Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id XAA15599 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Fri, 27 Jul 2001 23:29:28 +0100 X-Originating-IP: [22.214.171.124] From: "Scott Chase" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Logic Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 18:26:30 -0400 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <F133R9Odutox7nyeKzG00009183@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 27 Jul 2001 22:26:30.0435 (UTC) FILETIME=[2EFA0F30:01C116EB] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>From: Philip Jonkers <P.A.E.Jonkers@phys.rug.nl>
>Subject: Re: Logic
>Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 12:13:27 +0200 (CEST)
>Quoting Scott Chase <email@example.com>:
> > >From: "Scott Chase" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > >Reply-To: email@example.com
> > >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > >Subject: Re: Logic
> > >Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 11:36:26 -0400
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >>From: Philip Jonkers <P.A.E.Jonkers@phys.rug.nl>
> > >>Reply-To: email@example.com
> > >>To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > >>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.
Well, we have a serious problem in Floria with mosquitos munching on our
blood. There are also concerns about a couple viral diseases borne by
mosquitos (arboviruses?). IIRC they are equine encephalitis and West Nile
virus respectively with St. Louis encephalitis being a third. When I feel
all proud about my dominance as a human all I need to do to get deflated
back to reality is walk out side and serve as a walking buffet. Our
intelligence may help us deal with these situations via mosquito control
measures, but that does not negate the fact that mosquitos feed on humans
and potentially carry microbes which could also have their way with us.. Go
outside in Florida at night after as much rain as we had lately wearing
shorts and no shirt and you might need a blood tranfusion ;-)
> > 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.
Selection may be primary, but it is not exclusive.
> > 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
That even something "fit" could perish, due to some calamity or other.
> > 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
Mosquitos dine on us. They don't "eat" us whole *per se*, but they do feed
on us. Microbes could also take their toll on us in so many ways, from the
BTW, is there a single food *chain* which describes ecological reality?
What's a food *web* then?
> > 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.
I haven't seen anything fascist in what you say. Maybe there's a little
anthropocentric chauvinism though. I really don't see how we are at a global
peak, maybe just our own little local hill.
I wonder if the notion of divine providence sneaks subtly into an
>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.
You might be compelled to think in terms of te "Age of Man", but couldn't
"Age of Arthropods" or "Age of Bacteria" also apply? See Gould's _Full
House_ (p. 176, paperback edition, 1997, Three Rivers Press, New York)
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