Re: Religion and evidence

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Tue 24 Jan 2006 - 10:31:33 GMT

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    Ted I'm certainly not in denial on this other thing -- I raised it because there were interesting similarities and differences to the argumentation around religion -- I think you and Derek gave up on resolving the fields issue through the Hill paper. As we have said several times, it takes a body of evidence (and time) to shift orthodoxy (which is a good thing). If we're wrong, the truth will out eventually and we'll all know that we bet the wrong way, but to go charging off down an alternative route, without agreeing about the failure of the orthodoxy, and without considering other possible new explanations (of which I'm sure we could brainstorm a quick list that are as plausible) would be completely irresponsible.

    Anyway sorry that you seem so irked to be placed in the realm of things that are unproven (despite your assertion of supporting evidence -- how about trying to meet the level of stringency you tried to place on us wrt normal cell biology and protein folding for a start). My only aim was to illustrate that claiming an explicitly demonstrable effect puts you in the firing line whereas a claim of a personal experience of God cannot in the end be countered.

    And on superdeterminism, what convinces you that it is not the case that every single physical event in the universe has a cause? Fear of this is it seems very common (everyone appears to hate the fact that their free will is illusory). And as for it freeing you from responsibility for your actions, that is not the case; whether 'free will' was responsible for a choice, or whether that choice was always going to be made that way because of who you are and the way a load of molecules happened to move around is irrelevant to the application of law. It does however support the view that prison should be much more about rehabilitation than punishment.

    Cheers, Chris.

    P.S. There is no autonomous Chris, just the garbage :)

    Dace wrote:
    > Chris,
    >>I do see this as similar in a sense to Ted's fields: Two
    >>explanations that would result in identical outcomes cannot be
    >>distinguished one from another by reference to that outcome,
    >>leaving the way open to (over/mis)interpet at will, but I think
    >>they are kind of seperable in that yours _remains_ firmly in the
    >>realm of the unknowable because happenstance is unpredictable at
    >>our level (I'm a superdeterminist so it should be knowable at
    >>some level but without 'god-like' knowledge of the system in
    >>practice it is pseudorandom), whereas Ted's aims to counter the
    >>testable (if incomplete) with the untestable (by any reasonable
    >>expectation). Although as a rule in those circumstances one's
    >>hand should always be on one's wallet...
    > Untestable by any reasonable expectation? That's an odd assertion, given
    > that a major portion of our recent discussion was Miroslav Hill's
    > experimental evidence in favor of a "nonlocal" connection between closely
    > related but physically separated cells.
    > If cells exposed to a selection pressure rapidly adapt by way of the
    > appropriate genetic mutation, this demonstrates nonrandom mutation. If the
    > same mutation, after numerous generations, begins cropping up in related but
    > isolated cells, this demonstrates nongenetic inheritance within a given
    > species. Such inheritance has also been demonstrated in learning
    > experiments on rats, mice, pigeons and most recently, chicks. Rising IQ
    > scores in the absence of rising intelligence seem to indicate the
    > inheritance of enhanced aptitude at IQ test-taking. Whether it's falsified
    > or not, clearly nongenetic inheritance is a testable proposition.
    > We've been over this many times on this list, including just last month, so
    > why your statement to the contrary? It's awfully convenient, isn't it, to
    > be able to set aside the notions of nonrandom mutation and nongenetic
    > inheritance as untestable and therefore safely beyond the realm of scientifi
    > c inquiry. This is called wishful thinking. You have a particular habit of
    > thought, and you don't want to let go of it, so you deny reality in order to
    > maintain your preferred beliefs. Since your habit is culturally reinforced
    > rather than merely your own, that makes it memetic. To deny reality is of
    > course insane. But the insanity is collective, which is why it's so
    > powerful. It's bigger than any one person. In short, it's a meme, and your
    > mind is only one more of its colonized territories.
    > I think you're in conflict with the collective delusion, and this is what
    > fuels your need to keep bringing this up. It's an unresolved issue. The
    > autonomous Chris, buried under mounds of memetically mediated garbage, keeps
    > trying to re-establish his authority. Meanwhile memetic Chris keeps
    > repeating the neo-Darwinian superdeterminist catechism. Incidentally, this
    > is exactly what I did back in the 80s as a teenager. Absent any faith in a
    > god, I went for the next best thing, the atheist variant of Calvinism. I
    > had to keep repeating, over and over again, the narcotizing notion that
    > everything is determined, that it's all just a bunch of atoms obeying
    > eternal physical laws, that we have no true self or responsibility for our
    > actions, because deep down I knew it was all a load of crap.
    > (autonomous) ted
    > ===============================================================
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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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