Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Darwin Was Not a Darwinian (1.31.09)

New commenter Flash Gordon left a provocative challenge yesterday, noting that Dear Leader is "interested in the origin of life and intelligence. Darwin was interested in those things also. He made a valuable contribution to our understanding of those things."

The first two points are entirely true, while the third is a bit more ambiguous, since I am more interested in the origin of life and of specifically human intelligence, while Darwin's contribution was to the origin of species and of animal intelligence (which humans also naturally possess).

Starting with the former, natural selection can have no bearing on the origin of life, since natural selection by definition requires living organisms to select.

While I am aware of the fact that some theorists are attempting to apply principles of natural selection to the non-organic world, as I explained in One Cosmos, what both they and orthodox biologists fail to appreciate is that any type of natural selection presupposes a metaphysical principle that must be anterior to both organisms and the cosmos itself: wholeness. Neither life nor natural selection could exist in a cosmos that did not have a principle of wholeness woven into its very fabric. In fact, to say "cosmos" is to say "wholeness," since a cosmos is by definition a unified and ordered totality -- just like an organism (which is its more or less distant reflection: as above, so below).

In an organism, no matter where or how deeply we look, we find fractal wholeness at every level. You could even say that the essence of pathology is an absence of integrated wholeness -- some part of the whole has broken away and is "doing its own thing," like my pancreas. The same is true of the first hyperdimensional organ, the human mind, which in health is a dynamically integrated whole -- a rolling catastrophe in the phase space of subjectivity, as it were. The essence of mental illness is the existence of semi-autonomous autopoietic subpersonalities (i.e., mind parasites) with agendas all their own, and which don't really give a hoot what you think or want. These spectral entities haunt the mindscape and look to infect others or to draw them into their little psychodramas in a way that is self-defeating to the host.

Mr. Flash left a quote in which Darwin expresses the sentiment that (referring to his scientisic vision of universal Darwinism), There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

El Cabeza Gordo concludes by asking, "How can you say intelligence is strictly forbidden in [the] 'Darwinian view?' Your equation E=RE+EF is ridiculous."

Let's "break this down for my omies," as I once heard Arsenio Hall put it. "There is grandeur in this view of life." Is that true? Is there? If so, one wonders how it got there. Why, on strictly Darwinian grounds, would any mental view of anything be a sponsor of "grandeur." It's impossible to know exactly what Darwin meant by the use of this term, which has no non-poetic or exact meaning. Rather, it is entirely subjective, since it connotes things such as "magnificence," "glory," lofty," "sublime," and "wonderful."

Now, I personally have no difficulty with any of these categories of human experience, as I do believe they disclose objective realities. But I wonder what evolutionary purpose they serve? Let us suppose that I am one of our ancient furbears, and that a random genetic mutation has given me the heretofore unknown ability to be in a state of aesthetic arrest as I contemplate, I don't know, a grand sunset or a magnificent mountain. Remember, there is nothing intrinsically grand or magnificent until a human subject makes it so, just as there is no such thing as a ball or strike until an umpire says so. So I'm staring with astonagement at the sunset and a lion pounces on me, or a rival Neanderthal conks me on the head and places me on the menu. The gene for grandeur dies on the vine.

Let's not kid ourselves. We really only have two choices. Either this cosmos is in fact grand -- not to mention, beautiful, awesome, sacred and numinous -- or our genes, for reasons we cannot know, randomly mutated in such a way that we imagine that such entirely chimerical things as grandeur and beauty exist. But in reality, we are simply prisoners of our genes, and by extension, our nervous systems. I don't see how one can say that it is a "grand" view of the cosmos if the grandeur is simply an illusory side effect of our nervous system. There is an obvious contradiction at the heart of Darwin's sentimental view of his own theory.

Endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Here again, I have no difficulty agreeing with this statement, but one naturally wonders what Darwin meant by "beautiful" and "wonderful." Obviously, on any strict Darwinian view, "beauty" cannot objectively exist. Rather, there can be only the illusion of beauty that is put there for some reason related to reproductive fitness. To us, a peacock or a butterfly is "beautiful," but in reality their markings are just there to attract the opposite sex of their particular species. It's actually none of our business.

Which is true of nature in general. Animals are only interested in other animals to the extent that they can 1) eat them, 2) can have sex with them, or 3) need to run away from them. No antelope, in the midst of running for its life, thinks to itself, "I give that lion credit. It sure is a magnificent beast." No goat or rabbit says, "pity I have to eat this beautiful flower. It would look so nice on top of the telly." No fly, while struggling for its life, says "hmm. Check out the fabulous geometric design of this web. Such stark neo-industrial beauty!" (unless he watches "Queer Eye For the Straight Fly").

