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Why can’t we make apes behave like people?

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Pan troglodytes & Pan paniscus.jpg
common chimpanzee and bonobo/Chandres William H. Calvin, CC

If we are 99% chimpanzee, as claimed? Many researchers think that apes are just like us and that
we’re not doing the right things to make them start behaving that way…

According to comparative developmental psychologist Kim Bard, “Environment, not evolution, might underlie some human-ape differences,” charging that “underlying bias and poor experimental designs” account for the poor intellectual showing of apes as opposed to humans:

“These studies suffer from the same type of prejudice that once existed in studies of human intelligence, which started from a biased position of assuming northern Europeans were innately more intelligent than southern Europeans. We argue the same type of bias is apparent in cross-species studies.”

Professor Bard said: “Historically, many researchers have claimed humans are superior to apes in social intelligence, but the research is based on studies of captive adult apes isolated from European-style social interaction and human (usually children) from rich western cities. These experiment designs are simply not valid for the comparative study of species differences.

University of Portsmouth, “Environment, Not Evolution, Might Underlie Some Human-ape Differences” At Sciencedaily, 15 July 2019″

Apes are just like us but for some reason, they do not behave that way?

Actually, we have been here before and will doubtless be here again. In 2011, Erin Wayman told us at Smithsonian Magazine, “‘Talking’ apes are not just the stuff of science fiction; scientists have taught many apes to use some semblance of language.”

Have they? If so, why has it all subsided? What happened?

Denyse O’Leary, “Researchers: Apes are just like us!” at Mind Matters News

Further reading: Apes can be generous Are they just like humans then? (Michael Egnor)

Can animals reason? My challenge to Jeffrey Shallit (Michael Egnor)

Does social ability distinguish human intelligence from that of apes? Not altogether, of course, but it plays a bigger role than we sometimes assume. (Denyse O’Leary)

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64 Replies to “Why can’t we make apes behave like people?

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    In one respect, they have a point. When we study other species from the bias of human exceptionalism, we are bound to arrive at the wrong conclusion. It is this bias that leads us to believe that ET is more intelligent that Tarzan’s Cheetah, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    I want to rage after I read this article because of the heads I win tails you lose argument that they have in listed here

    First off the whole reasoning behind testing whether or not chips are like us is to derail human exceptionalism. But since tests did not prove the point that chimps are exactly the same as us or they’re only different by degrees, Now they are blaming human exceptionalism, that is our belief in this myth, for the reason we have not been able to prove that chimps and humans are only different by degrees or the same.

    I honestly don’t even know where to begin but this shit angered me so much it’s unbelievable

    I have read for years the trite that humans and chimps are pretty much the same “look at they’re about to go into the Stone Age out in the wild”

    “Look they can kind of do math” “look they can kind of do sign language”

    Now there is this movement that says that our tests aren’t fair and that we will realize that they’re exactly the same as we are once we stop testing them with test meant for humans

    This is the part where I start slapping the hell out of people
    Maybe just maybe chimps aren’t passing these tests because (wait for it) they aren’t human in the first damn place. Just a thought. Maybe a dog isn’t a pig maybe a bear isn’t a dog maybe a pig isn’t a chimp And maybe a chimp isn’t human

    This type of logic is only motivated by trying to prove an agenda which in this case “let’s just prove human exceptionalism because we are smart and hate religion”

    And this type of logic only comes from “Guess what?!” humans!!! (Mind blown)

    Let’s get a few things straight

    If a chimp
    can’t pass human test it’s because it’s a chimp

    If it can’t be conditioned into being or acting like a human it’s because it’s a chimp

    If it can’t build the tools like we do and can’t think the way we do well guess what it’s a chimp

    It was the motivation to derail human exceptionalism
    By proving they can be like us. Guess what they’re not like us and they never will be!

    This the same reason why I cannot toss a bunch of people off of a cliff it’s all people start freaking growing wings because they evolved wings because those were the ones that survived

    It doesn’t work that way

    The bottom line is this humans are exceptional for many reasons, one is that were even having this discussion and that makes this painfully hypocritical

    Let’s put this on a biological standpoint, one that everybody can understand

    Humans are the kings of this planet they are the species that is the most dominant

    Why are they the most dominant?

    It’s not because we rely on physical features to allow us to adapt to our environment

    We are the most adaptable because we do the exact opposite, we rely on changing our behaviors instead of our physical features

    And the reason why we are capable of doing that is because we do think abstractly we do have a mental process that is above normal animals

    You could say it’s due to more complex neurons tied together you can say it’s because the fact that we were created in the image of God it doesn’t matter the source it is the fact that we still have this

    It is this ability that enables us to invent machines that enable us to fly into the sky, it is this ability that enables us to live in every single environment except for extremely deadly environment. EI liquid hot magma. We haven’t figured out how to live in liquid hot magma. Never mind the fact that we have figured out how to enter space get onto the moon and possibly start colonizing other planets. That shits Is not exceptional! Especially since no complex species on the planet has mastered any form Of travel between Celestial bodies.

    But what drives me up the fence more is the fact that the only group that is said that chimps are different from human beings are the ones that believe in human exceptionalism because they realize humans are different from chimps.

    Humans are the most dangerous most adaptable Organism on the planet we are exceptional by default even by our rules that we created for the guidelines of evolution, we are the top dog, Fitness comes from adaptability, we are the most adaptable, We are the most adaptable because we do not rely on physical features to adept, We do not need to wait for change or mutation to adapt. And this is all due to our ability to think outside the box

    We are the most adaptable most capable most intelligent species on the planet

    We are not the same as other species and you know what let’s get this straight to most of the other species may sport similarities but they are not the same either

    According to Darwinian evolution is the most adaptable organism that wins and is the most successful therefore by definition is the most exceptional

    Which we are that

    There is no chimpanzees living in the Antarctic they have a very specific location on this planet as do many other species that I found their niche

    We create our own environment we can live in any environment and we are capable of out thinking almost every single problem, we created science……
    Without invoking God we are exceptional. And sometimes we are exceptionally stupid >:(

  3. 3
    EDTA says:

    Obviously we have been giving them the wrong tests. From now on, we needs tests that are customized to them, their environment, their culture: “If Eva is covered in 100 lice, and Ben is covered in 200 lice, how many lice are on them both?” “If Carson has 6 bananas, and a neighboring tribe invades and steals 1 banana, how many bananas does Carson have left?”

    See? We’ve been doing it wrong all these years!

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    EDTA!!

    A beautiful response

  5. 5
    Brother Brian says:

    EDTA

    Obviously we have been giving them the wrong tests. From now on, we needs tests that are customized to them, their environment, their culture:

    For decades our IQ and aptitude tests were ranking African Americans lower than European Americans.

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    BB Again human Exceptionalism if they’re not human they can’t pass the test that simple……………………………………………….

    Yep, now that’s probably one of the most awful things I’ve ever said that is definitely a joke by the way, and I have never Disagreed more with the fallacious use of IQ test to try to prove that African-Americans were dumber than Europeans.

    And I despise and truly detest the fact that we did rank those tests and rig those tests the show that African-Americans were dumber than Europeans

    Fact that there are people still today that sit there and say yes there is an intelligence difference and theses tests prove it is despicable

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    BB claims that, “When we study other species from the bias of human exceptionalism, we are bound to arrive at the wrong conclusion.”

    BB is not just some Atheistic crank on UD but BB is actually echoing a mainstream position that is held in academia today:

    IN DEFENSE OF HUMAN EXCEPTIONALISM
    by Wesley J. Smith – 7 . 5 . 07
    Excerpt: Tearing humans off the pedestal of exceptionalism is all the rage today among academics, philosophers, and other assorted members of the intelligentsia. The war against unique human worth¯of which many remain unaware¯is being mounted on many fronts:

    • “Personhood Theory” in bioethics claims that granting humans unique moral status based simply on being human is “speciesism,” and hence membership in the moral community should be based on being a “person”¯for example, possessing certain cognitive capacities (whether animal, human, space alien, or machine), such as being self-aware over time.
    • The animal rights/liberation movement also seeks to knock us off the pedestal in the cause of elevating animals to equal moral worth with people. Thus, many liberationists urge that we base a being’s value on “painience,” that is, the capacity to experience pain. Since cows feels pain just as humans do, bovines are people too, and hence ranching cattle is as evil as slavery.
    • Radical environmentalists and deep ecologists claim humans are a vermin species afflicting the living Gaia and that our population should be cut drastically so that earth can return to an Eden-like state.
    • Meanwhile, the philosophical materialists proclaim that humans are merely so much meat on the hoof and, indeed, that species distinctions are fictional given our many shared genes with animals and all life having evolved out of the same primordial soup. This means, as novelist and journalist John Darnton put it in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005, “We are all of us, dogs and barnacles, pigeons and crabgrass, the same in the eyes of nature, equally remarkable and equally dispensable.”
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2007/07/a-call-to-arms-in-defense-of-h

    And although atheists apparently, as the OP, BB, and the above article, made clear, desperately want to claim that humans are not really all that different from apes, and that it is our own bias that gives us the false impression that we are profoundly different from apes, might I suggest that we have good reason to believe we are profoundly different from apes? After all humans have built rockets to send other humans to the moon and back:

    “They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? …”
    – Wernher von Braun – Was the main scientist responsible for developing the rockets that landed men on the moon 50 years ago this month
    https://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/VonBraun-final-clean-JBG-web-683×1024.jpg
    WHY A SCIENTIST BELIEVES IN GOD – 06/16/2019
    https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/why-a-scientist-believes-in-god/
    ,,, “it was von Braun who, in the morning hours of that fateful 16 July 1969, had to give the final answer to the question: “Are we ready to launch?”,,,,
    A week later, when the astronauts were safely back on Earth, a reporter wanted to know: “Dr. von Braun, what did you think after you had given your final ‘yes’ a week ago?”–“I quietly said the Lord’s prayer,” was his answer.”
    – The Religious Affiliation of Rocket Engineer and Inventor – Wernher von Braun
    http://www.adherents.com/peopl.....Braun.html

    So much for the claim from atheists that devout Christians are anti-science.

