A Challenge to both Evolution and Intelligent Design

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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Nikolai
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Post by Nikolai » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:10 pm

Hi metazoan,

Dregs kindly drew attention to the post where I outlined the problem with evolution applying to everything, but I can reiterate.

We have no way of distinguishing between life and non-life (the bulk of the thread has focussed on this point). We therefore cannot empirically refute the possibility that all things are 'living' and subject to the laws of natural selection. The 'dead' rat might therefore be viewed as an 'adaptation' to the sewer, just as much as a livng one.

If everything in exsitence is 'adapted' then there can be no 'maladaptation' as such, only a constant process of transformation, where everything is 'adapted' to everything else in that moment. The finch is adapted to the island, and the island to the finch.

If this is the case, then Darwinism loses all its explanatory power. Survival is a given, and for all levels of fitness. 'Death' enhancing behaviours evolve alongside life enhancing behaviours, everythign is adaptation.. In short, everything simply is the way it is, and there is little else to be said on the subject.

The only way out of this is to separate life from death - to put them into qualitiatively different categories. We need the organism to be subject to processes that the chemical building blocks of the organism are not.

We need the vital spark. But that is a metaphysical notion that cannot be known, only believed.

Best wishes, Nikolai

Jack
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Post by Jack » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:16 pm

Nikolai wrote:
If everything in exsitence is 'adapted' then there can be no 'maladaptation' as such, only a constant process of transformation, where everything is 'adapted' to everything else in that moment. i
Hi Nikolai,

I know that this is not exactly what you were referring to above but the following is one reason why man is so very different from the rest of creation.

Man alone is the only creature that suffers from maladaptation in extremely large numbers as it relates to the psychological and spiritual realm. All one has to do is look to the number of mental institutions and prisons that populate this planet.

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:25 pm

Woah woah, thats a bit umm, wrong?

We also widely wear glasses because of our poor eyesight.

The reason other animals don't wear glasses?

They can't make them, so the myopic and hyperopic die..

The consequences of maladaptation are not as severe for humans, for various reasons because of our vastly superior intelligence, such that it can even compensate to the degree that a maladaptation just becomes redundancy.
i.e. 20/20 vision went from being necessary for survival to being simply redundant.

Ofcourse, even in the prehistoric past (as archeological evidence has shown) caring for the chronically ill was carried out, and this makes evolutionary sense if and when the chronically ill person possesses skillsets, abilities or knowledge not possessed by anyone else in the group.

sumploke
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Post by sumploke » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:10 am

Hi Metzoan,

To jump straight into it:
Metazoan wrote:65 million years ago 'evolution' as a phenomenon would have still worked, it didn't have to wait for us to get here and start defining stuff.
It only works through the 'present' discourse - the present cultural constructions, in which one views '65 million years ago.'

So more or less it's '65 million years ago' as 'I' see it from the 'present' - through the cultural constructions of the 'now.'
Metazoan wrote:You don't have to define toast to make toast.
That statement doesn't work because you already know what toast is; so when you say 'you don't have to define toast to make toast,' you already know/have defined toast - and thus retrospectively claim - with the knowledge of what toast is, that you could have made that 'toast' without knowing/definition of what toast is. It doesn't work.

If you don't know what toast is, you could have been making a pudding instead - or something else. It's toast only after you learn its 'toast.'
Metazoan wrote:I welcome challenges to evolution, the more it is tested, the more it stands up to the challenges and it does so honestly.
One may 'observe' phenomena but always within a certain discourse, a certain framework - as with the case of those that support the theory of evolution, which view 'evolution' through the hypothesis of evolution.

This constructed observation then - if it is observed or 'read' somewhere - as in the textuality of the observation, is always susceptible to what one does not observe or is unobservable at that time. Moreover, is there a correct observation? If so is there a correct way to test it? It could just easily be correct only through certain justifications in the test. Another test my prove other results.

This is why evolution lacks merit because it can't be demonstrated with certainty - only with possibility.

Metazoan
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Post by Metazoan » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:58 pm

Hi Nikolai,
You wrote:We have no way of distinguishing between life and non-life (the bulk of the thread has focussed on this point).
I'm not sure who the 'we' is referring to, as the set 'we' does not contain me, it is a little puzzling. It is irrelevant how many people think something is true, it does not make it true.

Of course I can distinguish between life and non-life. What is green and turns red at the flick of a switch? Green = life, Red = dead.