Now, I can well understand on Darwinian grounds why the sons of heaven would have the illusion that the daughters of men are so beautiful. Which they are. Especially Mrs. G., which I would say even if I hadn't totally forgotten that this is Valentine's Day. But I do not see what this has to do with seeing other species as beautiful. What's the point? What is the added value to our reproductive fitness? There are things that are beautiful to the eye, just as there are things that are beautiful to the ear. Beautiful paintings, beautiful poems, beautiful symphonies and cathedrals, beautiful equations, beautiful theories, beautiful theologies, beautiful afternoons, beautiful moments in life. There is beauty hidden in every fold and cranny of existence. Did humans somehow "awaken" to a cosmos that just so happens to be permeated with beauty? If so, how did all the beauty get in there? Isn't a beautiful object the reflection of a beautiful subject? Who was the Subject of all this Cosmic Beauty before human subjects were here?

Perhaps, like wholeness, it cannot not be here. For what is wholeness? In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce's alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, discusses the criteria for great art. He says that it is the task of the true artist to record "epiphanies," that is, sudden spiritual manifestations, or ingressions. Following Aquinas, he says that the three things necessary to beauty are wholeness, harmony, and radiance, or claritas. It is this third category that has to do with epiphanies, when the soul of the thing, its essential whatness, leaps through its outer appearance and reveals its true nature. This supreme quality of beauty transfers light from another world, provoking a spiritual state in which we apprehend the luminous reality behind appearances and see things in their metaphysical transparency.

Now Bob, "How can you say intelligence is strictly forbidden in 'Darwinian view?' Your equation E=RE+EF is ridiculous."

First of all, this is not my equation. Rather, it is the equation that forms the basis of Darwinism, which is that all change in the phenotype is a result of random genetic mutations that either enhance or diminish our reproductive fitness. To the extent that a species is "intelligent," the intelligence is always in the service of something transcending, guiding, and limiting it, which is reproductive fitness. In other words, either intelligence, like beauty and virtue, transcends and therefore cannot be reduced to genetics; or, it is an ultimately meaningless side effect of our genes. (In fact, we shouldn't even say "our" genes, since this reverses the relation of ownership. According the strict Darwinians, it is our body, or phenotype, that ultimately "belongs" to the "selfish genes.")

But what is human intelligence, really? As mentioned above, if there is aesthetic discernment, then surely there is beauty. Likewise, if man is intelligent in any meaningful sense of the term, then surely there is reality to be apprehended and there is truth to be known. For if intelligence does not know reality or disclose truth, then it hardly deserves the name. In other words, if it is just a more elaborate way to know falsehood and delusion, then truly, there is nothing further to debate, because truth cannot even be conceived, much less known.

Is it possible that strict reductionistic Darwinism could be "true" without contradicting its own principles? I do not see how. As Schuon has written, human intelligence "is the perception of the real and not the 'intellectualization' of the unreal." The discernment of intelligence allows us to pass "from appearances to reality, from forms to essence, and from effects to cause." No animal can know of the reality behind appearances or intuit the essence beneath the form.

Why is human intelligence so perfectly adapted to invisible realties that played no role in the selection of our genes? Why is there nothing in the world commensurate with the nature of human intelligence, which easily transcends everything into which it comes into contact, including our own evolution? If we comprehend our own evolution, isn't this another way of saying that we transcend it? And if we don't comprehend it, isn't Darwinism, ipso facto, false?

Schuon notes the truism that "It is only too evident that mental effort does not automatically give rise to the perception of the real; the most capable mind may be the vehicle of the grossest error." How can this be? First, it results from an intelligence "that is exclusively 'horizontal,' hence lacking all awareness of 'vertical' relationships." Secondly, it results from "an extra-intellectual element, such as sentimentality or passion; the exclusivism of 'horizontality' creates a void that the irrational necessarily comes to fill." In short, as all psychoanalysts and true theologians know, reason is more often than not a slave of the passions.

Man is intelligence, just as he is beauty. For this reason, no normal person sets out to love ugliness or know error. Just as good character involves distinguishing between good and evil and willing the former, the virtue of intelligence is its intrinsic love of truth. Was Darwin a truth lover? I would say there is no question that he was. His passion for Truth is obvious at every turn. Therefore, he cannot be a philosophical Darwinian.

Man is intelligence, and intelligence is the transcending of forms and the realization of the invisible Essence; to say human intelligence is to say absoluteness and transcendence. --F. Schuon

64 Comments:

Anonymous GLASR said...

No, probably not. Went from schooled theologian, to doubter(never envisioning scuba diving, submarines or diving bells concluded unseen beauty under the ocean meant no GOD)then young daughter got sick and died, he got pissed at GOD, wrote HIM off. Not an unusually unique path to the rejection of GOD. We all know the person - went to Catholic School, horrific unfortunate event, no GOD would allow this - logic.

Did not read this book, "Darwinian Conservatism" by Arnhart. Did read Jamie Glazov interview with the author, interesting perspective.;~)


robinstarfish,
You take those pics? How'd you do the Narita thing? ;~}

2/14/2007 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

..."suppose that I am one of our ancient furbears, and that a random genetic mutation has given me the heretofore unknown ability to be in a state of aesthetic arrest as I contemplate..."

At this point I'm yelling, "look out!"

Brilliant, Bob.

2/14/2007 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

This was one of the interesting points that was made in discussion evolution in the Truth Project; Darwin himself was not 'Darwinian' at all.

