Monday, June 05, 2006

Maybe I should get a dog.

A little more on dogs from the writings of a quintessential half-wit, so you'll have to mine through it for the essential half of knowledge that is true while discarding little stories about the existential past that now supposedly exists only in a sort of unknown oblivion, instead of yet being known by and in the Mind of God.

It would seem that if you deny all that is essential then the present is all that matters, yet if you deny the existential then matter does not matter at all and then one's mind gets lost in a placid nostalgia about the past or perhaps the fervor of ideological claims about the future. At any rate, you may have to sift through these bits of knowledge on dogs while keeping the essential nature of time in mind:
D. K. Belyaev and his colleagues took captive silver foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and set out systematically to breed for tameness. They succeeded, dramatically. By mating together the tamest individuals of each generation, Belyaev had, within 20 years, produced foxes that behaved like Border collies, actively seeking human company and wagging their tails when approached. That is not very surprising, although the speed with which it happened may be.* Less expected were the by-products of selection for tameness. These genetically tamed foxes not only behaved like collies, they looked like collies. They grew black-and-white coats, with white face patches and muzzles. Instead of the characteristic pricked ears of a wild fox, they developed ‘lovable’ floppy ears. Their reproductive hormone balance changed, and they assumed the habit of breeding all the year round instead of in a breeding season. Probably associated with their lowered aggression, they were found to contain higher levels of the neurally active chemical serotonin. It took only 20 years to turn foxes into ‘dogs’ by artificial selection.
No doubt the original story of the evolution of dogs from wolves was similar to the new one simulated by Belyaev with foxes, with the difference that Belyaev was breeding for tameness deliberately. Our ancestors did it inadvertently, and it probably happened several times, independently in different parts of the world. Perhaps initially, wolves took to scavenging around human encampments.
Several writers have speculated, plausibly enough, about orphaned cubs being adopted as pets by children. Experiments have shown that domestic dogs are better than wolves at ‘reading’ the expressions on human faces. This is presumably an inadvertent consequence of our mutualistic evolution over many generations. At the same time we read their faces, and dog facial expressions have become more human-like than those of wolves, because of inadvertent selection by humans. This is presumably why we think wolves look sinister while dogs look loving, guilty, soppy and
so on.

A distant parallel is the case of the Japanese ‘samurai crabs These wild crabs have a pattern on their back which resembles the face of a Samurai warrior. The Darwinian theory to account for this is that superstitious fishermen tossed back into the sea individual crabs that slightly resembled a Samurai warrior. Over the generations, as genes for resembling a human face were more likely to survive in the bodies of ‘their’ crabs, the frequency of such genes increased in the population until today it is the norm. Whether that story of wild crabs is true or not, something like it surely went on in the evolution of truly domesticated animals.
(The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
by Richard Dawkins :29-31) (Emphasis added)

He says that sort of thing a lot, i.e., "Whether the story I just made up or cited is true or not, I'm sure it is the correct likeness of what happened." If you ever find yourself saying or writing such things very often then it may be time to go back to the original philosophical assumptions that have led you to do so and examine them. I.e., you generally should not be engaging in a form of reasoning in which you expect reason to emerge out of and evolve from your own drivel, as adding more hypothetical goo just makes more. If you want something to make sense, then you have to make it make sense based on an essential structure of reason and logic that already exists by design.

*The fact is, nothing has been observed to be preventing rapid changes within "kinds"/forms of life, i.e. life forms, and yet there does seem to be something causing forms to be maintained. Take butterflies, if one is silly enough to interpret the fossil record as recording millions upon millions of years (despite all the evidence for the existence of fossils comporting with catastrophism, cataclysm and Great Doom, etc.) then the basic form that we still call "butterfly" in this day and age was the same millions of years ago. The evidence is the same with many organisms, although many are also extinct. That pattern of the general maintenance of form and the extinction of certain forms seems to indicate that more and more life forms are dying out instead of more and more forms emerging. According to most Darwinists we are to blame for what is apparently happening because their Mommy Nature supposedly tends to create Life and life forms given the mystical powers of her "natural selections" that supposedly birthed all life forms in the first place. But they're wrong about Nature, so their ideas matter little.

[Related posts: Empirical evidence for the transphysical?]

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