These are invalid deductions; life is just a four letter word. The word does not modify life, it is just a handle to aid communications. The manner in which you use the word must be consistent with the idea to which it is attached.

If I attach the word life to my idea of a living frog and non life to a liquidised one, I can't then argue that the dead frog is alive by virtue of being able to clone it from some DNA from the smoothie.

I view the world as containing things that I consider alive: such as me.
Some things are not alive: a rock.
And some things that sit with a foot in both camps: like viruses, unfertilised eggs, sperm and Schrodinger's cat.

This is MY definition. What I think has no bearing on what IS life or non-life in an objective sense, just on what I THINK is life or non-life.
You wrote:We therefore cannot empirically refute the possibility that all things are 'living'...
I can, simply by defining some things as being non-life and showing that the object fits my description. Click.
You wrote:...and subject to the laws of natural selection.
We agree on something. All things are subject to natural selection whether they are alive or otherwise. A rock in a stable orbit is selected naturally to stay in orbit. The rings of Saturn are a beautiful example of complex natural selection. I my view that is.
You wrote:The 'dead' rat might therefore be viewed as an 'adaptation' to the sewer, just as much as a livng one.
Again, I agree. I view these two exactly the same in the sense that I view neither of them as an 'adaptation' to the sewer. Sewers simply suit rats.

Skipping the bit Psychonaut covered.
You wrote:The only way out of this is to separate life from death - to put them into qualitiatively different categories. We need the organism to be subject to processes that the chemical building blocks of the organism are not.
To what end? We are back to the beginning in a circle of illogic. To me you are trying to say two conflicting things are true simply by changing your definitions as you go around the loop. You are playing word games and trying to impose the results onto 'reality', 'reality' always has the last say.
You wrote:We need the vital spark. But that is a metaphysical notion that cannot be known, only believed.
If it is purely metaphysical then all this talk is meaningless. If you can get a handle on it by all this changing definition lark then it can't be metaphysical by your definition.

It looks to me that you are trying to find a justification to believe in a 'vital spark' when you also want the concept to be metaphysical.

Nikolai
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Post by Nikolai » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:53 pm

Metazoan
The manner in which you use the word [life] must be consistent with the idea to which it is attached.
OK, but life is a transcendental concept that can apply to anything we want it to. Life can be everything (as the animist would claim), or nothing, or some things and not others (as you suggest). It is impossible to empirically ascertain what life is - life is an a priori category to which the evidence is applied. Darwinism, with its delineation between the surviving and the dead is therefore based on nothing but conceptual conventions that are then supposed to exist in reality.
This is MY definition. What I think has no bearing on what IS life or non-life in an objective sense, just on what I THINK is life or non-life.
Think what you like, do, as long as you recognise that what you think is based on faith-based categories rather than an empirical reality. Often evolutionists think they have superceded the creationists by not needing faith to prop up their theories. They are of course wrong.
I can [refute the possibility that all things are living], simply by defining some things as being non-life and showing that the object fits my description.
At least you're honest! A dialogue:

Nick: What is living entity then?
Meta: This cat is
Nick: How do you know?
Meta: Because I assume that cat's are living - and this is a cat.
Nick: Looks like a dog to me
Meta: Trust me, its a cat.

So circular that writing it made me dizzy!
All things are subject to natural selection whether they are alive or otherwise
I assume you view the term 'selection' as rather meaningless then? In fact the term evolution, with its ameliorative connotations, is probably not to your taste either. What you must mean is that everything is in a constant state of change, and to try and single out species from this flux is rather like singling out the plume of smoke from a smoke filled room.

Funny, I've been suggesting the same thing myself :D

Best wishes, Nikolai

Metazoan
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Post by Metazoan » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:05 pm

Hi sumploke,
I wrote: 65 million years ago 'evolution' as a phenomenon would have still worked, it didn't have to wait for us to get here and start defining stuff.
You wrote: It only works through the 'present' discourse - the present cultural constructions, in which one views '65 million years ago.'

So more or less it's '65 million years ago' as 'I' see it from the 'present' - through the cultural constructions of the 'now.'
I find it difficult to be sure I get your meaning, but I'll have a go, let me know if I have misunderstood.

To me this is saying that something that I think today, like me thinking that things fall under the influence of gravity 65 million years ago, can have an effect on things that happened 65 million years ago.

I ask myself 'did things fall under the influence of gravity 65 million years ago?'