And natural selection itself is only a principle among many; in Genetic Algorithms (which are natural-selection made into a search-algorithm) there is required an implied a background wholeness. Indeed, a genetic algorithm is limited to the area it is permitted to 'search' in (the combinations that it can create.)

You'll never see a genetic algorithm designed to find the quickest path from New York to Albaquerque accidently generate the best way to stop for gas along the way. It takes an intelligence to do that.

Any modification of the algorithm to do that is an act of an intellect...

---

I think the spanking/non spanking thing has to do with the temperament of the kid, and also his age. I would never spank a girl child, and would only consider it with a boy child if he was extraordinarily unruly. (As in, like you mentioned, probably about to hurt himself a lot worse.)

---

I thought about it, and I think that natural selection being a kind of principle (actually a law I would say) is conflated to mean that using it to explain everything (origins) makes that a 'theory' that's really a law. Its like saying that since gravity is a law, I will explain the Origin of Species by Gravitation; and it is not just a 'theory', it is proven! Drop an apple and see what I mean!

2/14/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day to all Coons everywhere!

http://www.billpetro.com/blog/2006/02/history-of-st-valentines-day.html

2/14/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

DL:
Per OneLook & Worthless Word
pp. 5 = autopoietic.

2/14/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous juliec said...

I would like to take this a slight step further, and possibly earn a righteous bashing from Cousin Dupree. If I'm being an ass, I apologize in advance.

If more intelligence equals more reproductive fitness, shouldn't it follow that in general, smarter people had more kids than less smart people? After all, intelligent people should be more likely to thrive.

However, based on demographic trends, as people are generally getting smarter (in horizontal measures), they are reproducing less. Look at Japan, for instance, or the non-muslim section of Europe.

I guess what I mean to say is that if intelligence is such an evolutionary advantage, why does it almost always result in fewer children? (Gross generalization - of course there are exceptions)

And further, what does it mean, in the vertical sense, that smarter people tend to have fewer offspring?

2/14/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous bubba said...

"I thought about it, and I think that natural selection being a kind of principle (actually a law I would say) is conflated to mean that using it to explain everything (origins) makes that a 'theory' that's really a law. Its like saying that since gravity is a law, I will explain the Origin of Species by Gravitation; and it is not just a 'theory', it is proven! Drop an apple and see what I mean!"

My grandfather used to say,"The apple doesn't fall far from the horse."

2/14/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger HV said...

"What may we suppose to be the felicity of a man who sees absolute beauty in its essence, pure and unalloyed, who, instead of a beauty tainted by human flesh and colour and a mass of perishable rubbish, is able to apprehend divine beauty where it exists apart and alone? Do you think it will be a poor life that a man leads who has his gaze fixed in that direction, who contemplates absolute beauty with the appropriate faculty and is in constant union with it? Do you not see that in that region alone where he sees beauty with the faculty capable of seeing it, will he be able to bring forth not mere reflected images of goodness but true goodness, because he will be in contact not with a reflection but with the truth?"

-Diotima in Plato's Symposium

2/14/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

"Autopoiesis" is a term from chaos theory referring to self-organizing and self-renewing process-structures.

2/14/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Another Bob said...

So, yesterday afternoon I was driving
home on the freeway, contemplating
E=RE+EF when I noticed the car in
front of me had on it
1. the "Darwin fish"
2. a "rainbow" sticker
3. a legalize grass sticker.

How confusing. I mean, what are the
survival benefits from combining
those three?
Too much time with the REEFER, I presume, resulted in mistaking
stream of consciousness with
intelligence?

-Another Bob
p.s. i'm just another member of the
choir, enjoying the sermon, appreciating
the obvious truths therein.

2/14/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

""Queer Eye For the Straight Fly""

!!!!

Okay, back to reading the rest of the post.

:)

2/14/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Ricky Racoon said...

Thus artificial intelligence can never be achieved by man…because it requires man to forever transcend this work.

2/14/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous ricky raccoon said...

To Another Bob:

I thought this bumper sticker might get the Darwinian’s goat (or fish), as they say:

“God created evolution”

Do you think they’d get it?

2/14/2007 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

It's hard to read this stuff at lunchtime and then return to work at a family entertainment attraction, where weird is the norm and logic isn't even a part of the accounting.

I, for one, find this to be a pleasant and beautiful spot to look out into the deep of the Cosmos and silently whisper, "shazaam!"

But in thinking of the origin of things, someone somewhere first thought to take an observable truth, a plausible theory, and run completely riot with it, using it to obtain power for themselves. *global warming!*cough!* I think Darwin was yet another victim of the forest he overlooked in his study of the tree.

How staggeringly evil is the human quest for power, when totally separated from the vertical. Much like C.S. Lewis' ape in the Last Battle, "vital" men can see the truth in a lion's pelt, can see the "lion" truth covering their own ambitions, and mold it around their agenda, lumpy and ill-fitting, but good enough to lead simple folk astray.

That so-called scientists are now playing impudently and boldly with politicians makes them the new Marxists, who took the truths of evolution and selection, and molded it around their lust for power, gifting humankind with the most murderous century of all time.

