The Darwinian Mob

For the discussion of philosophical books.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
tbieter
Posts: 1198
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:45 pm
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

The Darwinian Mob

Post by tbieter » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:29 pm

"Is there a greater gesture of intellectual contempt than the notion that a tweet constitutes an adequate intervention in a serious discussion? But when Thomas Nagel’s formidable book Mind and Cosmos recently appeared, in which he has the impudence to suggest that “the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false,” and to offer thoughtful reasons to believe that the non-material dimensions of life—consciousness, reason, moral value, subjective experience—cannot be reduced to, or explained as having evolved tidily from, its material dimensions, Steven Pinker took to Twitter and haughtily ruled that it was “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.” Fuck him, he explained."
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1124 ... hilosopher

I would be interested in reading this book and discussing it in this thread. Will you join me?

chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by chaz wyman » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:11 pm

tbieter wrote:"Is there a greater gesture of intellectual contempt than the notion that a tweet constitutes an adequate intervention in a serious discussion? But when Thomas Nagel’s formidable book Mind and Cosmos recently appeared, in which he has the impudence to suggest that “the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false,” and to offer thoughtful reasons to believe that the non-material dimensions of life—consciousness, reason, moral value, subjective experience—cannot be reduced to, or explained as having evolved tidily from, its material dimensions, Steven Pinker took to Twitter and haughtily ruled that it was “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.” Fuck him, he explained."
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1124 ... hilosopher

I would be interested in reading this book and discussing it in this thread. Will you join me?
Nagel is completely correct here. In fact, although I am 100% behind the idea of Darwinism, I do not think the mechanism he identified gives us warrant to explain any of the phenomena that evolution gives rise to, except in the most narrow sense.
The fact is that all variations have to preceded their selection, and this means that the world of living things is far more diverse that that selection process can explain.
Natural Selection gives us the traits that do not cause the reproductive failure of the individual members of species; it does not explain how and why ALL traits come about and persist.
If it were the case that adaptations knew what they were selected FOR, then we would now be living in a different world entirely - but I sometimes think that Pinker and his crew think exactly that.
In fact evolution is not a mechanism that selects any traits at all. It certainly does not select FOR a trait.
Evolution is the effect of a selection that preserves successful organisms against those that are less successful. This is effected by organisms being fitter. But fitness can come in many guises; and along with what can be identified as a positive trait, any individual is a collection of mainly neutral traits and even some negative ones (so long and they are not bad enough to cause reproductive failure).
The problem for so-called 'evolutionary science;' is the tendency to latch on to positive looking traits and claim that they are THE REASON for the organism's success. In fact it is more complicated than that and today's negative traits can be tomorrow's positive traits, and vice versa.

I'm not alone, as a Darwinist that thinks the Pinker brigade are a much of evolutionary religionists.
There has been a long-standing, subtle confusion, elegantly expressed by Fodor&Piattelli-Palmarini between;"

(1) The claim that evolution is a process in which creatures with adaptive traits are selected and

(2) the claim that evolution is a process in which creatures are selected for their adaptive traits.”[1]

This subtle difference is at the heart of the diverse uses and abuses of Darwinism.
This intentionality at the heart of Darwinism is an artefact of using the model of sexual and domestic selection, whilst this does not invalidate natural selection per se, it does point to a far more serious complaint, not with natural selection but with how it has been conceived.  In the last 150 years Darwinism has always been dragged by the nose to form normative interpretations for the employment of political policy, and a host of scientific spin-offs as diverse as Social Darwinism, Eugenics, Evolutionary psychology, memetics and temetics. Thes have all relied on the assertion that point 2 is implied by point 1. In simple language, natural selection has been mobilised to support  theory that is anything but NATURAL, but is teleological. The language of 'selected for'; 'evolutionary pressure'; 'adapting TO the environment'; 'evolution as a cause' all imply claim 2. where in fact natural selection ought to be about the fact that individual organisms that have viable progeny FOR WHAT EVER REASON, urges 'adapting from the environment', 'evolution as a effect', and so on. When we get to the 'selfish gene' fiction, and Susan Blackwood's memes 'wanting to be selected' , it is easy enough to see how natural selection is being employed to ridiculous ends - it is clear that humans are doing the 'selection' by arbitrarily identifying traits and behaviours in the fossil record that they personally deem to have been selective. The tautology is ALSO with the process of biological research that has preserved and maintained the teleological fiction, which as shown a distinct lack of humility and a callous disregard for the subtle , but highly important distinction, of the 2 statements above.
This fallacy of purpose infects most of biological research. Next time you ask what is the purpose of a kidney, you should react with humility by stating that only its function can be known.

User avatar
Bill Wiltrack
Posts: 5468
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:52 pm
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Contact:

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:16 pm

.