I must express the opinion that, on the balance of evidence I have to hand about the world as I see it today, the answer is more likely 'yes' than 'no'

The 'process of evolution' to me is just a specific example of a process of positive feedback which I see no reason to believe has changed in a very very long time.

Having said that, I think time is an illusion so I am arguing my points from the classic point of view because the thrust of my argument is about faulty logic, not evolution or life.
You wrote:when you say 'you don't have to define toast to make toast,' you already know/have defined toast
I take your point: Don't add casual remarks to points that stand up perfectly well on their own, any wooliness in the casual remark can detract from the former.

What I meant by that was: You don't have to define when bread becomes toast for bread to become toast.
I wrote:I welcome challenges to evolution, the more it is tested, the more it stands up to the challenges and it does so honestly.
You wrote:One may 'observe' phenomena but always within a certain discourse, a certain framework -

I try to observe phenomenon through what I think is called the 'scientific method'. I could be wrong but it is about objectivity, repeatability and stuff.
You wrote: - as with the case of those that support the theory of evolution, which view 'evolution' through the hypothesis of evolution.
This trips my naughtiness alarm so for clarification: Not all people who support the theory of evolution view 'evolution' through the hypothesis of evolution.

There are some who do seem to take liberties with the idea though.

I believe the 'process of evolution' is a specific instance of positive feedback because it passes the test of behaving in a way consistent with that description. My hypothesis is one I view through my perception of positive feedback.

'Evolution as a theory of the process of the evolution of species by natural selection' holds considerable merit with me due to the evidence I see that is based upon my perception of the 'scientific method' being applied to my understanding of positive feedback, mutation, mitosis and other stuff.
You wrote:This is why evolution lacks merit because it can't be demonstrated with certainty - only with possibility.
Did you really mean to say this? :shock:

Although I am glad that you do agree that evolution is possible.

I do not insist on any theory being demonstrated with certainty. I believe Newton's laws of motion are wrong, it does not mean that I don't use them. They do an excellent job and the correct equations just make it hard work to get effectively the same result. (I haven't needed to launch any atomic clocks into orbit lately.)

Are you saying that Newton's laws of motion lack merit?

Further to this, I think it is not possible to be certain in any absolute sense about a great many things.

To say that something lacks merit because it is not absolutely certain is to say that almost everything lacks merit and makes the term 'lacks merit' lack merit or even useful meaning.

Merit is not binary; some things hold more merit, in my eyes, than others.

.

Metazoan
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Post by Metazoan » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:52 pm

Hi Nikolai,
You wrote:OK, but life is a transcendental concept...
Only if that is what you define it as. I just have concepts of things that I attach the word 'life' to and 'non-life' to. I place no higher meaning on the word or the concept than that. My choice of which category to place things in is based upon my how convenient I find it. I try to be consistent and methodical.

It causes me no distress at all that there are things that do not fit comfortably into one set or the other. Any distress in my mind is usually caused by the world not being the way I want it to be. Let me see... I could change the world or I could change my mind. It's just life.
You wrote:Darwinism, with its delineation between the surviving and the dead is therefore based on nothing but conceptual conventions that are then supposed to exist in reality.
I know nothing of 'Darwinism', the 'ism' at the end tells me to avoid it.

Evolution, in my eyes is not about life/non-life but about explaining how and why things change. All this hot air changes the facts not one jot.

I do dislike the term 'Force of Nature'. Nature is not a force, it is a reaction.
You wrote:Think what you like, do, ...

'Free thinker' (as I define it) is a concept that I aspire to, much to the irritation of some.
You wrote:...as long as you recognise that what you think is based on faith-based categories rather than an empirical reality.
All I have is faith; this forum has stripped from me the last shred of any objective reality that I previously held.

Faith comes as a spectrum, to my mind:-

Enlightened faith to blind faith.
Rational faith to irrational faith.
Logical faith to illogical faith.

I have a choice, what do I base my faith on?

I have faith in the scientific method, faith in mathematics and logic, faith in my ability to think and reason, and I also have faith in human nature and what it can and will do.

As much as possible I base my faith on things that I feel pull me toward the enlightened, rational and logical end of the spectrum.

Did you mean 'objective' rather than 'empirical'?
You wrote:Often evolutionists think they have superceded the creationists by not needing faith to prop up their theories. They are of course wrong.
I agree; they are just pulling towards the opposite end of the 'faith spectrum' I set out above.
You said I wrote:I can [refute the possibility that all things are living], simply by defining some things as being non-life and showing that the object fits my description.
I think this may misrepresent what I was saying.
You wrote:We therefore cannot empirically refute the possibility that all things are 'living'...
I wrote:I can, simply by defining some things as being non-life and showing that the object fits my description. Click.
You used the word 'empirically' which to me means observed or measured. I had defined a liquidised frog as non-life and if it tastes like a frog smoothie then it fits the bill for me. My criterion are based on consistency (not of the smoothie) and purpose. I try not to change my definitions whimsically or politically.
You wrote:At least you're honest!


Best policy, makes it harder to spot when you tell a whopper.
You wrote:A dialogue:

Nick: What is living entity then?
Meta: This cat is
Nick: How do you know?
Meta: Because I assume that cat's are living - and this is a cat.
Nick: Looks like a dog to me
Meta: Trust me, its a cat.
Again, I think you misrepresent me:-

Nick: What is living entity then?
Meta: This cat is
Nick: How do you know?
Meta: Because I place live cats into the set 'living entities' - and this is a cat.
Nick: Looks like a dog to me
Meta: No problem, I place dogs into the same set, have to keep them apart though.
Meta: However, that does explain the bum dragging; I never did trust that breeder.
You wrote:So circular that writing it made me dizzy!
Then stop doing it :-)
I wrote:All things are subject to natural selection whether they are alive or otherwise.
You wrote:I assume you view the term 'selection' as rather meaningless then?
Can't see how you come to that conclusion, the term I was using was 'natural selection' and I hold it to have great meaning to me.

If you meant purposeless, then I'm likely to agree with you.
You wrote:In fact the term evolution, with its ameliorative connotations, is probably not to your taste either.
I see no ameliorative connotations at all, evolution is mindless, purposeless and produces more atrocities than I can stand thinking about.

Clearer definitions of what people mean when they use the word would be good though.
You wrote:you must mean is that everything is in a constant state of change,
Not everything, some things are more stable than others but entropy as a whole increases.
you wrote:and to try and single out species from this flux is rather like singling out the plume of smoke from a smoke filled room.
Damn, the toast must be burning.

I will leave the taxonomy to those who enjoy it, me, I like the general concepts. I make toast because I enjoy eating it, not arguing about it. And because it gives me an excuse to make a cup of tea.

.

sumploke
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Post by sumploke » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:39 am

Hi Metazoan,

I appreciate the clarity of your posts. To begin with I want to address some things you said to Nickolai before moving to ‘our’ dialogue.
You wrote:I'm not sure who the 'we' is referring to, as the set 'we' does not contain me, it is a little puzzling. It is irrelevant how many people think something is true, it does not make it true.
‘We’ does indeed refer to you, but to a ‘You’ only as an ‘Other’ – an assumed subject. Thus, there would not be a ‘we’ without an ‘I’ and ‘You.’ The ‘I’ includes the ‘You’ – ‘You’ as an alterity, into the ‘We.’
You wrote:These are invalid deductions; life is just a four letter word. The word does not modify life, it is just a handle to aid communications. The manner in which you use the word must be consistent with the idea to which it is attached.
There is no doubt that ‘life’ is just a four letter word. But the word itself, being diachronic, not only modifies, and changes what ‘life’ means over time, we cannot ‘talk,’ study ‘life’ without this ‘word,’ concept. For example, what life meant, what life was, say five hundred years ago (generally speaking) – was life before God, has changed to a quantified life – before the discourse of science.

Hence, we view the world through language. We interpret the world through epistemological structures of language/text. ‘We’ view life through our construction of what life is, life could mean one thing now and another later. Thus texuality not only mediates communication, it governs how ‘we’ view reality – 'there is no outside text' – as it infamously goes. There is no realm of 'ideas' outside language. Even the scientific discourse is subjected to language, for surely you 'read' what a scientist wrote about his findings etc.

Therefore the word, the ideas that we can only have through the word, from the word, is how ‘we’ view the world. ‘You’ and/or ‘I,’ we may use the word life – but for us to separate the signifier ‘life’ with its signified – the concept of life is itself is impossible – since the word encompasses both. For example, we cannot step outside of the texuality, outside language into the realm of concepts, to talk about ‘-------‘ since the ‘-------‘ is ‘nothing’ – that is we cannot speak about life without ‘life’ as a signifier and signified. There is no realm of ideas without the ‘sign,’ the ‘word’ life - that splits its signifier and signified up - the signified - the concept itself is problematic but that's another post. Although the application of the word itself is arbitrary (referentially speaking), the use of it is always controlled, through such discourses as dictionaries, and other cultural power centres - such as educational facilities, that define the 'I' - the subject. Thus ‘Life’ is more than just a word, it is part of the textuality that shapes our ontology. To reiterate there is no 'life' outside the culturally constructed 'word' 'life.'
You wrote:This is MY definition. What I think has no bearing on what IS life or non-life in an objective sense, just on what I THINK is life or non-life.


If it is all ‘I think’ in a subjective sense – and ‘I think’ is only subjective then how can you ever argue that there is an 'objective,' since you only view the supposed ‘objective’ from a subjective viewpoint? There is no separation between ‘what life is’ in its objective sense and your definition of what ‘life’ is. Both are from the subjective point of view. So this distinction between ‘what is’ and ‘my definition of life’ encompasses only your own subjective view of life. Moreover, if you say ‘life’ might mean other things to my definition, this ‘Other’ meaning of life is already contaminated by how, you, the subjective constructs (through a certain discourse) the meaning of ‘life.’ This ‘Other’ of ‘life’ is an ‘Othered’ assumption of what life means and is still within culturally constructed subjectivity – to borrow from Lacan. Thus this assumed distinction of ‘what life is’ in the objective sense to when you say "my definition of life" itself is a mistake. They are both subjective. However, I am not arguing the Cartesian 'I think.' Since despite the subjectivity, the 'I think' itself is a construction of a discourse, and so is 'life' as argued above.
You wrote:If it is purely metaphysical then all this talk is meaningless. If you can get a handle on it by all this changing definition lark then it can't be metaphysical by your definition.
I think what Nickolai means here is that the foundations of the scientific discourse is metaphysical. If one operates within the scientific discourse then one believes in its axioms – its truth statements, then there is meaning although the meaning rests on the foundation of metaphysics. Thus there exist and is derived from the so called truth statements of that discourse.
You wrote:I find it difficult to be sure I get your meaning, but I'll have a go, let me know if I have misunderstood.
You got my meaning.

But you haven’t here...
I wrote:when you say 'you don't have to define toast to make toast,' you already know/have defined toast.
You wrote:What I meant by that was: You don't have to define when bread becomes toast for bread to become toast.
This statement still doesn’t work. First at the point in time when you are saying it – you already know what toast is or you have some idea of what toast is – the characteristics that make it toast. Then you retroactively apply this meaning of toast and claim that could have made toast even without the knowledge of what toast is. For example, imagine now if you don’t know the noun: ‘--------‘ how can you say that you made it without having knowledge of what it is – you simply made something – and something could be anything. Thus when I say that you view evolution through the hypothesis of evolution – what I am arguing is that you are viewing a ‘temporal succession of events’ if such a thing exists, through the knowledge of evolution – of what you read about somewhere – or learned. Another example, say you want to get to point B from A, and you have no knowledge of where point B is, you will never know how to get there, or if you are there, you won't know its point B until you learn it. Thus you statement is faulty beccause you already know point 'B' and say you could have gotten to point B without knowledge of point B. If your claim were correct, first you would start off not knowing point B. Retroactively claiming something in the past that you say is possible from the knowledge of the present is a mistake.
You wrote:I believe the 'process of evolution' is a specific instance of positive feedback because it passes the test of behaving in a way consistent with that description. My hypothesis is one I view through my perception of positive feedback.
But earlier you wrote:
You wrote:I try to observe phenomenon through what I think is called the 'scientific method'. I could be wrong but it is about objectivity, repeatability and stuff.
‘I believe’ surely is subjective, then viewing a so called ‘objective, repeatable test’ is still subjective. My point is that there is no objective science, outside the scientific discourse, its own axioms - which is itself assumed to be objective - as an 'Othered' objectivity created from the subject/subjectivity.
You wrote:'Evolution as a theory of the process of the evolution of species by natural selection' holds considerable merit with me due to the evidence I see that is based upon my perception of the 'scientific method' being applied to my understanding of positive feedback, mutation, mitosis and other stuff.
And later:
You wrote:I do not insist on any theory being demonstrated with certainty. I believe Newton's laws of motion are wrong, it does not mean that I don't use them. )
I wrote:This is why evolution lacks merit because it can't be demonstrated with certainty - only with possibility.
My point here was not only to argue why ‘evolution’ lacks merit as opposed to having merit, but to also show that my view on evolution is in a sense subjectively constructed and evaluated. In doing so, I wanted to show that merit is simply a qualitative judgement, that ‘my merit’ and ‘your merit’ are equally valid in a subjective sense - as opposed to objective.