    Whereas monkeys, the last time I checked, are no where close to sending another monkey to the moon, much less appreciating Shakespeare

    Give six monkeys a computer, and what do you get? Certainly not the Bard
    Excerpt: It is a favourite question of pub philosophers everywhere. If you gave an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, would they eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare?
    The answer to this, mathematicians assure us, is yes. But now someone has attempted to put the theory to the test. Admittedly the British academics involved in this unusual project did not have an infinite number of typewriters, nor monkeys, nor time, but they did have six Sulawesi crested macaque monkeys, and one computer, and four weeks for them to get creative.
    The results of this trial at Paignton zoo in Devon were more Mothercare than Macbeth. The macaques – Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan – produced just five pages of text between them, primarily filled with the letter S.
    There were greater signs of creativity towards the end, with the letters A, J, L and M making fleeting appearances, but they wrote nothing even close to a word of human language.
    “It was a hopeless failure in terms of science but that’s not really the point,” said Geoff Cox ,of Plymouth University’s MediaLab, who designed the test. So what were the academics trying to achieve? “It wasn’t actually an experiment as such, it was more like a little performance,” said Mr Cox.
    The project – which was paid for with £2,000 of Arts Council money – was intended to emphasise differences between animals and machines, he went on. “The monkeys aren’t reducible to a random process. They get bored and they shit on the keyboard rather than type.” The computer was protected with a perspex box, with holes for the monkeys to poke fingers through to hit the keys.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/may/09/science.arts

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
    – Shakespeare

    Perhaps BB will claim that the preceding ‘experiment’ with monkeys was also biased? Yet more detailed analysis reveals that, “this symbolic-relational discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture alone can explain,,,”

    Darwin’s mistake: explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. – 2008
    Excerpt: Over the last quarter century, the dominant tendency in comparative cognitive psychology has been to emphasize the similarities between human and nonhuman minds and to downplay the differences as “one of degree and not of kind” (Darwin 1871).,,, To wit, there is a significant discontinuity in the degree to which human and nonhuman animals are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system (PSS) (Newell 1980). We show that this symbolic-relational discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture alone can explain,,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18479531

    There is simply no evidence whatsoever that apes have any grasp of the basic rules of grammar:

    A scientist looks again at Project Nim – Trying to teach Chimps to talk fails
    Excerpt: “The language didn’t materialize. A human baby starts out mostly imitating, then begins to string words together. Nim didn’t learn. His three-sign combinations – such as ‘eat me eat’ or ‘play me Nim’ – were redundant. He imitated signs to get rewards. I published the negative results in 1979 in the journal Science, which had a chilling effect on the field.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....pabilities

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    The Galilean Challenge – Noam Chomsky – April 2017
    Excerpt: The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them. It is the most striking feature of this curious organism, and a foundation for its remarkable achievement,,,
    There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.,,,
    Our intricate knowledge of what even the simplest words mean is acquired virtually without experience. At peak periods of language acquisition, children acquire about a word an hour, often on one presentation.26 The rich meaning of even the most elementary words must be substantially innate.
    The evolutionary origin of such concepts is a complete mystery.,,,
    — Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....-challenge

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Perhaps BB, and atheistic academics in general who teach at American universities, may claim that this ‘species specific’ capacity for language does not really make humans all that exceptional. On that point I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with them.

    Best Selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by the honest confession by leading Darwinists that language is ‘species specific’ to humans that he wrote a book on the subject.,,,

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, and sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, shelter, in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also for our pleasure.

    And although the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, that allowed humans to become ‘masters of the planet’, was rather crude to begin with, (i.e. spears, arrows, and plows etc..), this top down infusion of immaterial information into material substrates has become much more impressive over the last half century or so.

    Specifically, the ‘top-down’ infusion of mathematical and/or logical information into material substrates lies at the very basis of many, if not all, of man’s most stunning, almost miraculous, technological advances in recent decades.

    Here are a couple of articles which clearly get this ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information point across:

    Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011
    Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
    Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.
    “When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/p.....-math.html

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: page 5: A: Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, ,,,
    The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    What is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to dominate the world through the ‘top-down’ infusion of information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    In the following video at the 48:24 mark Zeilinger states that “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information” and he goes on to note at the 49:45 mark the Theological significance of “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    Vlatko Vedral, who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and is also a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, states

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    Moreover, “The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world.”

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    ,,, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words they bind to.
    Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....140252.htm

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability infuse information into material substrates.

    I guess a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    And that is precisely the proof claimed within Christianity.

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ on a Solid Oval Object Under The Beard – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    It is this bias that leads us to believe that ET is more intelligent that Tarzan’s Cheetah, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

    All the evidence says that I am smarter than you will ever be. And that same evidence says that all primates are smarter than Brother Brian is.

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Can animals reason?

    The evidence says that they can and do reason.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.”
    – Michael Egnor

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: It is important to understand the fundamental difference between humans and nonhuman animals. Nonhuman animals such as apes have material mental powers. By material I mean powers that are instantiated in the brain and wholly depend upon matter for their operation. These powers include sensation, perception, imagination (the ability to form mental images), memory (of perceptions and images), and appetite. Nonhuman animals have a mental capacity to perceive and respond to particulars, which are specific material objects such as other animals, food, obstacles, and predators.
    Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.
    I stress here the difference between representation and instantiation. Representation is the map of a thing. Instantiation is the thing itself. Universals can be represented in matter — the words I am writing in this post are representations of concepts — but universals cannot be instantiated in matter. I cannot put the concepts themselves on a computer screen or on a piece of paper, nor can the concepts exist physically in my brain. Concepts, which are universals, are immaterial.
    Nonhuman animals are purely material beings. They have no concepts. They experience hunger and pain. They don’t contemplate the injustice of suffering.
    A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power. Our intellect and our will depend on matter for their ordinary function, in the sense that they depend upon perception and imagination and memory, but they are not themselves made of matter. It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. It is obvious and manifest in our biological nature. We are rational animals, and our rationality is all the difference. Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man.
    The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Dr. Egnor does not claim that animals can not be very clever about physical things… Egnor’s claim is that “Only man thinks abstractly”.

    CAN ANIMALS “REASON”? MY CHALLENGE TO JEFFREY SHALLIT
    He believes that animals can engage in abstract thinking. What abstractions do they reason about?
    MICHAEL EGNOR MAY 30, 2019
    Excerpt: “Only man thinks abstractly; that is the ability to reason. No animal, no matter how clever, can think abstractly or reason. Animals can be very clever but their cleverness is always about concrete things—about the bone they are playing with, or about the stranger they are barking at. They don’t think about “play” or “threat” as abstract concepts.,,,
    So I have a challenge for Dr. Shallit, who claims that animals have the ability to reason and to think abstractly, without thinking about particular things. When an animal is “reasoning” about an abstract concept—number theory say, or financial markets—just what is in the animal’s mind, if not a thought of a physical object or a word? What do these animals who can “reason” reason about?”
    – Michael Egnor
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/05/an-atheist-argues-against-reason/

