Re: Logic

From: Dace (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 02:33:01 BST

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    Subject: Re: Logic
    Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 18:33:01 -0700
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    > Hi Dace,
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Dace <
    > > 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. [&&&] As long as we accept external
    > > creation-- whether supernatural or natural-- as opposed to
    > > we're still in the thrall of Authority.
    > << Very interesting point this !!
    > Our forms arise from within, as in Bergsons ' le moi profond ', as the 'le
    > Úlan vital ', as the " sentiment interieur ", as the " need/ urge by
    > !?
    > If so, I am all ears !!!

    Well, Kenneth, the vital impulse is problematic. The problem is that the
    closer we look, the less definition we find between life and nonlife.
    There's just no basis for positing a "force" that animates living matter
    and distinguishes it from nonliving matter. Organic matter had to become
    very complex before even the simplest of life-forms could have popped into
    being. We see in the self-arrangement of crystals that nonliving compounds
    can form up into "species." Crystallization tends to recapitulate already
    existing types. This is no different than amino acid chains "desiring" to
    fold up into one particular protein configuration and not any of the
    mechanically correct alternatives. Just goes to show that Whitehead was on
    the right track when he said biology is the study of the larger organisms,
    while physics concerns the smaller ones.

    Whatever it is that makes life alive is also what animates physical
    existence in general. There's nothing privileged about living matter, just
    there's nothing privileged about the location of the earth or the sun over
    other place in the universe. Vitalism is just one more meme that stopped

    > > 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
    > > the norm, and it suggests that our own actions help determine our
    > evolution.
    > > We shape ourselves.
    > << Yes, I have heard the same argument not so long ago.
    > Geological, Natural evolution is a driving force behind the way Nature
    > makes natural selection possible, and the second form of evolution would
    > be the flexible way in which we adapt to those changes.

    All life is flexible adaptation. At whatever level you're looking, what is
    dynamic lives, and what is static falls away.

    > 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,
    > > 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.
    > << That kind of " nonmaterial, species " bounded memory, would that be
    > the memepool !?

    > << Okay.

    > << How do you see the way by which we can dive into it,
    > that is, how do we attract info from it !?
    > I ' ve got an idea about that, but I like to hear yours first, if you
    > mind !!
    > No hidden agenda, though !!
    > Very best regards,
    > Kenneth
    > ( I am, because we are) virus free


    As Scott pointed out, I'm coming from the Sheldrakean angle. The central
    mystery for Sheldrake is why the field concept is such a useful explanatory
    tool. Why is the morphogenetic field indispensible in the modelling of
    developing organisms? It's not as if molecular biology has ever
    why any particular organic form exists. This applies even to the various
    "species" of proteins. The only tool we've ever had for describing organic
    form is mathematics, very much like the mathematics underlying physical
    fields such as electromagnetic or gravitational. There's never been direct
    evidence for the existence of any of these fields. It's all just math. The
    equations for any species can be calculated, leading some theorists, like
    Goodwin, to assume that dinosaurs, for instance, were created by being drawn
    into the pre-existent equations that describe their form. These equations
    presumably continue to exist even after they've ceased to be animated. So
    fields would be expressions of a more fundamental, mathematical reality, a
    kind of bio-Platonism.

    C.H. Waddington took a more dynamic view. He expressed the
    form-giving fields in terms of "epigenetic landscapes" that canalize organic
    behavior toward specific ends. Think of a ball rolling down a hill. One
    gene will direct the ball into a network of paths (chreodes) that leads to
    large ears, while the presence of another gene will tip the ball into a set
    of paths leading to small ears. This seems to imply that the chreodes are
    independent of the genes. Being a good Darwinist, Waddington argued that
    developmental pathways somehow unfold in the interaction of genes and
    proteins, and this has been the standard reasoning ever since.

    Sheldrake treats the morphogenetic field exactly the way fields are treated
    in physical theory. They are composed of space, not matter. An
    electromagnetic field is simply a photon from the point of view of space
    (dispersed) rather than matter (concentrated). Following this logic,
    regards an organism as a point in a morphogenetic field. The field is not
    reducible to the particle and more than the particle is redicible to the
    field. They
    can't be reduced to each other because they're already the same thing. Like
    trying to reduce heads to tails. Doesn't compute.

    Particle and field are united through resonance. Electromagnetic resonance
    is the vibration which joins together two particles separated by space, as
    radio transmission. Sheldrake suggests that "morphic resonance" unites
    organic particles (such as proteins, cells, organisms, etc.) that are
    separated by
    time. This is then the basis of organic memory.

    The form of the body is not derived from a coded description lodged in its
    chromosomes. There is no design. The form of the body follows from the
    itself. The body resonates with itself in the past. Form is remembered.
    Current organic activity is under the sway of past activity. The more times
    a pattern of organic activity is repeated, the more likely future activity
    continue following that pattern. Organic form has a kind of weight. As it
    it makes grooves. What's significant about Waddington's chreodes is that
    present the morphogenetic fields dynamically, in a way that's more temporal
    spatial. The model works because these fields are nothing more than the
    expression of past organic form in accord with current organic matter.
    employs the term "morphic field" to denote morphogenetic fields based not on
    Platonic equations but resonance with past organic form.

    It all boils down to the principle of like-affects-like. Info is attracted
    the memory pool according to similarity. I can effortlessly ride a bike
    my body resonates with itself in those occasions when I've ridden one
    When I come upon a familiar place and remember what happened at that spot
    during my last bike ride, it's because the pattern of synaptic transmission
    in my
    brain resembles itself when I came to that spot before. If you're brought
    Catholic, you're liable to get drawn into the Catholic meme/chreode. On the
    hand, you might just react into a kind of counter-meme, which is usually
    every bit
    as oppressive as the original. Or maybe you'll gain genuine liberation.
    always that possibility. Life isn't just memory.

    Ted Dace

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