Thus when you ask:
You wrote:Are you saying that Newton's laws of motion lack merit?
I can only answer from a subjective point of view – since this in itself is a qualitative question to me, not whether Newton was right or wrong quantative sense – but then again right and wrong are also qualitatively/quantative decided on subjective criteria (based in a certain discourse) – but that aside. Newton may be right – but I may still hold that he lacks merit. He may lack merit in part of his theory, but may have merit in another part. Thus merit is only a description of how I view it through a specific criterion, specific to the subject, as Rorty argues ‘anything can be made to look good or bad by being redescribed.’ Thus anything has the possibility to lack merit or have merit, just because I argue that ‘evolution’ lacks merit through my use of the criteria of certainty – doesn’t mean I think everything lacks merit on the bases of that specific criterion. Things may fit that criterion and still have merit. There is no one fits all here. I only say ‘evolution’ lacks merit there because science presents itself as ‘objective’ and rigorous (generally speaking) and therefore certain in their own constructed ‘evidence,’ in their ‘tests.’
You wrote:Merit is not binary; some things hold more merit, in my eyes, than others.
Merit is a binary because if you make qualitative judgements – you will say whatever the thing is - such as evolution, that there is the ‘presence’ of merit as opposed to the ‘absence’ of merit - or vice versa. Or some things have ‘more’ merit as opposed to something else that has ‘less’ merit. Thus here we enter the metaphysics of presence/absence.

Metazoan
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:23 am

Post by Metazoan » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:59 pm

Hi Sumploke,
You wrote:I appreciate the clarity of your posts.
Best I not give up my day job then.

I will give Nikolai a little more time to answer so I will skip on to 'our' bits and maybe come back later.

On making toast:-

Would it allow you to relax that sphincter a bit if I wrote:-

'You don't have to define when bread becomes toast for bread to become carbonised through the application of heat.'

I will continue to use verbs and nouns to refer to processes and things in the past before those verbs and nouns existed, best get used to it.

language is my servant, not my master and I am happy to abuse it a little from time to time.
You wrote:Retroactively claiming something in the past that you say is possible from the knowledge of the present is a mistake.
This strikes me as absurd. To me it says that any deduction about the past is a mistake.

I can predict the future without too much trouble; I can deduce what is likely to happen from the state of the world as I see it now.

In the same manner I can extrapolate possible histories and make deductions about past events that make my current experience likely.

I will continue to speculate on the past and future and not worry about how 'mistaken' I may be in your eyes.

/On making toast.

On subjectivity:-
'I believe' surely is subjective, then viewing a so called 'objective, repeatable test' is still subjective. My point is that there is no objective science, outside the scientific discourse, its own axioms - which is itself assumed to be objective - as an 'Othered' objectivity created from the subject/subjectivity.
Again, I think I am missing what you are saying.
You wrote:One may 'observe' phenomena but always within a certain discourse, a certain framework - as with the case of those that support the theory of evolution, which view 'evolution' through the hypothesis of evolution.
To which I wrote:I try to observe phenomenon through what I think is called the 'scientific method'. I could be wrong but it is about objectivity, repeatability and stuff.
I took your point to say that those that support the theory of evolution use the theory of evolution as part of its own justification.

My point was that my view of evolution is based on axioms that are not derived from any part of the theory of evolution.

Do you have any axioms that are consistent with the world we think we perceive that are not included in the set of scientific axioms?

/On subjectivity.

On Merit:-

In my view, "This is why evolution lacks merit..." would be read as a pejorative. My point is that the merit of a theory is dependent on how useful it is, not on any mythical 'correctness'.

In the specific case of evolution I am aware of no other credible scientific theory so it is going to be the most meritorious one there is until someone come up with something better.

You appear to argue that science lacks merit because it is based upon subjectivity and not some concrete objectivity. Subjectivity does not deny consistency. This simply means that your definition of the word 'merit' is not my definition of the word 'merit'.
You wrote:Merit is a binary because if you make qualitative judgements - you will say whatever the thing is - such as evolution, that there is the 'presence' of merit as opposed to the 'absence' of merit - or vice versa. Or some things have 'more' merit as opposed to something else that has 'less' merit. Thus here we enter the metaphysics of presence/absence.
This paragraph seems to me to both say merit is binary and that it is not. You can't have it both ways.