    The Representation Problem and the Immateriality of the Mind – Michael Egnor – February 5, 2018
    Excerpt: Thoughts may be divided into thoughts about particulars and thoughts about universals. Thoughts about particulars are thoughts, including perceptions, imagination, memory, etc., about particular objects in our environments. Thoughts about my coffee, or my car, or my family would be thoughts about particulars.
    Thoughts about universals are abstract thoughts, and are thoughts about concepts. Justice, mercy, logic, mathematics, etc., are abstract thoughts.
    For a materialist, all thoughts are generated by the brain. All that exists is matter, as understood by physics and chemistry. Thus, all thoughts, for the materialist, are generated purely physically, by neurons, neurotransmitters, action potentials, etc. So when we think about a particular object, that thought must somehow actually be a physical thing — a molecule or a relationship between molecules, etc. But of course, if I think about a particular thing — my cat Tabby, for example — my actual cat Tabby isn’t in my brain, so the materialist would say that my cat Tabby is somehow “represented” in my brain, and that representation constitutes the thought, without (immaterial) remainder. In the materialist view, all thought is, boiled down, matter of some sort, or is at least wholly represented in matter.
    For thoughts about particular objects, this materialist scheme is not entirely implausible. For some aspects of visual perception, for example, there is a mapping of the visual field from the retina to the cortex, so that an image (of sorts) is represented in the brain as a field of neurons that are activated in a pattern. One might say that the pattern is the representation of the visual image. This still leaves much to be explained, but at least it is not utterly implausible to say that a thought about a particular thing — for example, a perception of my cat Tabby — is a representation in my brain. We still have no scientific (or metaphysical) explanation as to how this neuronal pattern actually becomes the thought, of course. But mental representation may provide a real level of explanation for thought about particulars.
    But abstract thought is different. Consider a thought about justice. Justice is a concept, not a particular thing existing in the physical world. The materialist must ask: how can a thought about justice be represented in the brain? It certainly can’t merely be a mapped field in the cortex — justice has no shape or physical pattern, unlike my cat Tabby. A materialist would no doubt say that, like perception of particulars, thought about justice is represented in the cortex. But note carefully what representation means: a representation is a map of a thing. It presumes the existence, in the physical world, of that which it maps. A representation of a city — a map — presumes the city. A representation of my cat presumes my cat. And here’s the problem: a representation of my thought about justice presumes my thought about justice. So representation cannot provide any final explanation for abstract thought, because the representation of an abstract thought, even if it exists, presupposes the abstract thought itself.
    As an example, let us suppose that a certain pattern of neuronal activation in my cortex were shown to represent my thought about justice. Obviously that pattern is not my thought about justice itself — justice is a concept, not a bunch of neurons. And if that pattern of neuronal activation represented my thought about justice, it must map to my thought of justice, which presupposes my thought about justice and thus cannot explain it.
    Succinctly, mental representation of abstract thought presupposes abstract thought, and cannot explain it. It is on abstract thought that materialism, as a theory of mind, flounders. Abstract thought, classically understood as intellect and will, are inherently immaterial. Any representation in the brain of abstract thought (while it may exist) necessarily presupposes abstract thought itself, which must, by its nature, be an immaterial power of the mind.
    The human mind is a composite of material particular thought and immaterial abstract thought. Interestingly, modern neuroscience supports this view. Perception of particulars maps with precision to brain anatomy, but abstract thought is not mapped in the same way. Material powers of the brain are ordinarily necessary for exercise of abstract thought (e.g., you have to be awake to think about justice), but matter is not sufficient for abstract thought.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-representation-problem-and-the-immateriality-of-the-mind/

    The challenge from Dr Egnor to Dr. Shallit is not so easily brushed off by merely pointing to clever crows manipulating ‘tools’ or by pointing to some other ‘clever’ animal behavior. Case in point, as was mentioned in post 7, abstract human language itself is now established to be ‘species specific’ to humans. Here a few more references to further drive this point home.

    The Siege of Paris – Robert Berwick & Noam Chomsky – March 2019
    Excerpt: Linguists told themselves many stories about the evolution of language, and so did evolutionary biologists; but stories, as Richard Lewontin rightly notes, are not hypotheses, a term that should be “reserved for assertions that can be tested.”4
    The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.5,,,
    How far back does language go? There is no evidence of significant symbolic activity before the appearance of anatomically modern humans 200 thousand years ago (kya).22,,,
    There is no evidence that great apes, however sophisticated, have any of the crucial distinguishing features of language and ample evidence that they do not.48 Claims made in favor of their semantic powers, we might observe, are wrong. Recent research reveals that the semantic properties of even the simplest words are radically different from anything in animal symbolic systems.49,,,
    Why only us?,,, We were not, of course, the first to ask them. We echo in modern terms the Cartesian philosophers Antoine Arnauld and Claude Lancelot, seventeenth-century authors of the Port-Royal Grammar, for whom language with its infinite combinatorial capacity wrought from a finite inventory of sounds was uniquely human and the very foundation of thought. It is subtle enough to express all that we can conceive, down to the innermost and “diverse movements of our souls.”
    https://inference-review.com/article/the-siege-of-paris
    Robert Berwick is a Professor in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT.
    Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.

    Kept in Mind – Juan Uriagereka – March 2019
    Review of: Language in Our Brain: The Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity
    by Angela Friederici
    Excerpt: Which part of our brain carries information forward in time? No one knows. For that matter, no one knows what a symbol is, or where symbolic interactions take place. The formal structures of linguistics and neurophysiology are disjoint, a point emphasized by Poeppel and David Embick in a widely cited study.2,,,
    No one has distinguished one thought from another by dissecting brains. Neuroimaging tells us only when some areas of the brain light up selectively. Brain wave frequencies may suggest that different kinds of thinking are occurring, but a suggestion is not an inference—even if there is a connection between certain areas of the brain and seeing, hearing, or processing words. Connections of this sort are not nothing, of course, but neither are they very much.,,,
    Some considerable distance remains between the observation that the brain is doing something and the claim that it is manipulating various linguistic representations. Friederici notes the lapse. “How information content is encoded and decoded,” she remarks, “in the sending and receiving brain areas is still an open issue—not only with respect to language, but also with respect to the neurophysiology of information processing in general.”5,,,
    Cognitive scientists cannot say how the mass or energy of the brain is related to the information it carries. Everyone expects that more activity in a given area means more information processing. No one has a clue whether it is more information or more articulated information, or more interconnected information, or whether, for that matter, the increased neuro-connectivity signifies something else entirely.,,,
    ,,, present-day observational technology does not seem capable of teasing apart these different components of syntax at work,,,,
    https://inference-review.com/article/kept-in-mind
    Juan Uriagereka is a linguist at the University of Maryland.

    Of course, it is the immaterial nature of information itself that forever stymies any materialistic hope of ever explaining how man ever acquired his unique ability to manipulate, and reason abstractly about, immaterial information. On the other hand, for the Christian Theist, and as was already pointed out in post 8, this line of evidence is very strong evidence that we are indeed made in the image of God.

    Thus, while there are certainly many examples of animals being very clever with material things, there simply is ZERO evidence that animals are able to think and reason abstractly about immaterial information.

    Of supplemental note, although atheists often pride themselves on being ‘rational’, logic and reasoning themselves are based in Theism, not atheistic materialism:

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: For Clark, thoughts merely appear out of matter, which has no properties, by the laws of physics, for generating thought. For Clark to assert that naturalistic matter as described by physics gives rise to the mind, without immateriality of any sort, is merely to assert magic.
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    “Think of the irony: a professor of philosophy, who is paid only to reason, uses reason to argue against reason. Welcome to the bowels of atheist metaphysics. It would be funny if it were not so dangerous to our culture and to our souls”
    – AN ATHEIST ARGUES AGAINST REASON
    And thinks it is the reasonable thing to do
    MICHAEL EGNOR MAY 24, 2019
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/05/an-atheist-argues-against-reason/

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    “Atheists can give no reason why they should value reason, and Christians can show how anyone who believes in reason must also believe in God.”
    Cogito; Ergo Deus Est by Charles Edward White
    Philosophy Still Lives Because God Isn’t Dead

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Verse and quote:

    John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Again- chimps plan to hunt monkeys. When they do so they are reasoning and thinking abstract thoughts. They block imagined escape routes before beginning the attack.

    It is beyond surprising that openly religious people think that God is incapable of Creating animals that can reason.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Much like Darwinists, you adamantly claim that chimps reason abstractly,, but alas, as has been pointed out already in this thread, you simply have no real scientific evidence to support your claim.

    The Galilean Challenge – Noam Chomsky – April 2017
    Excerpt: The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them. It is the most striking feature of this curious organism, and a foundation for its remarkable achievement,,,
    There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.,,,
    Our intricate knowledge of what even the simplest words mean is acquired virtually without experience. At peak periods of language acquisition, children acquire about a word an hour, often on one presentation.26 The rich meaning of even the most elementary words must be substantially innate.
    The evolutionary origin of such concepts is a complete mystery.,,,
    — Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....-challenge

    ET, given your long, admirable, history on UD of exposing the claims of Darwinists as having no real scientific evidence behind them, I would think that you would be much more careful to pay attention to what the scientific evidence itself actually says.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    bornagain77:

    Much like Darwinists, you adamantly claim that chimps reason abstractly,, but alas, as has been pointed out already in this thread, you simply have no real scientific evidence to support your claim.

    Nonsense. No one has pointed out anything beyond their personal incredulity. Good luck explaining that to God.

    My claim has nothing to do with Darwin and everything to do with a good Intelligent Design.

