Re: Dawkins etc

From: Dace (
Date: Sat Sep 08 2001 - 06:00:31 BST

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Re: Cichlids & Memes"

    Received: by id GAA11497 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Sat, 8 Sep 2001 06:05:07 +0100
    Message-ID: <001301c13823$3ddeb1a0$3324f4d8@teddace>
    From: "Dace" <>
    To: <>
    References: <>
    Subject: Re: Dawkins etc
    Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 22:00:31 -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

    > Hi, Ted, the difference between electromagnetism and gravity on the one
    > hand, and 'MR' on the other, is that I can readily do conclusive
    > and acquire direct experience with the first (e.g. compasses, magnetos and
    > falling) whereas I can't with your 'MR.'

    Compasses and magnets are objects, not fields. You can't see magnetic
    fields because they're made of space. You can see iron filings arrange
    themselves in lines of force, but not the "force" itself. Same goes for
    gravity. You can't directly experience it, only its manifestations, such as
    the weight of your body on the surface of the earth.

    We can also indirectly experience morphic resonance. For instance, the
    subjects of Sheldrake's crossword puzzles found that they could solve
    puzzles more easily when many other people had already solved them. This
    was a controlled experiment, and its results have not been successfully
    disputed. There's a great deal of evidence, much of which Sheldrake didn't
    compile himself but merely reinterpreted in the light of his theory.

    > Stating that:
    > > As properties of nature
    > > they require no explanation.
    > and
    > > The point of a real explanation is that it needs no explanation of its
    > own. >
    > is not sufficient to expalin away the lack of any real statement of 'what'
    > and 'how.'

    MR is the resonance of intrinsically formed objects with others. It
    operates through similarity of form. EM is the resonance of charged
    particles with others. It operates through similarity of charge. That's
    the what and the how of MR and EM.

    > > How are macromolecules molded in living structures? Memory, of course.
    > Saying 'of course' does not make it so, and one can imagine many other
    > of providing for such cellular evolution

    Virtually everyone agrees that living form is perpetuated across the
    generations through memory. What we disagree on is whether this memory is
    morphic or genetic. Does it involve some kind of natural process? Or is it
    a sort of accidental version of artificial memory, such as we find in the
    "memory" banks of computers and the pages of books. That we're dealing with
    memory of one kind or another is not under dispute, except, of course, by
    Goodwin & Co., who offer a sort of Platonistic interpretation of organic

    > (not 'molding', as this choice of
    > wording necessarily implies the unsupported existence of a 'mold', which
    > what your idea of 'MR' requires, if I understand it correctly).

    In MR there's no independent mold or design. The basis of form is past
    forms, not a mold that exists either in the mind of God (Intelligent Design)
    or the interior of the nucleus (Blind Design).

    > > If we can prove that *intrinsic* forms
    > > resonate over time, then we've explained memory according to a
    > > property of nature.
    > Without worrying yet about proof, it might simply be useful to be able to
    > state a coherent, non-metaphoric description of the physical properties of
    > how 'form' resonates, and how an unshaped or evolving medium might via
    > 'resonance' be influenced to take on the form.

    No one can describe the physical properties of how "charge" resonates. All
    we've got is Faraday's theory and Maxwell's equations. And this theory does
    indeed explain electrical and magnetic phenomena. Electromagnetism, in
    turn, probably manifests a primordial unified force. The existence of force
    is axiomatic. You don't explain things like force, energy, light, momentum,
    angular momentum, conservation, inertia, or space. These are properties of
    nature. It's with these properties that we explain the various phenomena.

    No one believed Faraday until Maxwell described EM mathematically. So why
    the skepticism in this case? After all, morphogenetic fields have already
    been described mathematically, not only by Goodwin but the great
    catastrophist Rene Thom, as well as many others. Any competent
    mathematician can learn field equations for organisms. The question is
    whether or not these equations describe universal properties of nature. EM
    fields exist throughout the universe. The force underlying them has
    presumably existed since the universe became asymmetrical shortly after the
    big bang. But organisms have only been around for a little while, and only
    on this one planet. They're not universal. So why would the fields that
    shape them be universal? Goodwin argues that these fields are equivalent to
    standard, physical fields. Sheldrake recognizes that life appeared in one
    particular place and that its forms unfolded gradually over time. It's not
    universal, and it's not static. If these fields are real, they must arise
    over time. Rather than manifesting universal principles, like the laws of
    motion or thermodynamics, they're based on past fields, i.e. on memory.

    > Giving a name to this
    > concept does not constitute making such a statement, no matter how catchy
    > repeated the name is.

    You mean like, "genetic instructions?" If organic memory is natural, then
    it works in a way that's entirely alien to our modern way of life. But if
    it works artificially, then it's as familiar as a book or a tape or a
    computer. This is the power and resilience of the neo-Darwinian meme. We
    find it comforting.

    > Ted, I do thank you for your responses to my queries. If any such thing as
    > 'MR' exists, you have a yeoman's work ahead of you.

    Thank you, Lawrence.



    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 : Sat Sep 08 2001 - 06:09:54 BST