Fw: Saving the ethnosphere (part I)

From: Philip Jonkers (philipjonkers@prodigy.net)
Date: Sun May 19 2002 - 18:43:02 BST

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Fw: Saving the ethnosphere (part II)"

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    From: "Philip Jonkers" <philipjonkers@prodigy.net>
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    Subject: Fw: Saving the ethnosphere (part I)
    Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 10:43:02 -0700
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    Utilitarianism is the antithesis of evolution by natural selection. As
    Darwin pointed out, in chapter 6 of *The Origin of Species,* "the notion
    that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its
    possessor" is the essence of creationist thinking. "Such doctrines, if true,
    would be absolutely fatal to my theory." Darwin argued persuasively that
    life does not conform to utilitarian logic. If species were formulated
    according to "rational" principles, we'd have to invoke some kind of cosmic
    intellect to account for the utility of every little feature we find in morphology and behavior. Fortunately, they're not.

    Hi Ted,
    I'm not familiar with all these isms for forgive my ignorance. If I understand it correctly,
    utilitarianism is synonymous with creationism in that every bodypart/organ, down to the smallest
    detail, of every organism serves as a utility if not to its bearer than to its creator
    in the sense of being easthetically pleasing.

    I hope you will agree with me that in evolution theory the bulk of the bodyparts has
    some kind of survival establishing or increasing function to its owner. Evolutionary pressures
    have induced the development of bodily functions and parts that were essential for
    its bearer to survive. Not much new thus far. However, contrary to creationism/utilitarianism
    evolution is permitted to be sloppy and uneastethic. Bodyparts and functions may be
    redundant and serving no purpose whatsoever as long as the owner's survival is not
    significantly jeopardized. If an organ or bodypart is a burden, this will reflect on the fitness
    of its bearer and hence will lose in survivability. Luckily for us evolutionists nature is full
    of organisms featuring what I believe is referred to as vestigial bodyparts. Once
    again, cheers for evolution!

    > > You're approaching life from the outside. Any physical system can be
    > > comprehended according to its mechanics. For instance, a rotting
    > > corpse can be understood entirely in the light of universal, physical
    > > principles. To be alive is to operate according to intrinsic principles.
    > > Life is intrinsically meaningful.
    > The cardinal assumption of the life-sciences is that life is mechanical (in
    > the sense of being free of metaphysical agents like souls etc.)

    Souls are not necessarily "metaphysical," i.e. supernatural. Only *eternal* souls are supernatural. If it's merely personal consciousness and memory, there's nothing supernatural about the soul.

    If consciousness and memory define an agent, say the `transient soul', that is not metaphysical then it has to be physical.
    In other words it possesses properties that can be measured. Right now, I'm not really in a position to say
    something intelligible if this is possible. You may be right of course.

    > so yes I do approach life with a mechanical mindset. The intrinsic
    > principles you talk about to me are mechanical too.

    The influence of past behavior on current behavior is probabilistic, not
    deterministic. We're quite capable of shaking off old patterns and establishing new ones. When people do it, it's called free will. When animals and plants do it, it's called evolution.

    I wonder how many people are truly liberated enough to undo themselves of the social straightjacket and truly set out to live
    a life in the spirit of free will? Apart from mundane trivialities don't you think that because of our necessary social interactability
    we simply are not in a position to go out and implement great changes on our lives? I don't think it's that easy to just get
    rid of the ideals, viewpoints, customs etc. one cherishes and substitutes them
    by what *may* be more beneficial to the rebelious initiator. I think it takes a lot of courage and self-confidence since the
    price to pay upon failure has to be reckoned with.


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