Re: Teleology etc.

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 18:57:43 BST

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    Sorry you're getting such a kicking Ted - I have to say I admire your
    staying power!

    Two points to start:
    1) You just can't cite Kant as an authority on molecular biology.
    2) Protein folding is rather complex - many chaperones help out,
    different cellular compartments are involved, as are timing effects to
    allow local folding. You need a concept of an energy landscape, which is
    'out there' in a sense(...), but you most emphatically do not need
    mystery fields of force.

    > To my knowledge Wilson has never responded to Sheldrake's thesis that
    > termite mounds are governed by morphic fields, with the termites occupying a
    > similar role to cells within animal bodies. Wilson has never responded to
    > this suggestion because he has no alternative. It's just up in the air. He
    > doesn't like the field explanation, but he can't offer anything better.

    > I'm sure that there is a similar
    > rule or small group of rules, probably connected with pheromonic
    > chemical marking, that will suffice to explain termite mound
    > construction.

    I've seen simulated paper wasps build complex nests despite individuals
    only having small simple locally applicable rule sets (consisting of
    simple input=output pairs). Termites would be easy enough too. Wilson
    didn't have decent computers and complexity theory to help him.

    And btw where did the *first* termite mound come from (and the first
    protein structures too)?

    > Sheldrake gets around both of these problems.

    No he doesn't - he tells us a story without evidence. He's his own worst
    enemy as far as science is concerned, but then I suspect we're not his
    target demographic.

    > Memes not a product of genes, so must be from MR etc. etc.

    Uh-uh - the whole point of this group is the study of culturally
    heritable patterns - heritable as in copyable. No need for any ethereal
    templates. And again, where do the first ones come from? Evolution by
    natural selection operating on variation explains this diversification
    for me, what does MR have to say about it (genuine question)?

    > Has anybody spoke to the infamous 100th monkey phenomenon yet?

    Pah-leeze put me out of my misery...

     Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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