I say that the theory of evolution has more merit than any other theory purporting to explain the same things.

So tell me of a theory that shows that I am incorrect.

/On Merit.

.

sumploke
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:49 am

Post by sumploke » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:44 am

Metazoan wrote:I will continue to use verbs and nouns to refer to processes and things in the past before those verbs and nouns existed, best get used to it.

language is my servant, not my master and I am happy to abuse it a little from time to time.
Notice that you are a ‘you’ now, and above you were an ‘I.’ Language subjects you, it places you in certain positions – as exemplified in your use of ‘I.’
Metazoan wrote:This strikes me as absurd. To me it says that any deduction about the past is a mistake.
It’s not making a deduction about the past that I have issue with, it’s your claim that you have knowledge at Point A – when in fact you don’t – your only have knowledge gained from Point B, and place it at Point A – where you didn’t have any knowledge. It’s that you are viewing the past through the present – not the actual past. Thus even when you predict the future ‘without too much trouble’ it’s just the future seen from the present – through the knowledge of the present. So let’s say now – right now as you read this, you have no knowledge of X and you will only gain knowledge of X in a few hours, so there is no way you could reach X. In three hours when you do learn X – perhaps through a friend, you say – hey I could have gotten to X – even if I didn’t know X. This is the mistake – since your making the claim through present knowledge, which is therefore present past, not the actual past – when you didn’t have the knowledge.
Metazoan wrote:Do you have any axioms that are consistent with the world we think we perceive that are not included in the set of scientific axioms?
Not an axiom but a textuality. Science can only function through the possibility of textuality. How do you learn about science? You read about it, experiments are explained through texts – language. Language orders us in a sense.
Metazoan wrote:You appear to argue that science lacks merit because it is based upon subjectivity and not some concrete objectivity.
No my claim is that ‘merit’ itself is based on subjectivity. I can even say science lacks merit because it quantifies everything. I can say science lacks merit for any reason – not just because science itself is subjective – outside the discourse of science. Moreover this shows that if science can be viewed as having merit or having no merit, then science is viewed form a subjective position – and therefore subjective - as you acknowledge below.
Metazoan wrote:This simply means that your definition of the word 'merit' is not my definition of the word 'merit'.
I wrote:Merit is a binary because if you make qualitative judgements - you will say whatever the thing is - such as evolution, that there is the 'presence' of merit as opposed to the 'absence' of merit - or vice versa. Or some things have 'more' merit as opposed to something else that has 'less' merit. Thus here we enter the metaphysics of presence/absence.
Metazoan wrote:This paragraph seems to me to both say merit is binary and that it is not. You can't have it both ways.
It’s always both ways and neither, or an ‘aporia.’ It’s only either/or – the law of excluded middle in logocentric discourse. If merit is not a binary then it is a binary for that fact. Something that has merit will always have the possibility of not having merit. So it’s both at the same time. Thus ‘merit’ exists within a binary that is in fact an undecidable. As the ‘I,’ this 'me' of the subjective now, this ‘I’ is writing to ‘you’ – you being the objective. This is the binary inherent in the metaphysics of presence.
Metazoan wrote:I say that the theory of evolution has more merit than any other theory purporting to explain the same things.
So tell me of a theory that shows that I am incorrect.
How would show your theory of evolution has merit? You would write aboutit as you have done, and I would read it. The theory then is interpreted through textuality – and therefore is interpreted – it can therefore be correct – say through your criteria or incorrect through my criteria? But more importantly it is both incorrect and correct because what is incorrect includes the correct. Furthermore, let say I had a ‘correct theory’ if such a thing exists, and I showed it to you – will it be correct if you think its incorrect?

Metazoan
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:23 am

Re: A Challenge to both Evolution and Intelligent Design

Post by Metazoan » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:51 pm

Hi Sumploke,

The fine hair that joins this bit of the discussion to its progenitor has had all its nits picked and is now ripe for splitting. How all this presents a challenge to evolution that is in any way specific to evolution escapes me, I look forward to being educated.
you wrote:Notice that you are a 'you' now, and above you were an 'I.' Language subjects you, it places you in certain positions - as exemplified in your use of 'I.'
It rarely escapes me that I am me. Language does not place me where I am, my self awareness places me here and my memory places me where I think I have been.

