Re: Teleology

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 21:52:52 BST

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    Subject: Re: Teleology
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    > > Genes do not appear to contain instructions for the folding of
    > > proteins. The very concept of "genetic instruction" is speculative.
    > > There is, as yet, no evidence to bolster it. Nucleic acid chains
    > > produce amino acid chains. That genes produce proteins is a meme, and
    > > this meme is obstructing the emergence of a new theory.
    > >
    > They do so indirectly, by producing their components (via
    > messenger RNA), complete with specific locks and keys to govern
    > their combination/assembly.

    DNA does not code for locks and keys to govern protein assembly. The
    folding of protein remains a mystery, as any biochemist can tell you.

    > > > Different proteins with different locks and
    > > > keys are made, according to genetic instruction,
    > > and those whos
    > > > locks don't fit into the others' keys simply don't join when they
    > > > bump into each other. Nothing has to be pushed; there are certain
    > > > ionic and covalent bonding possibilities that serve as attractors
    > > > once candidates drift close.
    > >
    > > Very little in the body works according to mechanical or chemical
    > > necessity. When Drew Endy and John Yin at the University of
    > > Wisconsin-Madison modeled a virus that attacks E. coli in the human
    > > gut, they thought their model would tell them precisely how the virus
    > > would react to various drugs. Instead they found "a tremendous number
    > > of degrees of freedom" in the possible reactions of the virus.
    > > Biochemist Alfred Gilman, a Nobel prize winner, summed it up nicely.
    > > "I could draw you a map of all the components in a cell and put all
    > > the proper arrows connecting them. I or anybody else would look at
    > > that map and have absolutely no ability to predict anything."
    > >
    > Here cause and effect apply. If a cell evolves with certain
    > characteristics and is presented with particular stimuli, then it
    > reacts within a certain range.

    Says who? Did you read the quotes from Endy/Yin and Gilman? Biological
    processes do not necessarily react predictably to given stimuli. You're
    still dealing with the body as if it were an automobile engine. As Kant
    pointed out, in a machine the parts are built so as to fit each other. In
    an organism, the parts build each other as they build themselves. Thus all
    the parts identify with each other holistically. Organisms exhibit
    "self-organization" (Kant's term). There's no "self" in a machine.
    Mechanistic biology is incompatible with the holistic notion of self-nature.
    Perhaps you weren't aware of that.

    > > The cause of this recent upsurge of uncertainty is the Genome Project.
    > > It was thought that we would finally start seeing some hard evidence
    > > regarding the existence of genetic instructions, and it just hasn't
    > > panned out. Instead the reductionist approach is looking increasingly
    > > implausible. The ultimate triumph of molecular biology is proving to
    > > be its undoing.
    > >
    > We have much work to do to understand the synergistic effects of
    > many genes working in concert, and many developments occurring
    > at the same time in gestation. Rather than fetal development being
    > affected by any kind of vague and mystical "extra-genetic species
    > memory", it is much more likely that development of each
    > component is affected by the simultaneous development of other,
    > physically contiguous areas.

    When electromagnetic fields were first discovered, it was claimed that these
    were "vague and mystical." The belief in the necessity of physical
    contiguity is the basis of the concept of the ether. The universe does not
    function according to contact mechanics. Mechanistic theory long-ago
    accepted the reality of fields and resonance. There's no reason why these
    phenomena can't be applied to biology.

    > > > > The lesson of
    > > > > 20th century physics is that there's no center, there's no ground,
    > > > > there's no whole, there's no essence, and there's no substance.
    > > > > Physicalism is nihilism. Yet, as Aristotle pointed out, you can't
    > > > > have accident without substance. Since the concept of substance
    > > > > has no meaning in physics, it must be metaphysical. The error is
    > > > > to equate physical with natural and therefore metaphysical with
    > > > > supernatural. The task is to find a natural object whose
    > > > > existence is absolute.
    > > > >
    > > > This is to confuse the microphysical with the macrophysical.
    > > > While it is true that indiividual quantum particles demonstrate a
    > > > statistical probability of existing or of occupying a location, once
    > > > you take dodecadrillions to the nth power of them in the aggregate,
    > > > the weight of all those individual cases multiplied by each other
    > > > resolves the probabilities into something prohibitively approaching
    > > > certainty. That is why light measurement can affect the energy
    > > > state and location of an electron, and positron-electron pairs can
    > > > blink into and out of existence, yet viewing a thrown baseball does
    > > > nothing measureable to its speed, location or existence.
    > >
    > > In other words, the world is not grounded on substance. It's grounded
    > > on statistics. Physics isn't reality. It's "information." If
    > > there's substance, it's metaphysical. And if there isn't substance,
    > > then the universe has no self. Not just people but all of existence
    > > would then be a recursive hallucination.
    > To say that the universe is all a
    > hallucination basically redefined hallucination as real. It could just
    > be that you have not thought long and carefully about these things;
    > all people practice philosophy, some just practice it well, and
    > others badly. The very idea of the totality being hallucinatory
    > without a real referent by means of which to make a grounding
    > comparative judgment on the matter is foolish, which is why I was
    > sharp with you earlier. Some people do not suffer fools gladly; I
    > have a difficult time suffering them at all. But there is a difference
    > between ignorance, on the one hand, and dense obtusity, on the
    > other; the first is remediable, and the second is not.

    You are really an ass. Obviously I'm not claiming that the universe is a
    recursive hallucination. It's been my experience that paying attention is
    useful in these situations.

    Ted Dace

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