Re: Abstractism

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 18:28:12 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Abstractism
    Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 10:28:12 -0800
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    From: Joe Dees

    > >I think Grant's comment is particularly useful here. If we can interpret
    > >ink blots and clouds as having particular meanings, then evidently we're
    > >capable of generating information in our minds even when the things
    > >we're apprehending contain no information themselves. We might
    > >imagine that the meaning is actually located in the ink blot or the
    > >but it's clearly in our minds. And if that's the case, then why can't
    > >same be true of books and computer screens?
    > Because unlike clouds and Rorshach blots, information is intentionally
    encoded by meaning-bestowing others in books and email posts (such as this
    one). Just find a cloud or Rorshach blot that disagrees with you.

    Interesting how you start your response with "Because," as if what follows
    in any way addresses my point. It's an unconscious rhetorical trick, much
    like your habit of starting sentences with "Actually..."

    To summarize, there are three kinds of form: material, abstract, and living.
    Material forms have no intrinsic identity. Rocks, dust, and clouds are just
    random agglomerations of matter to which we apply labels for our own
    convenience. Artifacts, going all the way back to hand axes, are formed
    according to our abstract ideas, but the ideas themselves don't inhere to
    the objects, which are strictly chemical structures. Material forms are
    made of matter, while abstract forms (i.e. information) are made of
    imagination. The two shall never meet. While we habitually project our
    abstractions onto our technological creations, in reality these objects
    contain nothing but molecules in various configurations.

    This is not the case with organisms. What defines living things, from
    bacteria on up, is that their material constituents are intrinsically
    formed. The matter of the organism is directly identified with its form.
    Death is simply the disconnection of body from that which continually
    informs it. Creationism misunderstands life by treating organisms as
    machines whose form has been imposed onto them according to the abstract
    idea of a "Creator." Neo-Darwinism retains this myth in the guise of
    physicalism. Instead of being imposed by divine intelligence, organic form
    is imposed through a combination of random and environmental forces.

    Since only organisms contain intrinsic form, to project our abstract forms
    onto simple, physical objects, as if they literally contained this
    information, is to engage in a kind of animism.


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