..............................................................
Image













.

chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by chaz wyman » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:07 pm

Bill Wiltrack wrote:.



..............................................................
Image

.
Interesting but fuck all to do with the point.

User avatar
Bill Wiltrack
Posts: 5468
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:52 pm
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Contact:

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:35 am

.







.............................................................................Image







I think I would agree with Steven Pinker. In reference to Thomas Nagel's book Mind and Cosmos; It was “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.” Fuck him, he explained."












.................................................................
Image



So yeah, what you said - fuck all to do with the point.






.

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11978
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:32 pm

Got the book Tom, bit pricy I must say but will get back to you with some thoughts after a peruse.

Unless of course you have another way you wish to discuss it? Joint reading, chapter-by-chapter, paragraphs, etc.

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11978
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:50 pm

Eventually, I believe, current attempts to understand the mind by analogy with man-made computers that can perform superbly some of the same external tasks as conscious beings will be recognized as a gigantic waste of time."
Thomas Nagel

Maybe, maybe not but I doubt it'll be a waste of time as the research alone should produce some interesting results.

Impenitent
Posts: 2394
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Impenitent » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:17 am

can an artificial, biologically bodyless mind can be equated to a mental activity encased in a biological housing?

-Imp

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11978
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:43 am

Impenitent wrote:can an artificial, biologically bodyless mind can be equated to a mental activity encased in a biological housing?

-Imp
Define this 'mental' for me?

Although I take your point and tend to agree with it. My point was that the research may lead to some interesting and useful machines.

Also, I think what may happen, as often does, that the terms and definitions we use at present will be redefined as applied to us in the light of what we discover.

Who said it'd be bodiless?

reasonvemotion
Posts: 1643
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 1:22 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by reasonvemotion » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:07 am

Darwin's claim that all life arose from a primordial single organism into which "life was breathed", is poppycock.


There is still no known mechanical or naturalistic explanation as to how life started.

Impenitent
Posts: 2394
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Impenitent » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:43 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Impenitent wrote:can an artificial, biologically bodyless mind can be equated to a mental activity encased in a biological housing?

-Imp
Define this 'mental' for me?

Although I take your point and tend to agree with it. My point was that the research may lead to some interesting and useful machines.

Also, I think what may happen, as often does, that the terms and definitions we use at present will be redefined as applied to us in the light of what we discover.

Who said it'd be bodiless?
mental- activity of the mind including but not necessarily limited to conscious linguistic manipulations ...

analogies of undefinables is futile...

limiting the machine the ghost inhabits...

-Imp

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11978
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:11 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:Darwin's claim that all life arose from a primordial single organism into which "life was breathed", is poppycock.
He said 'probably' but this appears to be pretty what is claimed by the creationists, a 'God' breathing life into inanimate matter to create life? So I assume you think what they say is poppycock as well?
There is still no known mechanical or naturalistic explanation as to how life started.
So what? Science does not work like religion, it does not need a first cause to explain how what it is observing works.

Ginkgo
Posts: 2525
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:47 pm

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:02 pm

Arising_uk wrote:So what? Science does not work like religion, it does not need a first cause to explain how what it is observing works.


Exactly. When you start talking about first causes then you are doing metaphysics, not science.

reasonvemotion
Posts: 1643
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 1:22 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by reasonvemotion » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:59 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:

Darwin's claim that all life arose from a primordial single organism into which "life was breathed", is poppycock.
He said 'probably' but this appears to be pretty what is claimed by the creationists, a 'God' breathing life into inanimate matter to create life? So I assume you think what they say is poppycock as well?

Quote:

There is still no known mechanical or naturalistic explanation as to how life started.
So what? Science does not work like religion, it does not need a first cause to explain how what it is observing works.
If the theory of evolution does not rely on a supernatural creation, is it possible that life itself could have arisen by the random chance combinations to form the first living organism.

There is no satisfactory explanation of how the first living cell could form by itself, but it is assumed that it did.

So how is it possible for a living cell to arise by chance.

There is tidal wave of evidence that the natural process by which life arises from inorganic matter is impossible.

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11978
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: The Darwinian Mob

Post by Arising_uk » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:16 am

reasonvemotion wrote: If the theory of evolution does not rely on a supernatural creation, is it possible that life itself could have arisen by the random chance combinations to form the first living organism.
Yes, it is possible.
There is no satisfactory explanation of how the first living cell could form by itself, but it is assumed that it did.
What would you accept as satisfactory. As there are several postulations about the precursors to cells, heres one;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis
So how is it possible for a living cell to arise by chance.
Let me know what you think about the above.
There is tidal wave of evidence that the natural process by which life arises from inorganic matter is impossible.
Only Logic can prove impossibilities. But I'll be interested in what this evidence is that you think you have?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest