Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id CAA28503 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Sat, 4 Aug 2001 02:35:21 +0100 Message-ID: <002301c11c85$72553760$3524f4d8@teddace> From: "Dace" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745FC5@inchna.stir.ac.uk> <008901c11564$edfedba0$60dab3d1@teddace> <001f01c11a02$1ef64f80$9303bed4@default> Subject: Re: Logic Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 18:33:01 -0700 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400 X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4133.2400 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Hi Dace,
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Dace <email@example.com
> > Mechanism is far more compatible with creationism than evolution. The
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > to our offspring, there must be a kind of nonmaterial, species memory
> > 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,
> ( 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
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
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
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
as oppressive as the original. Or maybe you'll gain genuine liberation.
always that possibility. Life isn't just memory.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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