Re[2]: The evolution of "evolution"

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Wed 12 Oct 2005 - 07:14:40 GMT

  • Next message: Derek Gatherer: "Re: The evolution of "evolution""

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 1:32:53 PM, Derek wrote:

    > At 23:41 02/10/2005, Dace wrote:

    >> Elsasser wondered if our everyday experience of memory
    >>involves action at a distance over time. To explain ontogenesis, we need
    >>only posit that newly developing organisms are influenced, via bodily
    >>memory, by past, similar organisms, primarily those belonging to the same

    > I've read this several times, and really tried to see if I can
    > somehow make sense of it, but the only conclusion I can come to is
    > that we must have fundamentally different views on what constitutes
    > "an explanation". If you really believe in the above, then it seems
    > to me that you believe in magic. Given that I'm sure you would say
    > you don't, then it must be a linguistic confusion over the meaning of
    > the word "explain".

    > How can you possibly take a term out of psychology, and then propose
    > that it can explain embryology, and furthermore by a mechanism that
    > acts at a distance over both space and time? Was Elsasser really
    > proposing that the embryo of, say, a dinosaur developing in the late
    > Jurassic is currently, as we speak, exerting some
    > space-time-independent effect on a vertebrate embryo developing right
    > this moment?

    > You see, when I set that against standard developmental biology, I
    > just can't grasp why a sane reasonable person would choose such a belief.

    Indeed. "Action at a distance" is a profoundly unscientific concept. Like "intelligent design" it's an attempt to dignify ignorance and make it permanent. Can't see how a particular cellular mechanism could have evolved? Then it obviously must have been designed! Can't find a link in a supposed causal chain? Well, it must be action at a distance! Both appeal to "common sense", both are sheer nonsense.

    Best regards,
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