    Animals don’t have to use human language in order to reason and think in abstract terms. And it is very telling that you ignore what chimps do. Then there are dolphins and other cetaceans who clearly think and reason.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    How do chimps plan their attacks if they cannot reason and possess abstract thoughts?

    Why do religious people think that God is incapable of Creating other animals that can reason?

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Well actually, it was leading Darwinists themselves, who certainly cannot be accused of having a bias towards God, who have come to the conclusion that monkeys have no capacity to reason about immaterial information.

    They spent over 4 decades looking for scientific evidence. Wanted desperately for the scientific evidence to be there. But were honest enough to admit that there is no scientific evidence:

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Again with the human language schtick. And it is very telling that you have avoided my questions and example.

    Animals don’t have to use human language in order to reason and think in abstract terms.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    You claim that “Animals don’t have to use human language in order to reason and think in abstract terms.” And yet language, in its basic essence, is all about thinking ‘abstractly’ about physical objects and also about immaterial concepts. Specifically in the construction of language, abstract symbols are devised to represent not only physical objects but also represent immaterial concepts, such as mathematics.

    Without evidence for such abstract symbolic representation from animals, you simply have no scientific evidence that they are in fact reasoning abstractly.

    You adamantly claim that animals can think in ‘abstract terms’. But without any actual concrete scientific evidence that they are in fact reasoning abstractly about immaterial concepts, (i.e. thinking about universals compared to thinking about particulars to use Dr. Egnor’s terms), you are reduced to basically claiming that you have inside knowledge of the animals inner state of mind, i.e. its ‘qualia’. Yet, qualia, i.e. the ‘hard problem of consciousness’, as you well know, is forever beyond scientific investigation.

    The scientific evidence, regardless of any biases that we may have beforehand, is what it is. You simply cannot prove your claim with scientific evidence.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    Unbelievable. Just because human language is all about thinking abstractly that does NOT mean it is the ONLY way to do so.

    The scientific evidence says that animals plan. And planning requires reasoning. The imagined escape routes is an immaterial concept. The communication required to pull off the plan is akin to human language.

    Even the crow and the simple tool required reasoning. It had to imagine how it could get at the food and then carry it out.

    I have the science. You have denial.

    And it is very telling that you have avoided my questions and example.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Well actually, again, you are making claims for which you have, via the absence of anything resembling language in animals, and indeed, via the hard problem of consciousness, for which can have no scientific evidence.

    As far as actual scientific evidence itself is concerned, the claim for ‘human exceptionalism’, such as abstract reasoning about immaterial concepts such as mathematics, stands unrefuted.

    The denial is yours alone.

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    – Alfred Wallace
    https://evolutionnews.org/2010/08/alfred_russel_wallace_co-disco/

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Oh my. That you have avoided my questions, examples and reality, says it all.

    So only people who can contemplate mathematics are human? Babies who cannot grasp mathematics nor language are not human? They are just animals until the time when they can contemplate math and understand language? Really?

    The scientific evidence says that animals plan. And planning requires reasoning. The imagined escape routes is an immaterial concept. The communication required to pull off the plan is akin to human language.

    Ignoring the facts will not make them go away. And trying to define “reason” as that which only humans can do just exposes your and Egnor’s desperation

  22. 22
    AaronS1978 says:

    I am honestly going to defend ET on this one. ET is not attacking human Exceptionalism, he simply stating that animals aren’t stupid.

    Human reasoning isn’t the same as animal reasoning and we did have this discussion when the op about the brilliant wasp was posted

    If I recall correctly one was arguing about the definition of what reasoning was
    And that is important

    But animals have their version of reasoning and they do think there’s no questioning that

    There is a tremendous difference between humans and animals yes that does exist

    What animals are not stupid they do you think they can plan they have a lot of different facilities to feel and they also can be squeezed and beaten with love

    Sorry that last part was me gushing about my animals I have a lot of pets and get stupid around them

    I’m actually really shocked to see ba 77 and ET arguing

    It feels like there’s like a disturbance in the force now

  23. 23
    ET says:

    Ravens—like humans and apes—can plan for the future

    And also: Do animals have reflective minds able to self-regulate perception, reasoning, memory?

    According to one of the leading scholars in the field, there is an emerging consensus among scientists that animals share functional parallels with humans’ conscious metacognition — that is, our ability to reflect on our own mental processes and guide and optimize them.

    and Can animals recall the past and plan for the future?

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever. I have patiently, via Egnor, laid out the difference about “universals and particulars”. You have not even begun to put any evidence forth that would challenge ‘universals’ as being unique to humans.

    Again, you have no scientific evidence for your claim that we are basically no different than monkeys in our ability to think abstractly about universals, i.e. mathematics, justice, grammar..

  25. 25
    ET says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    Again, you have no scientific evidence for your claim that we are basically no different than monkeys.

    That is because I never made that claim. Clearly you have some problem reading what I post.

    Everyone can see that I have made my case and you have ignored it. And now this strawman exposes your agenda.

    Nice own goal…

  26. 26
    ET says:

    “According to one of the leading scholars in the field, there is an emerging consensus among scientists that animals share functional parallels with humans’ conscious metacognition — that is, our ability to reflect on our own mental processes and guide and optimize them.”

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    Self reflection is NOT thinking about universals.

  28. 28
    ET says:

    AaronS1978:

    ET is not attacking human Exceptionalism, he simply stating that animals aren’t stupid.

    That anyone would even think that I was attacking human exceptionalism speaks volumes about their biases.

    I never said, implied nor thought that other animals were on the same level as we are. Some may have better physical skills but we have the ability to artificially mimic them all- or at least most of them. We have the math. We have the technology.

    And WE were given dominion over the others.

    None of that is affected by other animals having the ability to reason. They have to survive. And reasoning, even limited, helps them do so.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Self reflection is NOT thinking about universals.

    OK. But that isn’t all that was covered. And your limited definition of “reason” is sheer desperation.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    “Planning is the ability to think through future events taking place at a different location. Ten years ago, Mathias Osvath, a cognitive biologist at Lund University in Sweden, designed a series of tests to measure whether other primates were planners. Great apes—like chimpanzees—passed. Monkeys failed. About the same time, researchers noticed that birds known as corvids—which include jays, crows, and ravens—also showed signs of planning. Studies over the last 20 years have revealed that these birds can use tools and deliberately hide their food caches. Many saw close parallels between human, ape, and bird brains.”

    and

    “It’s the clearest evidence for future planning in a nonhuman animal,” says Nathan J. Emery, a cognitive biologist at the University of London who was not involved with the work.

  31. 31
    Brother Brian says:

    I never thought that I would ever say this, but I agree with ET. Now I am going to have to bathe in some disinfectants.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    BA77: Self reflection is NOT thinking about universals.

    ET: OK. But that isn’t all that was covered. And your limited definition of “reason” is sheer desperation.

    Thanks for conceding ‘universals’ to me.

    Moreover I, via Egnor, never claimed that animals could not reason about particulars. In fact, in my first post I made it clear that animals can be very clever about particulars. I, via Egnor, only claimed that animals could not reason about universals.

    As to your claim that “your limited definition of “reason” is sheer desperation.”

    LOL, well that so called “limited” definition of reason, i.e. universals vs. particulars, is not something that Egnor just pulled out of thin air but is a foundational definition of reason that he acquired via Aristotle and Aquinas. A definition of reason that dominated western culture for two millennia until the rise of Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism in the 16th and 17th centuries:

    Aristotle on the Immateriality of Intellect and Will
    Michael Egnor – January 26, 2015,
    Excerpt: First, a note on the provenance of the argument. The argument is not mine. It was originally proposed by Aristotle (De Anima, Book III). For two millennia, it was the common wisdom of educated men, and was widely considered decisive. Thomas Aquinas and the scholastic philosophers developed it further (Sententia Libri De Anima). Through Aquinas and Maimonides and Averroes, this argument of the peripatetic pagan became a cornerstone of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic understanding of the mental powers of the soul….. Aristotle’s argument has never been refuted.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/01/aristotle_on_th/

  33. 33
    ET says:

    Thanks for conceding ‘universals’ to me.

    You have issues.

    Moreover I, via Egnor, never claimed that animals could not reason about particulars. In fact, in my first post I made it clear that animals can be very clever about particulars. I, via Egnor, only claimed that animals could not reason about universals.

    Planning takes care of that.

    A definition of reason that dominated western culture for two millennia until the rise of Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism in the 16th and 17th centuries:

    I rest my case. Thank you.

    I would LOVE to see that definition you two are using…

  34. 34
    Fasteddious says:

    Aren’t there cases of people trying to raise young chimps as if they were children? For example:
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/guy-simultaneously-raised-chimp-and-baby-exactly-same-way-see-what-would-happen-180952171/
    And there are studies of feral (wild) children found in remote forests who were then partly civilized, although they had problems learning how to talk. For example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=rpbk9lo5_cY
    Surely such studies and histories are key items in the subject matter of this article! Does the author not look at those cases?