And now, the ecologists already have much of Africa's malaria victims on their hands. The count is going up throughout the Third World this time around, and it's likely the ground troops of the Greenies have no idea how they're being used by more pernicious players, ones they don't even see. But I'm sure their devotion is sincere...

I never fear idealogical visionaries or their ideas, or scientists and their theories. It's their peripheral acolytes you gotta watch out for. That's why it's a 'Coon Life for me! No fear of any of us having the patience for actually planning world domination. We're all pretty sure that our infectious slack will do its own work without any help from us.
:)

2/14/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's this Father Brown mystery by Chesterton titled "Doom of the Darnaways", which pertains to this. After a back-and-forth regarding Determinism (i.e. Predestination without God), has Father Brown's line "Murder is of the will, which God made free."

2/14/2007 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Cus Dup:
Meant to say that when I looked up "autopoEItic", it came back with 'perhaps you meant' "autopoIEtic".

That definition fit the context of your post.

I'm thinking the word in paragraph 5 is misspelled.

2/14/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“God created evolution”

That IS my Church's current position on the issue. Unfortunately, Young Earth Creationism has become the Global Warming dogma of American Christendom.

And now, the ecologists already have much of Africa's malaria victims on their hands.

And don't forget the millions of aborted fetuses, justified in the Seventies as necessary to defuse The Population Bomb (TM).

(I wonder if Baal-Moloch wishes he'd come up with Mother Gaia's racket?)

2/14/2007 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ignorance observed, Laser locking on... target acquired... Fire!

"First, it results from an intelligence "that is exclusively 'horizontal,' hence lacking all awareness of 'vertical' relationships." Secondly, it results from "an extra-intellectual element, such as sentimentality or passion; the exclusivism of 'horizontality' creates a void that the irrational necessarily comes to fill."

Bullseye! Target so destroyed, it doesn't even realize it doesn't exist!!!... of course, that was the case prior to it's being obliterated...sigh.

Stil, Excellent Shooting Gagdad!

Top Quality post today, well, I'm off to see a headhunter, back later.

2/14/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Beagle said...

I agree with your assertion that the "philosophy" that grew up around Darwin's work is a departure from what Darwin thought himself.

Darwin explicated some truths about horizontal development, but never pretended to cover the vertical. He did percieve the vertical.

Aurobindo, on the other hand, does cover vertical evolution, as far as it can be known. Between the two thinkers, you get the whole enchilada.

Aurobindo accepts all of the phenomenon of the mind as electrochemical in nature, but asserts that the Divine can and does imprint itself on these electrochemical reactions, producing things outside of ordinary animal nature, such as grandeur and beauty.

Yet we must remember that even these spiritual things, and indeed all mental products, need to be transcribed into synaptic flashes (yes, electrochemical reactions) at some point, if they are to be percieved.

Therefore, even our most sacred feelings have to be translated through the medium of the meat-puppet. That is a difficult fact of life here on the mudball.

That being said, our souls, God, and other vertical influences do a fine job of helping us. They sieze our horizontal apparati and "paint" within them beautiful things. That is "inspiration."

You are not alone--your mind/brain swims in a sea of connectivity and energy, conjoined in the group evolution.

Don't hate the player; hate the game.

2/14/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"...where weird is the norm and logic isn't even a part of the accounting..." (Joan)

I didn't know we worked for the same company!

2/14/2007 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Flash Gordon said...

Rather than say that Darwin was not a Darwinian or that Keynes was not a Keynesian, or that Bob is not a Bobian, it seems to me that it is more clear to say that some who claim to be explaining Darwin or Keynes or Bob or whomever to the rest of us have got it wrong.

In my view, your method continues the confusion and clarifies little. Your long deconstructionist rant on the "Darwinian view" is clever, but clarity is does not seem to have been the aim. Attempting to reduce Darwin's discoveries and eloquent writings after years of observation of the natural world to a worthless little equation is, in my view, meritless.

It seems to me that it is valuable to know what is and no criticism is due for failure to answer the how or why questions, especially when one never claimed to have those powers or to have employed adequate means to discover such answers.

I'll just say I don't think this was your best work. But then I'm not very good at following grand cosmological or supernatural arguments to explain natural phenomenon.

The Fathead.

2/14/2007 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous ricky raccoon said...

Anonymous,
You lost me there. My problem. Could you explain a little more?

My bumper sticker was an attempt to speak on their level (and in just 3 words – it is a bumper sticker after all). And I was attempting to ‘stick it to them’ as they seem to be doing with their version of the Jesus fish with the legs sticking out. They’re ‘stickin it’ to us – which is not the intent of displaying the real Jesus fish.

My point with “God created evolution” is this:
Whatever this theory is that the Darwins call evolution, if it exists, then it only exists because God made it.

Darwins think their evolution or science is all there is. Dr Bob’s article today shows there’s so much more ‘above’ it. He proves it.

So why does evolution exist if it exists? That’s what those so-called brilliant minds should be pondering – why God presented it to us. Not just looking for more evidence of evolution. Any dope can do that.