I do not see language as a force of subjugation, but that is not to say that it does not limit me in what I can do with it and, for sure, I maybe could do more if my grasp of language was better. Language is a facilitator of communication, a means to pass concepts between those who can understand the indirection. In no way do I claim to have mastered language, but I do not see it as my master any more than I see air as my master. I need air and use it but would never say it controls me. I look around me and see far more limiting things than language; its limitations don't even make it to a minor irritation level.

I do not see language as anything more than a tool that enables communication, certainly I do not see it as being essential for self awareness.
You wrote:It's not making a deduction about the past that I have issue with, it's your claim that you have knowledge at Point A - when in fact you don't
It's not that I don't get your point, it's that I don't get the relevance to evolution, or rather how my linguistic shortcomings affect the world 65 million years ago or at any other time before my utterances.
You wrote:Not an axiom but a texuality. Science can only function through the possibility of texuality. How do you learn about science? You read about it, experiments are explained through texts - language. Language orders us in a sense.
This makes me think that you see 'Science' as being abstract, simply a concept. I am not an academic, I draw no line between science and physics. When I was young I learnt many things about the world without ever being taught, I learnt an awful lot just by doing. I'm sure a lot of scientists find stuff out in a similar manner otherwise how does science progress? Remove language from the world and things will still fall under the influence of gravity.
You wrote:I can say science lacks merit for any reason - not just because science itself is subjective - outside the discourse of science.
Indeed, but you expressed the opinion within the discourse of science. This is clearly the science section, not the epistemology or metaphysics section. Further to that you expressed the opinion initially about evolution not science. By your reasoning how can you take a specific scientific theory outside the scientific framework and then make any specific judgement on that theory? Surely all scientific theories become inseparable under such conditions and your statement becomes meaningless.

Science does not have to prove anything for you to be subject to it.
You wrote:How would show your theory of evolution has merit? You would write aboutit as you have done, and I would read it. The theory then is interpreted through texuality - and therefore is interpreted - it can therefore be correct - say through your criteria or incorrect through my criteria? But more importantly it is both incorrect and correct because what is incorrect includes the correct.
I must have missed the bit where you expressed the opinion that the theory is incorrect within the framework that the theory is expressed in.

I got the bit where you said all of science lacked merit but failed to see anywhere where you drove a wedge between science and evolution.

You seem to be having trouble trashing evolution without trashing the whole of science along with it.
You wrote:Furthermore, let say I had a 'correct theory' if such a thing exists, and I showed it to you - will it be correct if you think its incorrect?
If your theory was that the person you show your theory to will think that your theory is incorrect, then I'd rather you didn't show it to me.

.

sumploke
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:49 am

Re: A Challenge to both Evolution and Intelligent Design

Post by sumploke » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:43 am

Hey Metazoan,

I think this topic is getting tired of me, so I end with a quote from Harold Bloom: "I think I've been clear enough for some, and I don't believe that I ever could be clear enough for others."

all the best,

sumploke

Metazoan
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:23 am

Re: A Challenge to both Evolution and Intelligent Design

Post by Metazoan » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:47 pm

Hi Sumploke,
You wrote:I think this topic is getting tired of me, ...
Or maybe you are getting tired of me, I quite understand. If it is any consolation, imagine what it must be like being me. I have to do it 24/7 and I was tired of it a long time ago.
You wrote:... so I end with a quote from Harold Bloom: "I think I've been clear enough for some, and I don't believe that I ever could be clear enough for others."
A neat quote, looks like a dichotomy but isn't. It would seem to rely on someone erroneously adopting the latter position as applying to them by mistaking the statement as a dichotomy, and thereby being offended. As the statement makes no claim to be a dichotomy, any protest can simply be met with pointing this out and rubbing the 'victim's' nose in it.

Maybe a difficult device to use without appearing either arrogant or bad tempered or both.

Of course it doesn't say: I either accept what you say or I must be fik.

And no more 'authority' was added to the statement with a 'name'.

It would have probably worked a little better on me if only I knew who Harold Bloom is/was. That is one downside of public forums; you can't keep members of the great unwashed from littering the place and not knowing theirs.

I do not accept that the student has sole responsibility to learn in a manner that suits the tutor. If anything, I would say that there is a greater responsibility on the tutor to understand the position of the individual student and act accordingly. If there is any failure, whose is it?

I have enjoyed our debate and you have taught me things I didn't know and shown me different ways to look at things. Thank you.

All the best to you too.

Metazoan.

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