Re: RE:

From: John Wilkins (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 03:41:52 GMT

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    On Friday, February 8, 2002, at 02:18 PM, Scott Chase wrote:
    > Nietzsche said something in passing about agnostics "worship[ping] the
    > question mark itself as God" (see _Genealogy of Morals_, Third Essay,
    > Section 25, trans. by Kaufmann and Hollingdale, Vintage Books, New
    > York, 1967). I don't hink as an agnostic that I'm worshipping anything.

    It is my experience that militant atheists are as bad as militant
    fundamentalists in trying to fit everyone into the Procrustean bed of
    "believers/heretics". I'm an agnostic because (i) you can't answer the
    question, and (ii) an unanswerable question is a question in grammatical
    form only. There's not even a question mark.

    Nietzsche is just trying to rationalise his own problems with western
    religion, IMO.

    > Maybe I'm less commital than Vince and the militant atheists, but I
    > reserve the right to criticize religiously derived metaphysical
    > speculations (especially of the designology ilk) AND militant atheistic
    > overkill. Theistic evolutionists who follow a methodological naturalism
    > and can separate oil and water along the lines of Gouldian
    > non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) and refrain from the rancid
    > emulsification of Behe-ian/Dembskian intelligent design neo-Paleyism
    > are to be respected, if not necessarily agreed with.

    I like this analogy. I have a mental picture of rancid yak butter...

    > I'm not too keen on Teilhardian omegoid noospheric orthogenesis
    > adherents either, though there could be some memeticists who like some
    > of his ideas. Wasn't Julian Huxley a proto-memeticist of sorts with his
    > noetic allusions to noogenetics?

    According to Mayr, yes, but when we tried to track this down, we
    couldn't find it - Mayr's ref was incorrect (he cited _The Modern
    Synthesis_). It may have been in a non-science piece Huxley wrote in
    1940 or so.

    John S Wilkins
    Head, Communication Services
    The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
    Parkville, Victoria, Australia

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