Re: "Newage sewage"

From: Dace (
Date: Thu Aug 23 2001 - 07:45:27 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: "Newage sewage""

    Received: by id HAA27989 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Thu, 23 Aug 2001 07:47:19 +0100
    Message-ID: <002101c12b9f$331b34e0$9224f4d8@teddace>
    From: "Dace" <>
    To: <>
    References: <3B81C85E.23023.70040C@localhost>
    Subject: Re: "Newage sewage"
    Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 23:45:27 -0700
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    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
    Precedence: bulk

    From: <>

    > > From: "Wade T.Smith"
    > > > It is completely and totally part of the pseudoscience of all newage
    > > > beliefs, because morphic resonance is a religious add-in to nature,
    > > > another new god in the already deifically overburdened cosmos,
    > > > another incompetent witness, who, having really seen nothing,
    > > > decides to save time and energy with the invention of an intelligent
    > > > designer, because, one cannot have morphic resonance without a
    > > > primal morphic resonator.
    > >
    > > Does electromagnetic resonance imply a "primal electromagnetic
    > > resonator?" Fields and resonance are an accepted aspect of scientific
    > > theory. Morphic field theory merely replaces charge with form, as
    > > gravitational field theory replaces charge with mass.
    > >
    > Form is not simple, as is mass and charge (more or less of one
    > thing), but complex and informational. Any attempt to equate
    > or otherwise draw analogies between them is therefor illegitimate.

    Form can be simple or complex. Complexity to form is like density to mass
    or frequency to charge. Each type involves a spectrum from high to low.

    > > > Sheldrake has been trained in 20th century scientific models--he has
    > > > a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University (1967)--but he
    > > > prefers Goethe and 19th century vitalism.
    > >
    > > Sheldrake rejects vitalism. He argues that no special "force"
    > > animates living matter. Morphic resonance applies to any regular,
    > > repeating system in nature.
    > >
    > No, cyclical repetition applies to such systems, and these
    > repetitions (with mutational, modification) are, in living systems,
    > genetically mediated.

    Regardless of the significance of genes, Sheldrake is not a vitalist. The
    author is simply trying to discredit him without actually investigating his

    > >
    > > > Sheldrake prefers teleological to
    > > > mechanistic models of reality.
    > >
    > > Sheldrake rejects teleology. Influences from the past, not the
    > > future, account for goal-directed behavior in organisms. One could
    > > certainly characterize his system as "morphic mechanics." It's just
    > > that his mechanism is probabilistic, as in quantum mechanics, as
    > > opposed to the determinism of Cartesian mechanics.
    > >
    > "Morphic" has to do with form, not behavior; this is one confusion.

    All form is a product of the behavior of lower levels of structure. So, the
    form of an organ is equivalent to the behavior of tissues, and the form of a
    tissue follows from the behavior of cells, and so on. The shape of a
    protein and its lock-and-key type function are the same thing. Form and
    behavior have the same relationship as present and past. Two sides of the
    same coin.

    By the way, your point here can't possibly help you, since genes supposedly
    code for both form and behavior as well.

    > Another confusion is equating differing times (the present and the
    > past, for instence). If such an Edenic position were indeed true,
    > then it would have to be equally true that the future would be found
    > within the present; IOW, lockstep superdeterminism.

    The future is an abstraction. It has no independent existence. When
    tomorrow comes, it won't be tomorrow anymore. There's only now. Whether or
    not today somehow incorporates yesterday as well, "tomorrow" doesn't exist
    outside our imagination. Determinism is what you get when you imagine that
    the future somehow already exists, which follows by necessity from the
    reduction of time to spacetime.

    > The entire
    > history of the universe, including who swatted which gnats last year
    > in the Serengeti and what they thought about it, would have to be
    > written in the fabric of the big bang, meaning that you were
    > destined to argue for your position, which actually means that you
    > can't freely argue for it; if your position were to be true, your
    > arguments would have to be meaningless, for they could not be
    > freely chosen, and instead be as foreordained as the ignition of a
    > star when sufficient gas gathers. It would also fail utterly to explain
    > novelty and diversity; if it were true, the universe should still be
    > superheated plasma, as 'morphic resionance from its prior states
    > ordained.

    All this and you never conceded or even addressed the point. Labeling
    Sheldrake as a supporter of teleology has no basis in fact. It's just a way
    of dismissing him without having to deal with him.

    > > > Rather than spend his life, say, trying to
    > > > develop a way to increase crop yields, he prefers to study and think
    > > > in terms outside of the paradigms of science, i.e., inside the
    > > > paradigms of the occult and the paranormal.
    > >
    > > Sheldrake works entirely within the confines of scientific method.
    > >
    > Bullus shittus; I've listed some of his book titles and collaborators.
    > He's an anecdotal just-so storyteller, nothing more.

    Not all of his books are intended to promote his "hypothesis of formative
    causation." He does have a life outside of his scientific pursuits.