2/14/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure about the gazelle never giving the lion credit, so to speak.

Dogs -- some of them at least -- live with the concept of play. Some even display a sense of joking and humor. Karen Blixen tells a funny and illuminating anecdote about this in Out of Africa (which is a wonderful book, and really VERY different from the movie).

I'm therefore inclined to believe there is a bit more of a continuum between man and the higher reaches of the Animal Kingdom than you seem to tend to think. By this, though, I don't mean to reduce man. It rather appears to me that some animals also, in their clumsy and stumbling way, want to reach out to G-d. My two cents.

Michael (Germany)

2/14/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Fathead,

In the interest of clarity:
Back to the terrible simplification of the modern Darwinian synthesis. This is it: Everything = Random Error + Environmental Feedback (E = RE + EF).

I believe the equation refers to the "mondern Darwinian synthesis" which has, if you will, evolved away from Darwin. By definition, it's a synthesis of everything the paragraphs above it address. And in context, Bob was talking about another book, another author, a Darwinian Simplifier.

I didn't even sleep in a Holiday Inn last night, but even I can understand the context of Bob's post yesterday, and the formula he presented. And when I read your comment yesterday, I could tell then that you were attributing to Bob things that he did not create. He identified the formula within the Darwinian Simplistic. That doesn't make him the creator of the product, but it could prove him a damn good marketer of it, if he so chose.

At any rate, it seems you feel that some sort of sacred cow of yours has been offered up on the Altar of the 'Coon and you can only recoil at the initial stench of burning hide and hair. The rest of us are gonna enjoy barbeque ribs. Stick around.

:)

2/14/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

But my dear Gordo, if you don't appreciate grand cosmological or supernatural arguments, what on earth are you doing on this site? You are not a Raccoon. You don't belong here. Go back to your own habitat and to your own kind. We wish you no harm, but you are a fish out of water here.

And please do not accuse Bob of diminishing Darwin's achievement. Bob is only criticizing his thick and ordinary followers who elevate Darwinism to an all-encompassing metaphysic which they then use to advance their radical anti-theistic and anti-human agenda.

2/14/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous bubba said...

short fat 'n ~

"In my view, your method continues the confusion and clarifies little. Your long deconstructionist rant on the "Darwinian view" is clever, but clarity is (sic) does not seem to have been the aim."

When you start throwing around words like 'deconstructionist' and 'rant,' one of which I can't even define, to characterize what was to me perfectly clear, I wonder who is in search of clarity.

Then I read "But then I'm not very good at following grand cosmological or supernatural arguments to explain natural phenomenon (sic)." and I realize you are demeaning what you admit you are incapable of understanding.


All seems pretty clear to me.

2/14/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Michael,

I certainly hope all of creation except for mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches will retain a bit of the Eternal, and will be there in our Beyond.

Ummm, no hyenas, either. Brrr!

2/14/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Nomo,

I've got nothing against Darwin, but the whole, "survival of the fittest" thing goes South when you look at who's at the top of many corporations.

"Natural Political Selection" is possibly the anti-Darwin, and sure to ruin whatever species or corporate entity embraces it as a genetic paradigm.

Sigh. They just won't let me run the world... *pout*.

2/14/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Joan - Remember the Peter Principle?

"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

Seriously. I think it may be in the jeans.

2/14/2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Er, uh, "genes". Excuse me!

2/14/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

my bumper sticker
says god evolves creation
during sunday naps

********

glasr -

Yes. Narita is a simple p-shopped horizontal symmetry. Nothing fancy.

2/14/2007 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

cousin dupree said...
"Autopoiesis" is a term from chaos theory referring to self-organizing and self-renewing process-structures.


Dern you Cuz, you got that correspondence course G.E.D. degree didn't ya?

2/14/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Flash:

No offense, but not only are you not a Raccoon, you're not even ready for the Kit Scouts.

2/14/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

I think since the dawn of creation truth and beauty have existed in the forms of divine archetype. They exist objectively as "blueprints", patterns that imprint themselves in myriad forms on all substance.

Random evolution, Darwinian-style, does exist presumably - however, it exists, I think, under the archetype umbrella. The archetypes, in effect, "pull" the evolving forms toward them, giving them signatures, investing them with something of the archetype's own beauty. Of course, a purely materialist perspective such as Darwinism doesn't acknowledge the trans-material. ie., the existence of divine archetype, thus it can't explain or account for the simple awe that nature can inspire in us.

The great modern tragedy is that the second half of the equation - the trans-material, vertical half - goes missing. There's no light in the garden.

In any event, we do play a special role in the cosmos in that we consciously recognize divine archetypal imprimatur, in the environment, in ourselves. I think, in a sense, we are divine archetype recognizing itself.

2/14/2007 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Bob,

You wrote:

In fact, to say "cosmos" is to say "wholeness," since a cosmos is by definition a unified and ordered totality -- just like an organism...

...and I think you are quite right.