    On a related note, for an analogy that explains why humans and chimps are so different despite having 99% (or is it 98, or 96%?) the same DNA, see: https://thopid.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-junk-dna-functionality-analogy.html

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    BA77: I, via Egnor, only claimed that animals could not reason about universals.

    ET: Planning takes care of that.

    Planning takes care of what??? Universals? You’re kidding right?

    Plato (427-347 B.C.)
    Plato is without a shadow of a doubt philosophy’s archetypical realist. Plato is known for the view that universal predicates are names of Forms, and to have held that these Forms themselves are eternal, non-temporal and non-spatial, and merely instantiated in perceptible particulars. Plato says that the sensible particulars “imitate” or “participate” in the Forms of which they are instantiations. Plato takes the Forms to be archetypes in the sense that they are patterns for the production of the sensible world, and that they are, in some sense not to be dwelled upon here, more perfect than sensible particulars which imitate them. The Forms are also active causes of their own instantiation in particulars; it is in virtue of the activity of the Forms that sensible particulars may have universal traits, features or essences which the Forms are.,,,
    When one speaks of Plato as a realist or when one speaks of “Platonic metaphysics”, one normally means something like this: The view that for every universal and non-privative predicate there is a Form, and that these are the eternal and perfect patterns after which the world is produced, and that these, not the particulars which instantiate them, are the subjects of truth and knowledge.[1]

    Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
    Aristotle believed, just as much as Plato did, that universals existed, but he denied that universals were singular beings, something numerically one, as Plato had thought. Aristotle also denied that any universal whose definition would include a material element (such as ‘nose’ would include ‘flesh’) could exist “separately”, i.e. at least he denied that those kinds of universals could be immaterial substances existing in separation from material things. Whether or not Aristotle thought that there were some other universals (notably what the schoolmen called “transcendentals”, such as unity, truth, goodness and being), which would be separate and either be or belong to some single being, is an open question which I personally consider to have been insufficiently explored.

    Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275 A.C.)
    St. Thomas would later defend Boethius’s version of moderate realism, but with an interesting extension. Though claiming that we can only get hold of universal concepts through experience of particulars, i.e. inductively, he also acknowledged that reality has its basis in the ideas of the divine mind. Thus sensible particulars are, to some extent at least, modeled by the divine ideas, and the universal concepts we form of them will resemble those divine ideas according to the degree with which they accurately represent the essential nature of things. So Aquinas’s moderate realism is coupled with the theory that any actual essence resembles a divine exemplar in the divine mind, so called “exemplarism”. It seems fair and well to say that Aquinas position, here, essentially resembles a traditional conception of Platonism, cf. (Roberts 2005).
    http://www.honestthinking.org/.....rsals.html

    In response to

    (universal vs. particulars) is A definition of reason that dominated western culture for two millennia until the rise of Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism in the 16th and 17th centuries:

    In response to that ET states,

    I rest my case. Thank you.

    You rest what case? Do you think that Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism somehow refuted universals? They certainly did not refute universals. If anything they ignored them altogether and science, philosophy and society have all suffered as result of that self imposed ignorance.

    Aristotle on the Immateriality of Intellect and Will
    Michael Egnor January 26, 2015
    Excerpt: With the rise of Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism in the 16th and 17th centuries, the classical argument for the immateriality of the intellect and will was simply ignored and then forgotten. Yet Aristotle’s argument has never been refuted. Modern materialists confidently deny free will and deny the immateriality of the intellect and will without even the slightest acquaintance with this pivotal argument that has been extant for two thousand years. That we take the free-will deniers seriously is a pitiful commentary on our gullibility and the poverty of our intellectual culture.

    What follows is a precis of the argument.

    We have knowledge of two kinds of things — particulars and universals. Particulars are things that exist as discrete objects in nature. An apple is a particular, as is a tree and a man.

    Universals don’t exist as discrete things in nature. Universals are characteristics of particular things. Goodness (say, a good apple), greenness (of a tree), and humanity (said of man) are universals. Universals are concepts, not discrete things existing in nature.

    Particulars are substances — things that exist in their own right. Universals are things that exist in other things — accidents, in Aristotelian terminology.

    Particulars have material agency, whereas universals don’t. If you are hit by a red truck, you are hit by the truck, not by the red.

    Aristotle asked: Is knowledge a material act, or an immaterial act? He noted that certain kinds of knowledge — such as sense-perception, imagination and memory — grasp particulars and can be readily understood as material acts. I see a rock, or a tree, or a man. Such perception of particulars can easily be understood as inherently material — or at least very tightly linked to matter. In fact, modern neuroscience has dovetailed nicely with Aristotle’s view. The visual perception of a tree involves a fully material process of light striking the retina, activating neurons and action potentials via projections to the occipital cortex, etc. In many situations, the sense-perception of an object correlates with brain activation in a somatotopic pattern. Regions of the retina project consistently to specific corresponding regions of the cortex. It’s very well organized. It’s quite elegantly material.

    Now Aristotle understood “material” in a quite different way than modern materialists do, so modern materialism is still stymied in its ability to explain even sense-perception (the qualia problem). But the general Aristotelian principle that knowledge of particulars is inherently material has withstood the test of time.

    Aristotle pointed out that universals are another issue entirely. Knowledge of universals like good and evil — the kind of knowledge on which free will is based — is mediated by intellect and will. Intellect and will entail knowledge of concepts, not particular things.

    How can a concept be instantiated in matter? Well, it can’t. Concepts (universals) are not particulars. Therefore concepts cannot be instantiated as a particular in brain tissue or as a particular in any material substrate, such as a brain state.

    Simply put: brain states are particulars, and concepts are universals, so a concept cannot be a particular brain state.

    The standard materialist reply to this observation (after the materialist admits that the two thousand year old argument is completely new to him) is that the concept is represented in a brain state. The materialist will appeal to “integrated… overlapping… massive parallel processing” or to whatever is the consensus neurobabble of the day. But all neurobabble reduces to representation. All (non-eliminative) arguments for the materiality of the intellect and will depend on brain representation of concepts.

    The materialist will have a point here, although he won’t understand it. While a universal cannot be a particular substance, it can be an accidental form in a particular substance. It is certainly true that concepts can be represented materially. I am doing so now as I type this. Perhaps concepts can be represented in the brain in some way, analogous to the way I am representing these Aristotelian concepts on my computer.

    But this doesn’t get materialists out of the bind. Imagine that a concept can be represented in a brain state, via a kind of neuro-HTML code for thought. In fact, philosopher Jerry Fodor and others have proposed a “language of thought” hypothesis that proposes that thoughts are represented in the brain by a specific syntax. The problem with the use of language of thought hypotheses to fully explain mental concepts materialistically is that a representation presupposes that which it represents.

    Imagine drawing a map of a city. You must first have a city, or the concept of a city, in order to draw the map. No city, no map. A representation is a representation of something — so the representation cannot be the complete instantiation of that thing. If the representation is the complete instantiation of a thing, the representation is the thing itself, not a representation.

    If a concept is represented in a brain state, then the concept is presupposed by the representation, and therefore you haven’t explained the concept. You’ve merely explained its representation.

    Even if materialists could show that a concept is represented in a brain state, as an accidental form rather than a substantial form, they can’t explain the concept materialistically, because the material representation of a concept by accidental form presupposes the concept.

    A further problem with the view that a concept could be an accidental form is that accidental forms have no material agency — the truck hits you, not the red — so if concepts were accidental forms, they couldn’t cause anything to happen in the material world, including in the brain. Concepts would be mere epiphenomena of brain activity, and would be causally impotent. This view, which is epiphenomenalism, hasn’t been taken seriously for centuries, for obvious reasons. In case the reason doesn’t seem obvious, consider this: if a concept is an accidental form, and it therefore has no material agency, your statement “a concept is an accidental form” couldn’t be caused by any concept that you have.

    A concept — a universal — can’t be explained materialistically.

    You may have noticed in this argument a way out for materialists. Materialists could claim that the brain state doesn’t represent the concept — it just is the concept. Materialists could claim that our folk concepts (sic) of concepts are mere ignorance of the reality that we have no concepts at all. (If you’re not chuckling now you don’t understand the argument.) This is the concept that there are no concepts. Matter is the only thing that exists. Our concepts are just matter, without remainder and aren’t representations at all.

    This view — eliminative materialism — is regnant in materialist circles. Suffice to say that eliminative materialism is the drain around which all materialism eventually swirls.

    Intellect and will are immaterial powers of the mind. The will is not determined by matter, and free will is real.

    Now all of this is not to say that intellect and will are not dependent on matter for their ordinary functioning. If you are hit in the head with a baseball bat, your immaterial intellect and will won’t work properly for a while. This is because intellect and will are dependent on material sense-perception and imagination and memory for their ordinary function. If you cannot perceive anything or imagine anything or remember anything, you have no substrate by which to understand anything. The immaterial powers of the mind function normally only when the material powers of the mind are functioning normally.