    > >
    > > > His latest book is entitled Dogs That Know
    > > > When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of
    > > > Animals. He prefers a romantic vision of the past to the bleak
    > > > picture of a world run by technocrats who want to control Nature
    > > > even if that means destroying much of the environment in the
    > > > process. In short, he prefers metaphysics to science, though he
    > > > seems to think he can do the former but call it the latter.
    > >
    > > Sheldrake is allergic to metaphysics. He offers no metaphysical
    > > explanation of either origins or memory. He leaves these issues open.
    > >
    > His morphic resonential god is a mystery? How convenient!
    > Actually, though, mataphysics is a dead discipline in serious
    > philosophical circles; people look beneath rather than beyond the
    > physical world (for beyond verification is the realm of belief, not
    > knowledge), and have thus rejected metaphysics in favor of
    > ontology, the consequences of which CAN be tested. But there is
    > not a single extant successful test for the existence of morphic
    > fields, just a lot of speculative fiction possessed of varying degrees
    > of literary cachet.

    Again, you've evaded the point. Calling his theory "metaphysical" has no
    meaning or validity. There's no effort here to get the truth about
    Sheldrake. It's just abuse and distortion.

    Morphic fields can be demonstrated according to non-contact influence from
    one organism to another. Sheldrake produced a test demonstrating this
    effect between pets and their owners. A skeptic by the name of Wiseman
    tried to refute Sheldrake by replicating the experiment and, to his
    astonishment, generated exactly the same data. No one has successfully
    refuted Sheldrake's findings in this test.

    > > > What the rest of
    > > > the scientific world terms lawfulness--the tendency of things to
    > > > follow patterns we call laws of nature--Sheldrake calls morphic
    > > > resonance.
    > >
    > > The concept of eternal, mathematical "laws of nature" is clearly
    > > transcendent, i.e. "metaphysical." Sheldrake regards physical laws as
    > > being embedded in nature. Material existence is simply inconceivable
    > > without such properties as entropy and the tendency toward
    > > equilibrium. But when it comes to the physical constants and the
    > > forms of particles, these do not follow from first principles and are
    > > therefore explainable according to morphic resonance. Rather than
    > > being shaped by "God" or "eternal laws," electrons are stabilized by
    > > habit. The first electrons formed randomly and then the template has
    > > been maintained ever since through resonance.
    > >
    > This 'form contagion' just doesn't wash, especially when one
    > considers that many of the particles formed have never come into
    > contact with any others, and they are too basic and primordial to
    > own receivers of such instructions, especially during their
    > formation, even if there could be such a thing as a universal
    > transmitter at this point - or any point; but now, Sheldrake would
    > require many different ones - and how were they formed? Not by
    > morphic resonance. And how do they work? Unknown - no
    > mechanism can be found.

    Like-affects-like. No different than mass in the case of planets or
    positive and negative poles of magnets. No need for a "universal
    transmitter." Every organic form contributes to the strength of the field
    associated with that form.

    > > > He
    > > > describes it as a kind of memory in things determined not by their
    > > > inherent natures, but by repetition.
    > >
    > > "Inherent nature" is a metaphysical concept. There's no such thing in
    > > physics.
    > >
    > There's no such thing as repetition memory in physics.

    The point is that the author is unknowingly offering a metaphysical concept
    at the same time that he's trying to knock Sheldrake senseless with the
    "metaphysics" club.

    > >Current organisms are stabilized by
    > > morphic fields, which in turn are stabilized by resonance with past,
    > > similar organisms.
    > >
    > And WHAT and WHERE are these morphic fields?

    As in magnetic fields, moprhic fields exist both outside and inside the
    objects they influence.

    > > > This gives him a
    > > > conceptual framework wherein information is transmitted mysteriously
    > > > and miraculously through any amount of space and time without loss
    > > > of energy,
    > >
    > > Morphic resonance is based on form, not energy, so there couldn't be
    > > any energy loss in the transmission across time.
    > >
    > Form is embodied in matter, and matter is Einsteinianly equivalent
    > to enrergy; as Wade pointed out, this is a blatant and horribly
    > damning error (among many).

    Form is not the same as the matter with which it's associated. A stack of
    bricks is not the same as a house. The difference between an organism and a
    house is that the form of the organism isn't externally imposed but arises
    "organically" from within. This is why organisms resonate with each other
    while houses don't. Resonance only works with living form.

    > > The genetic model offers no
    > > explanation whatsoever for the remote control of genes over the body.
    > >
    > The genetic model is mediated by mechanisms that have been
    > isolated and implemented to successfully create chosen changes;
    > you can't get much more empirical than that.

    Nobody has isolated any mechanisms by which genetic information is
    translated into organic structure.

    > > There isn't even a hypothesis for how it might occur which could then
    > > be tested and falsified.
    > >
    > Sure, it's been tested, and the genes for bioluminescence in
    > jellyfish make gene-spliced mice glow green, as the gene for
    > Vitamin A (carotene) in carrots causes gene-spliced rice to turn
    > yellow with it.

    This only tell us that genes play a role in organic form, not that they
    somehow code for it or control it.

    > > Before we can take a critique seriously, the critic must at least
    > > demonstrate a basic understanding of the material under review. What
    > > we have here is an extended ad hominem attack punctuated with numerous
    > > factual errors. It cannot possibly serve as an effective refutation
    > > of morphic resonance.
    > >
    > Actually, it was a trenchant, decisive and devastating critique; but
    > presented to a morphic creationist, logic and evidence count for
    > little or nothing when weighed against their wishful fantasies.

    The author claimed that morphic resonance is transmitted by "morphogenic
    fields." This is completely off the wall, bears no relation whatsoever to
    the actual theory. The author has no idea what he's criticizing and no way
    of knowing that it's really false.


    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Aug 23 2001 - 07:51:52 BST