Forgive me if you have touched on this idea much earlier (I am a relative newcomer), and please forgive me also for lapsing into my usual pedantry, but I think it is fascinating that cosmos derives etymologically from ancient Greek "kosmeo" (spelled kappa-omicron-sigma-epsilon-omega), "I comb" (my hair), really, "I set in order my hair," -- the root idea is ordering, creating order, and of course wholeness is one facet of order -- it is hard to imagine a cosmos that is somehow ordered and yet not whole.


Jamie Irons

2/14/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Flash:

Even us Kit Scouts can see that you're simply missing an entire dimension here. It's like a Flatlander trying to "get" perspective. Ain't gonna happen, short of a transformative experience.

But all is not lost! Long before I got my first merit badge I was as deluded (yet oh so clever!) as you are now.

My advice to you: Drop all preconceptions. Absorb, Learn.

(Plus do a good deed every day)

2/14/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous debass said...

"...I will explain the Origin of Species by Gravitation; and it is not just a 'theory', it is proven! Drop an apple and see what I mean!"

Well, Einstein believed that gravity was the result of the expanding universe. The apple doesn't actually drop but remains stationary as the earth expands up to meet it.
The problem I have with Darwin's Theory is the absence of evidence of any transitional species or explanation of the Cambrian explosion of mammals (no, we are not blowing up raccoons).
I can understand that species adapt (evolve) within their species, but explain how it works to go from a fish to a human and have some intermediate species (modern liberals, for instance) survive .

2/14/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Joan said-
"We're all pretty sure that our infectious slack will do its own work without any help from us."

Two words: Slack Warfare.

Three words: Slack and Awe!

Five words: The Mother of All Slack!

Eight words: We Will Slack Up as they Slack down.

Excellent post, Joan O'BeKnown CoonO'Be!

2/14/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Van said-
"Ignorance observed, Laser locking on... target acquired... Fire!"

I know what you mean, but I rarely get to correct you (like never, up to now), so I must point out your small error just so I can say I did...once. :^)

The target must be acquired before lasers (or Fire Control RADAR) can "shine" the target and lock on.

It's like the famous saying: "Lock and load."
It sounds good, but it's actually the reverse in reality.
Locking does no good if the weapon isn't loaded...or acquired.

Heh! Just a bit O' mischievious slack, Van Teacher.

2/14/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Ben:
I'm a bit confused.
Explain/clarify please: target "acquired."
Is it tied to loading the weapon, or sighting the target or....?

2/14/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Ximeze-
Yes, I know.
Ha ha! Just some good-natured ribbin'.

The target's RADAR (or SONAR, or even electronic support measure (ESM)) 'signature' must be acquired, else the fire control cannot lock onto it to assure accurate firing.

Now, some missiles have their own RADAR/ESM (torpedoes have active and passive SONAR) that can be activated to acquire for itself, although it still needs the initial acquisition from a ship/aircraft/sub to be fired at the correct bearing and range (most times with doppler thrown in for greater accuracy).

That's not to say that a weapon cannot be fired without a lock on, but acquistion is mandatory to fire.

On a less technical level, you have to see or hear (acquire) the enemy before you can have a chance of hitting it with a colt .45.

I hope that cleared things up.

2/14/2007 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

Bob: Are the Old Writings still around? There's a noticeable lack of "archive links" now. Or are they all spread like cosmic dust to the 6 winds (N, E, S, W, Up, Down)? (I'm looking for your surgical dissections of the Left.)

USS Ben: Reminds me of the famous line "ready, fire, aim!"

Anonymous mentions Chesterton - I've been reading his "Well and the Shallows". He's a remarkable writer. He seems to be addicted to alliteration. Not forced, but sprinkled through his works like little diamonds. Now I have to read "The Man Who was Thursday".

ricky: about that bumper sticker: I've often thought that it's one of the jobs of science to figure out how God did it. So far, the evidence seems to support evolution in the short term, and the Big Bang in the long term.

Chesterton has a compelling image: the more you look at Man as an animal, the more you realize he's more than that. [Then he goes on] ... we find wonderful drawings in the Lascaux caves. But we don't find monkeys, for example, making bad drawings of men, and improving on them later. He even talks about "survival of the fittest", reminding us that [one example] birds with long beaks didn't use those beaks to skewer lesser birds, and so take over. (It's too easy to fall into the trap of saying, "... of the fittest? Who are they?" "The ones that survive. Oh, I see......"

2/14/2007 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

Debass,
I have often wondered about that as well. One other thing that occurred to me today was that, unless I am mistaken, Life has only been sparked in one phase of Earth's history. What I mean is that, as far as we know, new lifeforms are not spontaneously coming into existence on this planet at the moment. Yes, we occasionally find some very odd strains of life growing in new and surprising places (like underwater volcanic vents or sulphuric hotsprings), but I've never heard it suggested that those creatures spontaneously sprung in recent days from a modern version of primordial ooze. I don't know if scientists have ever really tackled (or if tackled, adequately explained) the question of how or why lifeless carbon molecules suddenly began to replicate themselves. Does anyone here have an answer (other than the one most obvious to raccoons ; )? Or am I off-base, science-wise? (If someone actually knows more about this I'd love to hear it)

2/14/2007 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous bubba said...

