Natural Dog Training and Evolution
Posted Tue October 12 2010 by kbehan
I tend not to get involved in discussions of behavior on other forums as it’s very difficult to keep the discussion focused like a laser beam on the salient points. The argument quickly radiates out in many different directions and the threads always seem to peter out into a debate of either who-is-the-better-dog-trainer or what-color-coat-does-your-dog-like. Furthermore, it’s also necessary for some period of time to suspend one’s familiar frame of reference in order to grasp the underlying principle I’m trying to articulate. So if one is first and foremost motivated to disprove the premise, which they are likely to do if I intrude on an ongoing discussion, then there’s no chance for the idea to get through in the first place. One finds themselves denying that there’s anything special going on by virtue of dogs loving to go for car rides, or fetching a stick, or working all day long. (Meanwhile, if Harvard studies why only dogs follow the human gaze, that’s considered a scientific line of inquiry.) While there’s a role and a time for skepticism, first one must be able to fully articulate the premise they are trying to disprove. For example, Lee Kelley can articulate the modern theories of learning and while this doesn’t necessarily make him right in any given debate, at least he is arguing from the perspective of understanding the various sides of the discussion. And a debate that proceeds with both sides capable of articulating each others’ position can indeed advance our understanding.
Meanwhile, my belief is that unless one is discussing any given system in terms of energy, then they will always end up with self-defeating logic loops and so I do like to trawl these various forums to capture in distilled form the hub of the various arguments so as to reveal their internal contradictions. For example, if someone says on the one hand that they believe in evolution by way of common descent, and then on the other hand they say that survival and reproductive advantage are the lynch-pins of natural selection, they are therefore saying that that genes replicate for the sake of replication, which is a human concept rather than a principle of energy. This therefore this means that various organisms and species are self-contained entities of intelligence, subsets of information dedicated to their own survival and reproduction, and which now means that any given set of information is unrelated to any other. (One might then presume that canine curiosity could be motivated by a gathering of resources for purposes of survival or reproductive advantage.) This then brings us to a contradiction of the the central premise of evolution by way of common descent, i.e. that all things contain the germ of all other things (and in my view the only thing that all things could possibly share in common is energy).
For example, the following is a quote from a dog behavior site that aptly encapsulates such a self-defeating logic loop:
“To explain canine behavior by merely tracking the underlying material processes is naive. The whole fallacy of an ‘energy model’ of a dog (or a fellow human mammal) is to ignore the layers of complexity provided by evolution. Complexities that emerge from the evolutionary advance are not identical with their supporting substrata.”
If it can be true that a complex level of organization can emerge from a process of evolutionary advance so that it is not “identical” (which means in-essence, for example, obviously I’m not arguing that a Macintosh is identical with a PC in all ways, rather that both run on the same digital binary operating system, their “germ” is identical and in fact their superficial differences can be explicated in terms of this germ, i.e. the design and function of a Mac even at the superficial level has to contend with the thermodynamics of its processor’s heat, the limits of space on a desktop, the carrying weight of a laptop, etc., etc. the same as a PC) with its supporting substrata, this means that the person is not arguing for evolution by way of common descent because it is now possible for a form-of-information to spring from whole cloth, detached from any “supporting substrata” and therefore it would not in-essence be related to any other thing. This would mean that according to such a theory a species of animal could be shaped by a process unrelated to what affects any other given species because it’s core processes are emergent and therefore not limited by any supporting substrata and/or governed by whatever processes by which the substrate evolved. This self-defeating logic loop is an example of Intellectual Creationism and which in fact is arguing against the Darwinian notion of evolution by way of common descent. As far as I can see Natural Dog Training based on an immediate-moment (i.e. energy) theory of behavior, is the only school of thought that in fact is 100% consistent with Darwin’s idea of evolution by way of common descent, and this precisely is because it is not gene or thought-centric, which in reality are the same thing.
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