    You may notice that this Aristotelian view of the dependence of immaterial intellect and will on material sense-perception and imagination and memory comports nicely with our own experience of free will. We are obviously influenced, and sometimes influenced powerfully, by the material state of our body. We do not judge or act wisely when we are tired or drunk or sick. Sometimes the impairment is so profound that we are not held responsible for our actions (e.g., if we have schizophrenia).

    So our will is free from determinism, but influenced by matter. Sometimes the material influence is strong. Sometimes the influence is weak. Matter does not determine our will, but matter most certainly influences our will. This is our common experience.

    The heart of Aristotle’s genius was his ability to provide an enduring and masterful explanation of what all men know to be true. The modern denial of free will is a bizarre delusion, and one wonders if the deniers really believe what they say. They certainly live their lives as if free will were undeniable.

    It is a scandal that the debate over free will is taking place largely without acknowledgement or even awareness of the classical demonstration of the immateriality of intellect and will. Aristotle’s demonstration of the immateriality of intellect and will and his implicit defense of the freedom of the will from materialist determinism is as valid and pertinent today as it was two thousand years ago.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/01/aristotle_on_th/

  36. 36
    ET says:

    Of course planning takes care of universals. It pertains to future events. You are ignoring the references I posted in comment 23. You are avoiding my questions.

    Do you think that Cartesian and Hobbesian mechanical philosophy and materialism somehow refuted universals?

    Not required.

    It is only via the Design inference that I say with all confidence that animals have the ability to think and reason. And many studies have confirmed just that.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    ET: “Of course planning takes care of universals.”

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Universals, ((Goodness (say, a good apple), greenness (of a tree), and humanity (said of man) are universals)), don’t exist as discrete things in nature. The platonic forms of geometric objects are a very good example of universals.

    Animals planning about future events is reasoning about particulars, i.e. reasoning about discrete things in nature. It is not reasoning about universals.

    You state: “It is only via the Design inference that I say with all confidence that animals have the ability to think and reason. And many studies have confirmed just that.”

    You have ZERO evidence of animals reasoning about universals.

    You took exception when I stated the obvious fact that you are arguing against human exceptionalism and stated “I never said, implied nor thought that other animals were on the same level as we are. Some may have better physical skills but we have the ability to artificially mimic them all- or at least most of them. We have the math. We have the technology.
    And WE were given dominion over the others.”

    And yet, here you are again basically arguing that animals have all the same reasoning capacities as we do. If that does not undercut human exceptionalism I don’t know what does.

    So to repeat what I wrote earlier in post 7 and 8 minus the links and blockquotes

    Darwin’s mistake: explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. – 2008
    Excerpt: Over the last quarter century, the dominant tendency in comparative cognitive psychology has been to emphasize the similarities between human and nonhuman minds and to downplay the differences as “one of degree and not of kind” (Darwin 1871).,,, To wit, there is a significant discontinuity in the degree to which human and nonhuman animals are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system (PSS) (Newell 1980). We show that this symbolic-relational discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture alone can explain,,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18479531

    There is simply no evidence whatsoever that apes have any grasp of the basic rules of grammar:

    A scientist looks again at Project Nim – Trying to teach Chimps to talk fails
    Excerpt: “The language didn’t materialize. A human baby starts out mostly imitating, then begins to string words together. Nim didn’t learn. His three-sign combinations – such as ‘eat me eat’ or ‘play me Nim’ – were redundant. He imitated signs to get rewards. I published the negative results in 1979 in the journal Science, which had a chilling effect on the field.”
    per ud

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    per env

    The Galilean Challenge – Noam Chomsky – April 2017
    Excerpt: The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them. It is the most striking feature of this curious organism, and a foundation for its remarkable achievement,,,
    There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.,,,
    Our intricate knowledge of what even the simplest words mean is acquired virtually without experience. At peak periods of language acquisition, children acquire about a word an hour, often on one presentation.26 The rich meaning of even the most elementary words must be substantially innate.
    The evolutionary origin of such concepts is a complete mystery.,,,
    — Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.
    per inference

    Perhaps BB, and atheistic academics in general who teach at American universities, may claim that this ‘species specific’ capacity for language does not really make humans all that exceptional. On that point I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with them.

    Best Selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by the honest confession by leading Darwinists that language is ‘species specific’ to humans that he wrote a book on the subject.,,,

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, and sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, shelter, in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also for our pleasure.

    And although the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, that allowed humans to become ‘masters of the planet’, was rather crude to begin with, (i.e. spears, arrows, and plows etc..), this top down infusion of immaterial information into material substrates has become much more impressive over the last half century or so.

    Specifically, the ‘top-down’ infusion of mathematical and/or logical information into material substrates lies at the very basis of many, if not all, of man’s most stunning, almost miraculous, technological advances in recent decades.

    Here are a couple of articles which clearly get this ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information point across:

    Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011
    Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
    Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.
    “When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”
    per pbs

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: page 5: A: Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, ,,,
    The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    per essays

    What is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to dominate the world through the ‘top-down’ infusion of information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    In the following video at the 48:24 mark Zeilinger states that “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information” and he goes on to note at the 49:45 mark the Theological significance of “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    Vlatko Vedral, who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and is also a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, states

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    Moreover, “The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world.”

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    ,,, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words they bind to.
    Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words.
    per science daily

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability infuse information into material substrates.

    I guess a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    And that is precisely the proof claimed within Christianity.

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ on a Solid Oval Object Under The Beard – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  38. 38
    Brother Brian says:

    I hate it when the kids are fighting.

  39. 39
    ET says:

    bornagain77:

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    I am not the one avoiding questions, ducking examples and ignoring research.

    You took exception when I stated the obvious fact that you are arguing against human exceptionalism

    You couldn’t make the case that I am arguing against human exceptionalism if your life depended on it. And I am more than OK with that obvious fact.

    And yet, here you are again basically arguing that animals have all the same reasoning capacities as we do.

    Except for the obvious fact that I am not doing that.

    Just because other animals can reason, albeit to a limited extent, does not make them equal to us. As you have said they do not use mathematics nor language. Those two alone put us above them.

    Planning for future events requires abstract thought. A universal would be any monkey as opposed to the monkey or monkeys in front of the chimps. It would be any food/ reward or consequence as opposed to that which is in front of the subject.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    I hate it when the kids are fighting.

    No one is fighting with you. When we correct you, which is very often, it is always adult to child.

  41. 41
    hazel says:

    Weighing in on ET’s side: gorillas understand “banana”, I think, as a generalization of the properties of particular bananas. Of course they don’t understand it as fully as we do, nor have a word to think about it with, but the distinction is more a shade of grey, as ET is maintaining, than it is a black-and-white distinction, as ba is maintaining.

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever.

    I’ll believe monkeys are thinking about universals when I see them land other monkeys on the moon.

    Happy 50th anniversary Apollo 11 🙂

  43. 43
    ET says:

    So the people who cannot go to the moon are monkeys? Most people can only use the technology humans made. They must be monkeys.

    The people who don’t know nor care about mathematics? Monkeys.

    So the human population is actually quite small while the monkey population is much larger than believed.

  44. 44
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    I’ll believe monkeys are thinking about universals when I see them land other monkeys on the moon.

    I’ll believe that bornagain Christians are thinking about universals when I see them land other bornagain christians on the moon.

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    BB states:

    “I’ll believe that bornagain Christians are thinking about universals when I see them land other bornagain christians on the moon.”

    That is just too dog gone funny. BB let me introduce you to Wernher von Braun

    “They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? …”
    – Wernher von Braun – Was the main scientist responsible for developing the rockets that landed men on the moon 50 years ago this month
    https://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/VonBraun-final-clean-JBG-web-683×1024.jpg
    WHY A SCIENTIST BELIEVES IN GOD – 06/16/2019
    https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/why-a-scientist-believes-in-god/

    ,,, “it was von Braun who, in the morning hours of that fateful 16 July 1969, had to give the final answer to the question: “Are we ready to launch?”,,,,
    A week later, when the astronauts were safely back on Earth, a reporter wanted to know: “Dr. von Braun, what did you think after you had given your final ‘yes’ a week ago?”–“I quietly said the Lord’s prayer,” was his answer.”
    – The Religious Affiliation of Rocket Engineer and Inventor – Wernher von Braun
    http://www.adherents.com/peopl.....Braun.html

    Defending America’s Apollo Rocket Scientist (Wernher von Braun from claims that he was a Nazi) – July 1, 2019
    Excerpt: Our biography also quotes sources showing that von Braun became a born-again Christian during the Apollo program, when an engineer gave him a Gideon Bible and led him in the sinner’s prayer. After that, von Braun wrote passionately about the evidence for a Creator, and defended the right of school children to hear evidence that opposes evolution.
    https://crev.info/2019/07/defending-americas-apollo-rocket-scientist/

    And let me also introduce you to Neil Armstrong:

    Neil Armstrong: A Great American, A Devout Christian
    Excerpt: Armstrong’s life story cannot be told without mentioning his walk with Christ.
    Indeed, perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, where he made his one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.
    The American astronaut was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they got to the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the TempleMount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.
    “These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”
    Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.
    “So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.
    To which Armstrong, the devout Christian, replied, “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.”
    The secular world remembers Armstrong as, variously, an aerospace engineer, a university professor, a Navy fighter pilot and, of course, as the first man in history to peer back at Earth from the surface of the moon.
    But those who were closest to the famous astronaut – his widow, Carol, his two sons, Eric and Mark (from a previous marriage), his brother and sister, and other survivors – remember Neil Armstrong as a man of faith.
    https://christiandiarist.com/2012/08/26/neil-armstrong-a-great-american-a-devout-christian/

    Let me also introduce you to Buzz Aldrin

    Fifty years ago, when American astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, a devout Christian, made history landing on the moon, the first thing he did was give thanks to God.

