Re: RE:

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 04:34:55 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: RE:
    Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 23:34:55 -0500
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    >From: John Wilkins <>
    >Subject: Re: RE:
    >Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 14:41:52 +1100
    >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.
    No, no, no. I recall Huxley actually writing something about noogenetics
    that was proto-memetic, but not having the refs in hand I'll have to go to
    the library sometime and track them down. You might be thinking of Mayr's
    curious discussion about psychozoa being a kingdom or some such, which he
    juxtaposes with Jared Diamond's (who writes the intro for Mayr's newest book
    _What Evolution Is_) third chimp view.
    IMO humans are apes, though whether we are chimps is debatable (by those
    more knowledgable than I on the details).

    Mayr's views on Haeckelian recapitulation are questionable IMO. His recent
    book is pretty good on the topic, but like in his earlier article he starts
    giving in to the temptations of recapitulationism. He rightly points out
    Haeckel's going overboard with the infamous biogenetic law, which I rabidly
    denounced in a previous post, but he then says that it's not the "adult
    form" but structures which *are* recapitulated :-/

    I met Mayr once several years ago when he was wintering in Florida and gave
    a talk at my school. Back then I wasn't well acquainted with his works. If I
    could go back to the moment when we had a Q and A session I'd definitely
    needle him on a few things, like recapitulation, where he got the psychozoa
    as kingdom attribution to Huxley from (maybe in private conversation between
    the two? as they were acquainted), and some other things that I've ruminated
    on in the past...oh yeah something about the history he had with Goldschmidt
    ("genetic revolutions", "hopeful monsters" and all that).

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