Re: Song of Myself

Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 02:44:21 BST

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    Subject: Re: Song of Myself
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    On 23 Aug 2001, at 12:15, Dace wrote:

    > From: <>
    > > > Genes function in the body the same way a tuning device
    > > > functions in a radio. It's not as if 101.3 megahertz is somehow a
    > > > code describing the music that appears over that channel.
    > > >
    > > Here comes the 'channeling Ramtha' mysticism again; this is the REAL
    > > fairy tale (the one for which there is NO evidence whatsoever, and
    > > the belief in which defies logic, reason and rationality). As if
    > > dead, rotted and gone organisms, their system configuration degraded
    > > and decayed beyond recognition, could nevertheless send 'messages
    > > from beyond the grave' to fertilized zygotes.
    > Sheldrake is suggesting that the form of an organism somehow stays
    > with the present, even when its materialization has long since
    > vanished. This is simply a roundabout way of saying that if memory is
    > real, it's holistic, not particulate.
    And this idea of an ethereal or astral memory, in the complete and
    utter absence of any site or mechanism for same, is itself an
    anthromorphization and a (very old) mystically driven error.
    Platonic Forms, 'somehow' hovering in the celestial spheres, to
    inform the mundane world, long after their dead carriers have
    dissolved away; it makes for okay greek literature, and even
    possesses a seductive touch of poesy, but scientific and
    empirically veridical, it is not.
    > > Your idea of what genes do is about as plausible as the
    > > Greek idea that brains existed to cool the blood.
    > And the modern habit of equating the mind with the brain is no more
    > plausible than the Greek view. The mind involves representation, such
    > as the though, "The telephone is ringing," which refers to an event in
    > the world. Yet, if the brain is part of the physical world, then it
    > can't very well step outside that world and represent something within
    > it. Physical objects abide by a very simple rule: X = X. The thing
    > is itself, nothing more or less. One atom or molecule or neuron
    > cannot "represent" another atom or molecule or neuron. Arrange the
    > neurons any way you please, they're still not going to add up to
    > anything more than themselves. You can draw an arrow on a piece of
    > paper, but it's just ink. It doesn't actually "point" at something
    > else except in our mental interpretation of this ink.
    This paragraph demonstrates your complete ignorance of both
    emergence and of complexity theory (the field in which Goodwin
    and his colleagues John Holland and Stuart Kauffman are working
    at the Santa Fe Institute), and makes me wonder if you even know
    what you mean when you invoke such a term as holism. A system
    adds up to MORE than the sum of its parts; it is comprised of its
    components PLUS their interconnections (which is real handy for
    gene templates). The mind is NOT the brain, but the brain forms
    the material substrate from which the mind emerges, and this is
    able to happen when the product of the number of neurons and the
    complexity of their axonal, dendritic and synaptic interconnectional
    structure surpasses the Godelian limit, and becomes capable of
    > Just as mind can't be reduced to brain, organic form can't be reduced
    > to genes.
    Organic form emerges from genes, which also possess a form of
    self-reference (although not consciously so), in that they self-
    > > > Every structure
    > > > in the body has its own distinctive pattern of vibration
    > > > corresponding to its shape.
    > > >
    > > Vibrations do not correspond to shape so much as they
    > > correspond to size and elemental composition; just check out
    > > tuning forks. And, BTW, vibrations do not encode the configuration
    > > or composition of the source, since many different configurations
    > > and compositions can produce the same vibrational frequency, and
    > > ocilloscopes and frequency generators can (each) produce many
    > > different ones. It just isn't feasible, or believeable.
    > Tuning forks aren't alive. Living form is fundamentally different
    > from nonliving form. In the first case, the thing *is* the form. In
    > the second case, the form of the thing is accidental. A chair doesn't
    > care if it stays a chair or gets chopped up into firewood. If a thing
    > is nonliving, it can be made to resonate acoustically anyway you
    > please. But if it's alive, it's got its own vibe.
    Now you're REALLY sounding newage sewage-y! Its own VIBE???
    And Jesie Arbogast's arm was removed by a shark, whether he
    CARED or not, as if that has anything whatsoever to do with
    '*vibrational frequencies*' which supposedly, according to the fairy
    tale pickling your brain, distinguish life from nonlife in some
    bizarrely clueless recycling of the discredited 19th century elan
    vital. Do you think Jessie's removed arm lost it's '*vibrational
    tendencies*' when it was severed? Did it's loss affect the 'body
    tune' (oh, GAK!)? And what happens when you stand in front of
    concert speakers? Do you 'lose your self or (omigid) *morphic
    configuration* because a 'foreign vibe' (snicker) has invaded your
    somatic turf? Oh, puh-LEEEZE, this is so pathetically ridiculous
    as to be nauseating!
    > > > However, each individual starts with a slightly
    > > > different composition of genes, and this guarantees that the
    > > > individual will be unique. Genes account for our differences, not
    > > > our samenesses.
    > > >
    > > This is perhaps the densest contention, and it arises from the
    > > confused idea that sameness and difference are nonrelational
    > > opposites, rather than being correlative opposites, that is,
    > > abstract ideal poles of a concrete real continuum of the more or
    > > less similar.
    > The differences produced by our genes play out in the context of our
    > sameness.
    Or maybe the sameness produced by our genes play out in the
    context of our differences. Either one says much the same, and
    neither says much of anything.
    > Ted
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > see:

    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)

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