    Moon landing: Buzz Aldrin took Holy Communion, read this Bible verse on lunar surface
    Excerpt: Aldrin, seated next to Neil Armstrong, became the first person to celebrate a religious sacrament on a heavenly body outside Earth. The ordained Presbyterian elder wrote in a piece for Guideposts in 1970 he chose Holy Communion because his pastor at Webster Presbyterian, Dean Woodruff, often spoke about how God reveals Himself through the everyday elements.
    https://www.foxnews.com/science/moon-landing-bible-apollo-11-buzz-aldrin-communion

    Let me also introduce you to the real christian Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, not the fake atheist Yuri Gagarin of Soviet propaganda.

    Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, was a devout Christian, says his close friend
    Excerpt: The first man in outer space 50 years ago believed fervently in the Almighty — even though the atheistic Soviet government put famous words in his mouth that he had looked around at the cosmos and did not see God.
    Mankind’s first space flight lasted 108 minutes on April 12, 1961.
    It was the height of the Cold War. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was proclaimed by the Soviet leadership to have announced, “I went up to space, but I didn’t encounter God.”
    However, he never uttered those often-quoted words, says a close friend.,,,
    In fact, Gagarin should be remembered for completely different words, says his friend:
    ” I always remember that Yuri Gagarin said: “An astronaut cannot be suspended in space and not have God in his mind and his heart.”
    http://www.beliefnet.com/colum.....riend.html

    BB, how does crow taste?

  46. 46
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    That is just too dog gone funny. BB let me introduce you to Wernher von Braun

    Just a suggestion, but when trying to counter someone’s argument, don’t lead off with a Nazi.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Defending America’s Apollo Rocket Scientist (Wernher von Braun from claims that he was a Nazi) – July 1, 2019
    Excerpt: Our biography of von Braun (our Creation Scientist of the Month) is worth reading as a defense against the misleading narrative. Here, let us repeat one section that defends him against the allegations he was a heartless Nazi collaborator:
    Von Braun was arrested and jailed by the Gestapo.
    He was charged with resisting the military use of his rockets, and trying to escape.
    Himmler’s awarding von Braun an honorary rank in the SS no more made him a Nazi than awarding Martin Luther King an honorary membership in the KKK would make him a white supremacist.
    The evil uses of his rockets occupied only a few months at the end of the war.
    During his release from jail, when the military used von Braun for his advice, he was escorted under military guard at all times and under strict orders what he could say or do.
    He used his influence to argue for more time (delaying tactics) and better conditions for the prisoners.
    When he tried to argue for better treatment of the prisoners, he was threatened that it was none of his business, and that he had better shut up or he would be wearing the same prison stripes.
    His lifelong dream was the peaceful exploration of space. He was devastated when he heard the news that his rockets had been used against Allied cities.
    After the war, he sought out the Americans, and willingly surrendered not only himself but his whole team. He knew this meant abandoning his fatherland (and who, in spite of evil leaders, does not have some heart for his own country?). He became a patriotic, energetic American citizen.
    As soon as he reached America, he was eager to help the American space program.
    He repeatedly gave a full accounting of all his activities during the war, when interrogated by the government and by suspicious critics.
    His record since the war speaks for itself. A leopard does not change its spots. If von Braun were anything less than a man of integrity, bad signs would have surfaced in the subsequent 32 years in America.
    The British Interplanetary Society awarded him an honorary membership right after the war. Surely if anyone had doubts about his motives and allegiances, it would be those who were victimized by V-2 rockets raining down on their city.
    As far as von Braun being a “prima donna” who was hard to get along with, the testimony of many who worked with him flatly contradicts that picture. In fact, he was a model of leadership, teamwork, and motivation. His engaging and winsome manner attracted Walt Disney who used him for TV specials to explain space science to a generation of young people. It was clear throughout his life in America that his primary interest was in the peaceful exploration of space, as it had been in Germany. Von Braun should be remembered not just for Apollo, but for the historic Apollo-Soyuz docking with Russian cosmonauts, Skylab, the development of the Space Shuttle, and the entire rocketry program that culminated in the exploration of all the planets in our solar system. America’s first satellite had been launched aboard one of von Braun’s rockets on January 31, 1958.

    Our biography also quotes sources showing that von Braun became a born-again Christian during the Apollo program, when an engineer gave him a Gideon Bible and led him in the sinner’s prayer. After that, von Braun wrote passionately about the evidence for a Creator, and defended the right of school children to hear evidence that opposes evolution. The biography ends with quotes from his own writings that reveal the heart of this great rocket scientist. See also Bill Federer’s favorable biography of von Braun on WND that includes many of von Braun’s writings and expressions of his Christian faith.
    https://crev.info/2019/07/defending-americas-apollo-rocket-scientist/

    Couple of questions BB, can Jesus forgive supposed “Nazis” if they repent of their evil ways? And two, as an atheist who believes in subjective morality, by what perfect and objective moral standard are you condemning von Braun by? Without God you simply have no reference point to judge anything as being good or evil.

    The Moral Argument
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

    What is the Moral Argument for the Existence of God?
    The One Minute Apologist with William Lane Craig
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/interviews-panels/what-is-the-moral-argument-for-the-existence-of-god-bobby-conway/

  48. 48
    AaronS1978 says:

    Hazel
    July 18, 2019 at 3:37 pm
    Weighing in on ET’s side: gorillas understand “banana”, I think, as a generalization of the properties of particular bananas. Of course they don’t understand it as fully as we do, nor have a word to think about it with, but the distinction is more a shade of grey, as ET is maintaining, than it is a black-and-white distinction, as ba is maintaining.

    Hazel WTH are you talking about!? No one and I mean no one understands BANANA!!

    Do you want definitive proof? Here!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yModCU1OVHY

  49. 49
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    Couple of questions BB, can Jesus forgive supposed “Nazis” if they repent of their evil ways?

    Sure. But it depends on why they repent. I don’t think he would forgive someone who repents at the point of an American gun. It was my understanding that it had to be heartfelt and freely given.

  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    So you contend that this genius who was the mastermind behind building the rockets that landed Americans on the moon was forced to become a Christian at gunpoint and that he was not a genuine Christian? You believe he faked being a Christian for all those years??? You really believe that nonsense? Let me assure you, his conversion experience was not at the end of a gun barrel:

    Nazi Rocket Scientist Wernher von Braun Converted to Christ, Interviewed by C. M. Ward
    Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), one of Nazi Germany’s leading rocket scientists, became a pioneer in America’s space program following World War II. But it was von Braun’s conversion to Christ that captured the attention of Assemblies of God radio preacher C. M. Ward. Ward interviewed the scientist in 1966, during which von Braun described the relationship between his newfound faith and his lifework in science.

    Von Braun’s interest in rocket science had been sparked by a desire to explore space, but he came to regret that his work was being used to cause tremendous destruction of human life. He had developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets, which allowed Germany to pummel Allied targets up to 500 miles away during World War II. The rockets, manufactured by slave labor, indiscriminately killed thousands of people.

    Sensing disloyalty, the Gestapo arrested von Braun in 1944 and charged him with espionage. Von Braun’s work was deemed essential to the success of the war effort, so Nazi leader Albert Speer intervened and ordered the release of the scientist. When American soldiers marched into central Germany in May 1945, they found that von Braun had organized the surrender of 500 of his top scientists, along with plans and test vehicles.

    Von Braun and his German scientists were relocated to the United States, where they became indispensable to the development of American military and space programs. Von Braun’s life had changed drastically within the course of a year. But it was in a little church in El Paso, Texas, that von Braun experienced a spiritual transformation that would change him from the inside out.

    In Germany, von Braun had been nominally Lutheran but functionally atheist. He had no interest in religion or God. In Texas, while living at Fort Bliss, a neighbor invited him to church. He went, expecting to find the religious equivalent of a country club. Instead, he found a small white frame building with a vibrant congregation of people who loved the Lord. He realized that he had been morally adrift and that he needed to surrender himself to God. He converted to Christ and, over the coming years, became quite outspoken in his evangelical faith and frequently addressed the complementarity of faith and science.

