The cover story of the current (March 2008)issue of National Geographic is “Inside Animal Minds.”
It is an interesting, persuasive, and I’m sure quite unintentional argument against the Darwinist position that mind is an illusory epiphenomenon of the material brain.
The article presents truly interesting examples of studies involving dogs, elephants, fish, primates, sheep, octopus, dolphins, and birds purportedly showing that these animals have real minds and are not just behavioristic, deterministic biological machines.
The article further credits Darwin with the original insight that “earthworms are cognitive beings”
The examples they cite do make a good case that animals have real minds, not just a set of biologically and environmentally encoded behavior, and argues against “behaviorism, which regards animals as little more than machines.”
It asks the really excellent question: “But if animals are simply machines, how can the appearance of human intelligence be explained?” (page 48)
Note that this statement strongly implies (unintentionally I’m sure) that humans are not simply machines and that human intelligence cannot be explained by evolution from behavioristic/deterministic animals.
The whole point of the article is that animals have minds that are not qualitatively different from humans, and therefore it’s reasonable and consistent with evolutionary theory that humans evolved from animals.
These animals act like they possess at least an element of free will. Though that phrase is not explicit in the article, it is strongly implicit: “I’m never sure what he’ll do,” exudes the trainer of the famous parrot Alex, after proclaiming how humanlike the bird’s behavior is.
The Geographic expresses brief puzzlement that even though birds’ minds demonstrate humanlike characteristics; “…we don’t have a recently shared ancestry with birds. Their evolutionary history is very different; our last common ancestor with all birds was a reptile that lived over 300 million years ago.”
But not to worry. Darwinists are quickly reassured that “evolution can invent similar forms of advanced intelligence more than once.”
Once again we are taught that evolution can do anything. Even repeatedly invent advanced intelligence. Wow.
But even that astonishing claim isn’t the most remarkable thing about this article.
The part I found most interesting is the strongly implied assumption that human minds are not just deterministic epiphenomena of brains. If they were, there would obviously be no need for this article arguing that animal minds are not just deterministic epiphenomena of brains. This is a very significant argument and implied admission of the reality of mind.
it seems the evolutionists are now trying to have it both ways on the subject of mind:
On the one hand, Darwinists have long argued that human mind can’t be separate from the material brain, otherwise materialistic evolution couldn’t explain it.
On the other hand, this article now argues that animal minds are not deterministic machines, because “if animals are simply machines, how can the appearance of human intelligence be explained?”
By trying to have it both ways, they’ve painted themselves into a corner:
If these many animal studies truly do show that animals possess real minds, implying real free will, pure materialism is going to have a difficult time explaining them. That’s why Darwinists are usually so hell-bent on denying the reality of mind.
But if humans truly are simply complex behavioristic machines, how will the Darwinists explain these animal studies showing that even animals have real minds?
I wonder how carefully National Geographic thought this one through.