Re: Science as Idea & Meme

From: Dace (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 19:30:23 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Precision of replication"

    > From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > >From: Keith Henson <>
    > >
    > >At 09:10 AM 17/06/03 -0400, Reed wrote:
    > >
    > >snip
    > >
    > >>"A true causal chain can be traced all the way back to its source."
    > >>
    > >>If you mean "it must trace it's predictions to it's axioms" that makes
    > >>sense. But, if you're demanding that a causal chain must link
    > >>from the infinitesimal to the infinite, that's an unreasonable
    > >>restriction.
    > >
    > >Maybe not in all cases. The lumpiness of the universe that led to the
    > >formation of clusters of galaxies is believed to have resulted from
    > >fluctuations when the fireball was tiny. Then again, some people think
    > >entire universe came from a quantum fluctuation in a vacuum.
    > >
    > >
    > But, why should one have to go all the way back to the part of the causal
    > nexus of the big bang when they are merely discussing the biochemistry and
    > cell biology of the here and now that Reed is trying to get across to Ted?
    > It's just not relevant.

    Reed isn't trying to get across knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology-- regarding which I am quite well-informed-- so much as trying to persuade me of the usefulness of the reductionistic explanation of life. It's an important difference that seems to have escaped you.

    > The preconceptions of biology such as central dogma of nucleic acids to
    > peptides are adequate to the task. No cosmology need be invoked. It's the
    > simplistic one to one mapping that should be jettisoned when looking at
    > genetype and phenotype. This does not imply morphic resonance can save the
    > day. It can't save itself if its greatest advocate is testing pets for
    > psychic abilities. What application does discovering a Clever Hansian
    > pig have to the intricate problems of cell biology?

    Sheldrake is establishing the existence of holistic transferal of information across extended fields. This is only one small part in the development of a nonreductionistic theory.

    > My parents always said
    > that my pet guinea pig knew when I was walking through the front door. Big
    > deal. It probably, at best, picked up on some subtle cues like sound of my
    > car or something without the geist factor.

    Sheldrake carefully controls for subtle cues like these.

    > Whatever abilities my guinea pig
    > had, what implications does this have for protein folding or the interface
    > of evolution and deveopment where some headway has been made contrary to
    > Ted's strawman rendition. Molecular chaperones and homeotic genes
    > respectively seem to squash morphic resonance in their respective rights.
    > Don't expect the geistly holists to present the biological state of the
    > in their rhetoric.

    My argument does not depend on a strawman. Even the latest notions involving homeotic genes and chaperones that aid in the process of protein-folding in no way provide evidence for genetic reductionism. Everything uncovered by molecular biologists can be accounted for in a holistic model.


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