    C. M. Ward’s 1966 interview of von Braun took place in Huntsville, Alabama, at the George Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA), where he served as director. Von Braun contrasted the large empty cathedrals of Europe to the large numbers of churches he found in Texas, many meeting in temporary buildings, pastored by “humble preachers driving second-hand buses,” who led “thriving congregations.” The German scientist was impressed and noted: “Here is a growing, aggressive church and not a dignified, half-dead institution. Here is spiritual life.”
    Ward published von Braun’s story and his thoughts on faith and science in an article in the June 2, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, as well as in a 15-page booklet, The Farther We Probe into Space, the Greater My Faith (Gospel Publishing House, 1966), of which almost 500,000 copies were published.
    https://ifphc.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/nazi-rocket-scientist-wernher-von-braun-converted-to-christ-interviewed-by-c-m-ward/

    BB, might I suggest you visit a ‘thriving” church full of ‘spiritual life’ yourself so that you too may experience a genuine conversion to Christ?

  51. 51
    EDTA says:

    BB @ 5,
    >For decades our IQ and aptitude tests were ranking African Americans lower than European Americans.

    Yes, and I’m making fun of the whole enterprise, but mostly the stuff about non-human primates.

    To the accusation someone made above, I tried looking up whether von Braun was actually a card-carrying member of the Nazi party, or whether he merely cooperated/helped them. Couldn’t find anything that said for sure that he was. A pedantic point, but we should call him a Nazi sympathizer/supporter if he wasn’t actually a card-carrying member.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    EDTA, granted, but do you believe he was a genuine ‘born again’ Christian or do you believe was he just pulling a hoax on the American people for all those years?

    Wernher von Braun: The Christian Rocket Scientist

    Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a two- part series on Wernher von Braun, the “Father of Modern Rocketry” Read Part 1, “Profiles in Christianity & Science: Wernher von Braun” for a more detailed history of Charles Babbage’s childhood and career as a scientist.

    Von Braun: The Christian

    We are fortunate that Wernher von Braun left us with numerous quotations that reflected his religious beliefs. They serve as excellent tools to view science in light of the awesome power of God. We found the following to be particularly interesting:

    “While technology controls the forces of nature around us, ethics try to control the forces of nature within us. I think it is a fair assumption that the Ten Commandments are entirely adequate–without amendments–to cope with all the problems the technological revolution not only has brought up, but will bring up in the future. The real problem is not a lack of ethical legislation, but a lack in day-to-day guidance and control. When science freed itself from the bonds of religious dogma, thus opening the way for technological revolution, the Church also lost much of its influence on the ethical conduct of man.”

    “They (evolutionists) challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? They say they cannot visualize a Designer. Well, can a physicist visualize an electron? What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the grounds that they cannot conceive Him?”

    “To be forced to believe only one conclusion–that everything in the universe happened by chance–would violate the very objectivity of science itself. What random process could produce the brains of a man or the system of the human eye?”

    “In this age of space flight, when we use the modern tools of science to advance into new regions of human activity, the Bible–this grandiose stirring history of the gradual revelation and unfolding of moral law–remains in every way an up-to-date book.”
    https://www.crosswalk.com/family/homeschool/wernher-von-braun-the-christian-rocket-scientist-1351753.html

  53. 53
    Brother Brian says:

    EDTA, admittedly, I suspect that he was pressured in to it. But he did actively participate in using slave labour to produce rockets for the Nazis. I don’t remember reading any account of him resisting in this endeavour.

  54. 54
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    July 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm
    EDTA, granted, but do you believe he was a genuine ‘born again’ Christian or do you believe was he just pulling a hoax on the American people for all those years?

    Do you believe that being a ‘born again’ Christian absolves you of all the evils you have participated in? Saying “I’m sorry” is not always sufficient. Did he attempt to make reparations to the people who were enslaved and died so that his designs could be built?

  55. 55
    EDTA says:

    BA77 wrote,
    >but do you believe he was a genuine ‘born again’ Christian or do you believe was he just pulling a hoax on the American people for all those years?

    I don’t think he had any reason or need to fool us about his beliefs. (Had not heard that quote either; thanks.) The pressures are completely different and much more severe under a totalitarian regime, clearly.

  56. 56
    bornagain77 says:

    EDTA, I agree. The things he said while speaking as a ‘born again’ Christian are simply profound. No atheist could possibly fake such deep insight into the ‘spiritual’ side of life. To repeat this quote from him:

    “In this age of space flight, when we use the modern tools of science to advance into new regions of human activity, the Bible–this grandiose stirring history of the gradual revelation and unfolding of moral law–remains in every way an up-to-date book.”

  57. 57
    EDTA says:

    BB wrote,
    >Do you believe that being a ‘born again’ Christian absolves you of all the evils you have participated in? Saying “I’m sorry” is not always sufficient. Did he attempt to make reparations to the people who were enslaved and died so that his designs could be built?

    There are two parts to this question. Becoming a genuinely born-again Christian (and there’s more to that than just words) obtains forgiveness from God. In von Braun’s case, of course I can’t know for absolute certain what his position was in God’s eyes. Only he and God know that. But if one genuinely repents, then God forgives.

    For the second part, he would have had a duty to his fellow man to do more than just say “sorry”, but I don’t know enough of his bio to know whether he attempted to do more.

  58. 58
    Brother Brian says:

    EDTA, as well, I don’t know how seriously repentant he was. But during his days in Germany, he designed and built some pretty impressive rockets using slave labour. There is no doubt that he knew how they were treated. Yet he, by all accounts, put every possible effort into producing the best product possible, as fast as possible. Reluctant cooperators don’t do this.

    All I am saying is claiming to be born again after the fact raises a red flag with me. Prisons are full of born again christians.

  59. 59
    bornagain77 says:

    BB’s original quote:

    “I’ll believe that bornagain Christians are thinking about universals when I see them land other bornagain christians on the moon.”

    and yet,,

    Wernher von Braun “claimed” to be a born again Christian (only God knows his heart for sure).

    Neil Armstrong was a devout Christian

    Buzz Aldrin was a devout Christian and even took communion on the moon.

    Thus, BB is refuted in his claim that born again Christians did not build rockets or land on the moon.

    Prediction, BB will not admit that he was wrong about his belief that Christians had nothing to do with Apollo 11 moon landing, but will continue to condemn von Braun as an irredeemably evil Nazi (although BB, as an atheist, has no objective moral standard to judge whether anything is good or evil).

    To repeat

    Without God BB simply has no reference point to judge anything as being good or evil.

    The Moral Argument
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

    What is the Moral Argument for the Existence of God?
    The One Minute Apologist with William Lane Craig
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/interviews-panels/what-is-the-moral-argument-for-the-existence-of-god-bobby-conway/

    Verse:

    Matthew 6:14-15
    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

  60. 60
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    BB’s original quote:

    “I’ll believe that bornagain Christians are thinking about universals when I see them land other bornagain christians on the moon.”

    Actually, I just took your quote and replaced monkeys with born again christians because, well, you are a born again Christian, and you made a monstrously stupid statement. The fact that you took it as a serious claim is amusing and certainly made myself and others laugh.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    Well BB. This is your last warning as to your conduct towards me.

  62. 62
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest:

    Michael Egnor interviews Edward Feser about Feser’s new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science.
    https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/intelligentdesign/episodes/2019-07-17T10_19_35-07_00
    Scientists can get along without Aristotle’s metaphysics, says Feser, but science can’t; in fact science presupposes Aristotle. Mechanistic views of nature have tried to make nature nothing but particles interacting, but a full understanding of nature requires that we include Aristotelian purpose, or teleology, and essences as well. Ultimately, Feser suggests, this leads us toward evidence for a divine mind behind it all.

  63. 63
    ET says:

    Brother Brain is clueless. Von Braun was a victim of circumstances. He did NOT form the Nazi party. He was a scientist with a single focus- rockets and going to the moon. The Nazi’s were just a means to that end.

  64. 64
    doubter says:

    It has come to my attention that there is at least some experimental evidence that, contrary to Dr. Egnor’s argument some animals do exhibit what appears to be abstract thought and reasoning.

    For instance, this short video (at https://youtu.be/meiU6TxysCg ) showing two Capuchin monkeys being given different rewards for the same action. One monkey is given a grape as reward for a task. The other monkey sees that, but he is given just a cucumber as reward in return for the same task. He angrily protests this as unfair by throwing the cucumber back. This could be interpreted as the monkey having the grasp of an immaterial ethical principle: that of fairness.

    Also, there is now research that shows that ravens can apparently plan for the future (see https://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-world/animal-behaviour/clever-crows-can-plan-for-the-future-like-humans-do/ ). In other words to anticipate the “what, where and when” of a future event on the basis of previous experiences. The future seems to be an immaterial not concrete thought and concept.

    Chimps and orangutans apparently also plan for the future, as shown by new research (https://www.livescience.com/2620-humans-apes-plan.html ).

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