Re: Me against the meme

From: Dace (
Date: Tue 22 Nov 2005 - 19:58:00 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: Me against the meme"


    > Ted wrote:
    > I don't posit fields and memory because I think they're neat. I posit
    > them because they account for the fundamental features we observe in
    > organisms, in particular the human organism. A theory of life should be
    > true-to-life. It should make room for self-existence,
    > self-determination, awareness and self-awareness, desire, will and
    > purpose, memory, regret, shame and guilt, the ego and the unconscious,
    > anxiety and dread, fear and terror, love and hate, representation,
    > intelligence and communication, trust and deceit, pleasure and pain,
    > even qualities as simple as color and humor. The willing, purposive mind
    > is the center of the living universe.
    > My reply:
    > If you're looking at making something like regret, shame or guilt
    > fundamental to a theory of life, you're going to need to figure out how
    > to get an *E. coli* on the couch and analyze it's life story. In what
    > way does a bacterium feel regret or shame? If we're throwing
    > psychoanalytic terms about in inappropriate ways (ego and unconcious)
    > let's just go all the way and ask if unicellular organisms (sans
    > neurons) have a superego (aka conscience). If so, shouldn't
    > *Saccharomyces* yeast species responsible for the production of alcohol
    > have felt regret or shame for the consequences of human alcoholism due
    > to their intoxicating products?

    Reread my assertion. Nowhere do I claim that human psychological qualities are fundamental to life. Rather I state that a theory of life should make room for human consciousness and its traits. However, the willing, purposive mind is found across the board, as is clear from studies of bacterial behavior. Even altruism has been observed among bacteria.

    > Sorry this may sound off the wall, but
    > extrapolating human subjective feelings across the rest of the living
    > phyla seems a bit strange IMO so you opened yourself up to the ridicule
    > with these gems.

    Your mind is playing tricks on you. You want to believe you can easily dismiss me, so you see what you want to see instead of what's there. Hence the straw man argument. That your thinking is driven by unconscious impulses guarantees vulnerability to irrational memes. Only in the realm of consciousness can we rationally determine our beliefs. Otherwise we let our memes do our thinking for us.

    > If non-human organisms do have a sense of humor they will probably be
    > rolling on the floor about now. It's been a while since I've read
    > Dennett's _DDI_, but didn't he pretty much explode the mind-first stance
    > in that book? I mean I might not be Dennett's biggest fan, but I'd at
    > least circle the wagons when someone states that mind (willing and
    > purposive) is at the center of it all. Mind resulted from evolution, it
    > was not the initial cause, nor does it factor into the equation for most
    > species.

    This is an assumption, not a demonstrated fact. Reductionism can't even provide a coherent explanation of mind, much less place it in an evolutionary context.

    > Dace wrote:
    > Every morphic field requires a morphogen (Sheldrake's terminology).
    > Without human DNA serving as a morphogen, human developmental fields
    > won't kick in, and no embryo will form. So too, without a receiver, no
    > transmission will enter a radio.
    > My reply:
    > Could you please explain how human DNA serves as a morpogen?

    I just did, though only by analogy. No one knows how this really works. That will require research, and unfortunately current research is all geared towards answering the wrong questions. Instead of finding out how DNA serves to differentiate individuals within a common theme, scientists are trying to find out how DNA builds bodies from scratch (a single cell).

    > This causes me to ask a serious question: Do you know what you're
    > talking about? If not why should we listen to your objections to modern
    > developmental biology.

    Indeed, why are you? Why not just ignore me? Could it be that deep down you recognize the inadequacy of the reductionistic worldview?


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