Re: [2] The evolution of "evolution"

From: Dace (
Date: Fri 14 Oct 2005 - 22:32:12 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: [2] 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
    > >>only posit that newly developing organisms are influenced, via bodily
    > >>memory, by past, similar organisms, primarily those belonging to the
    > >>species.
    > > 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
    > 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!

    Nice try. Would you claim that field theory is profoundly unscientific? Where there is field, there is action at a distance, be it gravitational, electromagnetic, or quantum. Of the various fields, the quantum field has the greatest resonance with life, for quantum fields are probabilistic. The reason Elsasser's theory agrees so well with Darwinian evolution is that species memory, rather than mechanistically compelling an organism to follow its forerunners, only assures that it has a high *probability* of doing so. Once environmental conditions change sufficiently, the organism is free to ignore its heritage and try something novel. Underneath the principle of memory lies the principle of freedom. In place of Monod's dualism of chance and necessity we have the triad of chance, probability, and necessity.

    > Both appeal to "common sense", both are sheer nonsense.

    You've got it backwards. It's been demonstrated that children respond easily to lessons regarding contact mechanics but are totally baffled when confronted with evidence of action at a distance, such as the sight of a pair of magents attracting each other over space. It's because contact mechanics accords with common sense that it's proven to be such a powerful meme over the ages, from Leibniz right down to Gatherer.


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