it doesn't make sense.

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