Hey, debass, I posted this too late yesterday for you to catch it.

Have you heard Meyer's album 'Edgar Meyer' in which he plays every instrument? Lots of really interesting stuff going on. I love the fact that he multi-tracks in his living room/studio. How many folks do you know who play the vihuela da gamba?

2/14/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

MikeZ said...
Bob: Are the Old Writings still around? There's a noticeable lack of "archive links" now.


Mikez,

I had the same problem after Bob's site went haywire back a few months and started stacking the pictures, book links, web links and archive under the text effectively pushing them off the page.
Not sure what browser you are running but I updated mine to I.E.7 from 6 and everything magically appeared.
Blogger possibly did something awhile back to their software to make it more compatible with newer browser software and messed it up for older browsers. (pure speculation on my part)

2/14/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

wind weather's whore
flakes drops shards
chasing elusive miles







AND it's colder than a well diggers ass!! highcoo ;~)



robinstarfish,
No camera here. Dadaist in me. Check up my curiosity as self discipline - gotta have some areas of self discipline. Plan brush to canvas all the photos in my head. Quite sure they will be less than Norman Rockwellish. I know where Exit Zero is, which way at the end of the ramp? No critic here BUT that's some really cool stuff. ;~)

2/14/2007 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

For what it's worth, I'm on a Mac and the archives are always there.

2/14/2007 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous sawdust said...

Boy, you sure can slap someone down if he pisses you off. Well done, very well done.

This whole thing brings to mind an old Cowboy poem, I believe written by Baxter Black:

"What is re-incarnation?" a cowboy asked his friend.
"It starts", his old pal answered, "when your life comes to an end.
They comb your hair and wash your face and trim your fingernails,
And put you in a wooden box, away from life's travails.
The box and you goes in a hole that's been dug in the ground.
Re-incarnation starts out when you're planted beneath that mound.
The box melts down into the earth, along with what's inside,
And that's when you're beginnin' your transformation ride.
After a while some grass will grow upon that rendered mound,
And then one day among that grass a lovely flower's found.
A horse may stop along his way to graze upon the flower,
That once was you but is now a vegetative bower.
Now, the flower that the horse done et, along with his other feed,
Makes bone, and flesh, and muscle essential to the steed.
But there's a part that he can't use, and so it passes through,
And there it lies upon the ground, this thing that once was you.
If I chance to stop by on a visit to the mound,
I'll stop awhile and ponder on this object that I've found.
I'll think about ressurection, and life and death, and such.
And I'll come away concludin', why, you ain't changed all that much. o

2/14/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

Flash,

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on ..."

The way I read that, ol' Chuckie is implicitly recognizing the limits of his theory. Acknowledging God, in a way. The au courant Darwinnies don't even believe there's such a thing, leaving them fair game for Bob's little rejoinders

Bob has previously gesticulated preposition to Richard Dawkins and other dillusionists, not to mention Darwin himself. Hence, his post exists in a framework that you likely haven't read. Even worse (from your point of view), part of that framework includes a series of trolls who came in, guns blazing, and left a soiled carpet. And that helps explain the cool reception you've received.

You might be able to learn here, but I warn you: it'll be the hardest thing you've done in at least a year, if not several years. That's assuming you the Coons don't drive you crazy, us peripheral coons don't cackle with glee, Petey doesn't (further) Derrida your ego, and Bob doesn't summarily ban you.

"We wish you, Good Luck."
--airport announcement, Airplane

2/14/2007 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Man, line painting is awesome. I've been doing Inkscape for awhile, but I've only now really gotten into the whole art of it.

Pulling whole human and animal forms from my mind to the touchpad and into the digital canvas--

Sublime!

How do you see like an artist? Walk around for a day with your eyes closed. Then you recognize that the world isn't precisely as you see it at all.

Abstraction is making it less than you see-- let us make it more. See the forms within the things you see- also, see the things you don't see- but keep them hidden. Draw the whole left arm, but put it beneath the body.

Take both the form, the function, the motion, the emotion, and make them into a single un-ending line. This is vector art.

2/14/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

River,
What is inkscape?

2/14/2007 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous debass said...

bubba,
I haven't heard that, but I will try to find it. thanks

2/14/2007 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous debass said...

"How many folks do you know who play the vihuela da gamba?"
I don't know anyone. The vihuela da gamba is a cello with frets. What was the name of that woman that played cello in the nude in the 60s or 70s?

2/14/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

USS Ben said "...The target must be acquired before lasers (or Fire Control RADAR) can "shine" the target and lock on..."

Doh! Gonna have to watch Top Gun again!

;-)

2/14/2007 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Flash Gordon said...

It appears that I have blundered into a private conversation conducted in a secret code. Sorry....carry on.

2/14/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Regarding the subject of Beauty and Archetypes brought up by Hv and Will; Hv quoted Plato "who sees absolute beauty in its essence, pure and unalloyed, who, instead of a beauty tainted by human flesh and colour and a mass of perishable rubbish, is able to apprehend divine beauty where it exists apart and alone?"

