Re: Logic

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu Jul 26 2001 - 15:04:12 BST

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Logic"

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    Subject: Re: Logic
    Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 10:04:12 -0400
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    >From: Philip Jonkers <>
    >Subject: Re: Logic
    >Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 13:22:53 +0200 (CEST)
    >Dace wrote:
    > > Machines are made by intelligent beings. Why wouldn't this
    > > also be the case for bio-machines? And who else besides the
    > > cosmic mechanic would be responsible for crafting the various
    > > models of life? Creationism is the original form of
    > > mechanistic philosophy, and it remains the strong form.
    > > Neo-Darwinism is the result of severe compromises with the
    > > necessities of evolution, and the resulting mountain of
    > > improbabilities makes it the weak form of the theory.
    > > As long as mechanism is the only show in town,
    > > creationism will be the logical choice. This doesn't make it
    > > true, of course. Both forms of the theory are false.
    >If you jettison both creationism and evolution, what is there
    >left for you to cling to? Ergo, how do you account for the
    >existence of the world? Can you make a case for discarding
    >evolution? Creationism is not a theory but a story, a metaphor.
    >`Explanations' of a religious kind are no explantions at all.
    >In fact, saying `it was god's will' or labeling something with
    >`divine intervention' cuts short and inhibits any rational
    >explanation. Evolution on the other hand, like quantum mechanics,
    >has successfully stood up against experimental efforts to
    >falsification for a long time.
    > > Mechanism is far more compatible with creationism than
    > > evolution. The point of evolution is that the species are not
    > > molded externally. Their forms arise from within, over time.
    > > Darwin's genius was to salvage the Creator by naturalizing him.
    > > Though God is blinded (and thus needs a lot longer to create
    > > the forms of life) he still has two hands to work with-- the right
    > > hand of natural selection and the left hand of material
    > > spontaneity (i.e. random, genetic mutation). Like many
    > > powerful memes, God doesn't go easily. Darwinism is basically
    > > God in drag. Dress him up like Mother Nature and
    > > then pretend we've gotten rid of him. As long as we accept
    > > external creation-- whether supernatural or natural-- as
    > > opposed to self-creation, we're still in the thrall of
    > > Authority.
    >Pretty metaphors makes good poetry but won't get us anywhere.
    >Why do you refer to and invoke an entity that has never been
    >observed? God is a meme, let's keep it that way. The terms
    >`mechanic' and `machine' may be badly chosen to use in natural
    >theories without intelligent design but that does not diminish
    >their plausibility and success. Prior to his enlightening
    >voyages on the Beagle Darwin was a convinced beliefer in god,
    >after that, he became an convinced atheist. This is testified
    >by Darwin doubting for 20 years (!) to release `on the origin of
    >species' to the public. The implications of this work where
    >in direct conflict with that of the creationist view of the
    >immutability of species. He feared for his life once
    >religious authorities would get hold of his atheist convictions.
    >Therefore Darwin didn't salvage God by converting him to a
    >more naturalist kind of deity. He downright rejected him!
    > > When our hominid ancestors developed a method of scavenging
    > > for meat in the hottest part of the day (after most animals
    > > have retreated to the shade) they soon began developing sweat
    > > glands and losing their hair. The phylogenetic shift occurred
    > > in tandem with the behavioral shift. This is the norm, and it
    > > suggests that our own actions help determine our evolution.
    > > We shape ourselves. If we'd had to wait around for a couple million
    > > years for a random mutation to give us the necessary glands
    > > under our skin, we'd still be waiting. Since we can't pass on
    > > acquired characteristics directly to our offspring, there must
    > > be a kind of nonmaterial, species memory which evolves in
    > > accord with the shifting behavior of individual organisms. This
    > > is akin to Aristotle's notion that the form of the organism is
    > > determined by the species, not through machine-like processes
    > > arising from the nuclei of our cells.
    >The story about the emergence of sweat glands is interesting
    >but not shocking. It is culture affecting genetic evolution.
    >According to the tenets of memetics this process is
    >called meme-gene co-evolution. To learn more of that, I strongly
    >recommend Blackmore's book: `the meme-machine'.
    This apparent instance of "gene-meme co-evolution" sounds similar to what
    had previously been referred to as "organic selection" or the "Baldwin
    effect". Conrad Waddington referred to something still similar in "genetic
    assimilation". Maybe memetic shifts driving phylogenetic shifts is merely a
    subset of organic selection specific to humans if we do have these puppet
    masters called memes toying with us ;-)

    I think it was Piaget who was captivated by the idea of behavior setting the
    tone for subsequent evolution. Maybe Joe Dees our resident Piagetian can
    corroborate or John Wilkins can have a conniption fit about Piaget.

    The non-material species memory referred to above, "mnemic spiritualism" if
    you will, sounds a tad Sheldrakeian, where morphic resonance is at play
    amongst the morphic fields.
    >what memetics champions is that memes dictate what genes should
    >be favored for natural selection (memetic driving/pressure,
    >as it is called).
    And perhaps, conversely, what memes might persist given our adaptively
    accumulated genetic substrate? "Gene-meme co-evolution" should go both ways,
    >Also Dawkins in chapter 3 of `the selfish gene'
    >suggests memetic routes to enhance the human life-span. But he
    >dismisses it right away, not for being implausible, on the
    >contrary. He does so probably on ethical grounds since implementing
    >such ideas come awfully close to ideas of eugenics.
    >Finally, evolution is a product of genes and the (external)
    >environment. The environment, including other species, puts
    >adaptive pressure of each of the species. Environment dictates,
    >genes follow (or perish).
    Or alleles get fixed in a population due to genetic drift. Stuff referred to
    as "junk DNA" could accumulate within our genomes being of no major
    consequence to the survival or reproduction of organisms. Evolution is to a
    degree a change in allelic frequencies within a population over time. The
    reasons for these changes could relate to selection and/or drift. Unlike
    God, selection is not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient.

    Environment may "dictate" but gene variants may be beneficial, neutral, or
    deleterious so they may follow, merely stick around or perish. In a
    population bottleneck or crash a beneficial gene variant could perish.

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