Re: Logic

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Fri Jul 27 2001 - 11:13:27 BST

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    Subject: Re: Logic
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    Quoting Scott Chase <>:

    > >From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > >Reply-To:
    > >To:
    > >Subject: Re: Logic
    > >Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 11:36:26 -0400
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >>From: Philip Jonkers <>
    > >>Reply-To:
    > >>To:
    > >>Subject: Re: Logic
    > >>Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 16:46:00 +0200 (CEST)
    > >>
    > >>Philip said:
    > >> > >Sorry, but no for you too Wade. Evolution might not be
    > >> > >perfectly logical with respect to a perfect intelligent
    > >> > >design, but it is logical to some degree nonetheless.
    > >> > >Also it does `separate wheat from the chaff' if I correctly
    > >> > >understand your niche. Natural selection means specific
    > >> > >adaptation. A species adapts or perishes. During the competition
    > >> > >between species only the fittest survive. Therefore, natural
    > >> > >selection does function as a sieve to separate wheat from chaff.
    > >> > >We humans wouldn't be around, being intelligent, on top of
    > >> > >the food chain and all that, if it weren't for natural
    > selection!
    > >> > >Of all the macro-species, humans came out as winners in the
    > >> > >rat-race called biological evolution.
    > >> > >
    > >> > >
    > >>
    > >>Scott said:
    > >> > I suggest you start by reading Stephen Gould's _Wonderful Life_
    > and
    > >> > follow
    > >> > it up with an order of _Full House_.
    > >>
    > >>Then Philip goes:
    > >>
    > >>Sorry Scott, I don't have time for that. Why don't you
    > >>enlighten me with whatever it is you want me to know.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >It might be a good start for unravelling the chauvinistic
    > >misconceptions
    > >which place us at the evolutionary pinnacle or top rung of a ladder
    > >resulting from some apparently progressive process. Are we
    > >truly "winners" in a "rat race"?

    Can you give me the name of the species, of about the same
    size of ours, who poses a serious threat in overthrowing
    our dominance. When it comes to sheer numbers we might not
    be the most successful, the most simple of all life forms,
    such as certain species of bacteria, could fill that place.
    But bacteria get eaten, humans do not, well, apart from the
    occasional tiger or shark. At any rate, we're no
    systematic lunch for any species.

    > Coming back to this since I have a little more time...
    > In your talk about separation between wheat from chaff above you make a
    > transition between evolution and natural selection which is significant,
    > yet
    > you apparently overlook the distinction. Evolution is not equal to
    > natural
    > selection. I do not know that one could say evolution separates wheat
    > from
    > chaff.

    Evolution is a general process. Natural selection facilitates
    biological evolution. Selection, however, is vital to maintain
    any process of evolution in general.
    > Gould takes issue with the evolutionary winnowing metaphor itself in
    > _Wonderful Life_, stressing more of a lottery view, at least in the
    > context of the Burgess shale fauna. Lottery could be more apt,
    > with decimation or massive elimination the key. At least
    > randomness if brought into the mix, which seems slighted when
    > you stress that only the fittest survive. Maybe
    > lady luck plays her part.

    Randomness in the form of random variation is also essential
    for maintaining the unguided process of biological evolution.
    What exactly is your niche you try to convey in your
    previous passage?
    > What do you mean by our being "top" of "*the* food chain" (emphasis on
    > *the"
    > is mine)?

    With the human species being top of the food chain means
    there's no other species who eats us for dinner on a regular
    basis, basically.

    > What about "winners in the rat-race called biological
    > evolution"? We may have enjoyed local successes, but are we
    > global "top dog" in a dog eat dog world? What about what
    > Gould refers to as "modal bacter" in _Full House_?

    Call me fascist if you will, but yes, I believe we are
    standing on top of biological evolution. Unless we totally
    annihilate ourselves in some nuclear disaster or war I fail
    to acknowledge any real danger of losing that position
    to bacteria or other simple life forms. Inspite of scaring
    scenarios of science-fiction like `Planet of the Apes'
    I don't see apes do that too.

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