Plato is one of my absolute favorites... but I disagree with him on nearly all major points - he was the first to state what the points worth pointing towards were though, and he stated them better than virtually everyone since.

IMHO, I think beauty exists not as a set or ideal form (or even one Form for each type of beauty depicted), but as a proportion of symmetrical relations between all points depicted - beauty to me (and not Beauty itself, but the geeky, procedural - even horizontal, process of defining it) is more the result of a method or function call (for you non computer-geek Coons, think of this 'method or function call' as higher examples of the Sum or Equals button on a calculator which takes whatever numbers you input, processes them according to defined rules, and returns an answer which, though different for each set of numbers input, is true for each) which returns an ideal based on the input, which we then compare particular actualities against (depending on our discernment and sensitivity for it).

You can see a Sculptor doing this as they take a hunk of clay already shaped into a female head & features, and eyeballing it very carefully, gathering all their input, slowly make minute adjustments 'dialing in' the different ranges until the form changes in appearance from a (gratuitous insult) Hilary Clintonish look towards a more Kyra Knightly look.

Will said "I think since the dawn of creation truth and beauty have existed in the forms of divine archetype. They exist objectively as "blueprints", patterns that imprint themselves in myriad forms on all substance..." - and - "...The great modern tragedy is that the second half of the equation - the trans-material, vertical half - goes missing. There's no light in the garden...."

I would say that in the way I'm getting at the idea of the divine archetype, that I see it less as blueprints, than defined ratios, which take in our herebelow materials, be they inanimate, animate or even thoughts, pass them through the ratios of the Harmonious whole, and return what we recognize as Beauty.

What separates the merely pretty from the Beautiful, would be failing to include that vital, but difficult to grasp, vertical-poetical input from the procedure. For a celluloid thin example (also in poor taste) of that missing vertical-poetical input, think of the difference between Anna Nicole Smith, and Sophia Loren.

... just a thought that's been brewing....

2/14/2007 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Ben:
See/hear=acquire, that I can understand.

Thanks.

2/14/2007 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Flash:
That last comment sounded kinda whiney.
Victims & puds don't fare well here.
Just a heads-up for you.

2/14/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Van:
How did the visit to the Headhunter go?

2/14/2007 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

ximeze,
At the moment, good prospects but no results. I'm not worried though, having been through it several times, and the markets doing pretty well here now, just need to widen the search.

Not knowing when the search will be complete is always a bit unsettling, but I know it will end and end well - for a while, and then it'll begin again; just the nature of the beast.

Now if I can just get my wife to repeat "It's only a movie, It's only a movie, It's only a movie....

;-)

2/14/2007 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - Your confidence and hope expressed consistently will become hers.

2/15/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Julie: Inkscape is a totally free, open source vector art program.

Inkscape: Draw Freely.

Line painting is what I do with it. I just grab the bezier tool and click-click-click out forms, and adjust them with the node tool, adding, removing points, shifting, removing line segments, adding them, making fills, putting objects above and below each other (pgup/pgdn) Their palette on the bottom is one of the best I have seen; makes a lot of good colors easy to grab and doesn't interfere with the interface much.

Yes- beauty as it is commonly thought of is a static thing, like a moment, whereas true beauty is beneath and expresses itself in special moments of impeccability.

A more common idea is that the beautiful is some ideal 'form' that must be maintained in stasis- but that 'form' they see is just an image of a particular moment in that process; an artists 'finished' work usually isn't finished, but he has halted it at a certain point so that people can look at it. So art is kind of extending this temporal thing into the eternal for a time. At the same time, it might also be extending the eternal into time by communicating an eternal truth into something apprehendable by temporal senses and words.

2/15/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

Bubba: I recently got Bela Flack's "Perpetual Motion", with Edgar Meyer, Evelyn Glennie, Gary Hoffman, and a bunch of others you'd probably recognize more than me. Between Bela and Edgar, if it's got strings anywhere, they can play it. And where else would you find the bluegrass version of Paganini's "Perpetual Motion"?

Evelyn Glennie is another remarkable woman. Totally deaf, she's one of the world's foremost percussionists. She plays marimba on the Bela Fleck CD. Like Helen Keller, she thinks of her deafness as just a minor inconvenience.

debass: Charlotte Moorman. She died in 1991, age 58.

2/15/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Peyton said...

uss ben said

"It's like the famous saying: "Lock and load."
It sounds good, but it's actually the reverse in reality.
Locking does no good if the weapon isn't loaded...or acquired."

But locking does considerable good if the weapon is loaded -- it cannot fire (in theory; in practice, many have been killed by an unloaded, locked weapon). So you "point all weapons downrange - lock and load one round - unlock - commence firing."

Ximese said

"On a less technical level, you have to see or hear (acquire) the enemy before you can have a chance of hitting it with a colt .45."

Better you should be standing right in from of the enemy!

From one who remembers "M-1 thumb" and hoped he never had to use the advisor-issue 45 in 'Nam -- i.e., I never evolved very well as a military person.

2/15/2007 05:44:00 PM  

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