Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why Darwinists Reject Evolution

In trying to decide what to repost, it's much easier to just grab something at random from one or two years ago. This one is from last September, with many new reflections and refractions added. Irony alert: the title of the post is not ironic but 100% literal.

I'm afraid that some readers -- probably for perfectly understandable reasons -- don't fully understand my point about spiritual evolution. I am not attempting to "Aurobindo-ize" Christianity." Rather, it's just that I see some rather obvious and fascinating parallels. Furthermore, I think a kneejerk anti-evolutionary stance is merely "customary" rather than intrinsic to Christianity. In fact, I believe it can be shown that the idea of a static universe is at the "human margin" of Christian theology, as opposed to evolution, which is at the heart of the divine revelation and intrinsic to a created world.

The concept of evolution is a key that unlocks countless mysteries, whereas the idea of a static universe only puts in place numerous impasses to our reason. And since God addresses himself to human reason, I have a hard time accepting any theology that insists that we must bypass our God-given reason to "understand" the divine memo.

Remember, whenever I use the word "evolution," it is never in the watered-down Darwinian sense of random "natural selection," but in a much grander cosmic sense, of which Darwinism can only be a small subset. Darwinists quite clearly abuse the plain dictionary definition of the term, and whenever someone redefines a word in order to make their theory work, you should be suspicious, for that's not science, only semantics or some other evasion. You can't define something by redefining it out of existence. Science naturally does this for methodological reasons, but then supernaturally conflates method and ontology, which is -- to use the technical term -- "stupid."

For example, my dictionary says that evolution is "a process of change in a certain direction", i.e., "a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state." Being that the essence of spirituality involves changing into a higher and better state, whereas Darwinism merely involves intrinsically meaningless change, it is actually religious believers who accept evolution and Darwinists who don't. For a strict Darwinist, nothing can be intrinsically "better" or "higher" on pain of undermining the whole theory. Organisms can only be relatively better adapted to their environment and therefore reproduce more successfully.

It doesn't take a genius to notice that Darwinism violates this straightforward definition of evolution, since it cannot speak of directionality, lower and higher, or better and worse, being that these categories can only be located on a vertical plane that transcends the flatland Darwinism of random mutation.

Even if a Darwinist argues that his theory is superior to yours, he has taken himself out of Darwinism, and is making an appeal to criteria that quite obviously transcend Darwinism. Why do you think that contemptuous Darwinists always want to prove that they are so much smarter than you are, hmm? Suffice it to say that the answer will not be found in Darwinism but psychoanalysis.

Ironically, you could even say that Darwinists specifically do not believe in evolution, being that they reject its very possibility (i.e., directional change into an intrinsically higher state). Rather, they believe in change, a very different thing. In this regard, they are very much like progressives, who also believe in change, but not genuine progress, since their metaphysic abolishes any absolute standard by which real progress can be measured. Indeed, progressives must generally abolish permanent truths in order to facilitate the changes they seek.

Again, one of our central ideas is that, specifically because this is a creation, it must also evolve and burst forth with creative novelty. The cosmos is permeated with meaning, and meaning has no meaning outside teleology, or final causes. In other words, the meaning is the cause.

Or, put it this way: if this weren't a creation, then we would have no trouble explaining why the cosmos has no creativity, novelty, or progressive development. We certainly wouldn't have any difficulty explaining the absence of the human intellect. But this is not a single level creation. Rather, it contains implicit degrees of being that serially unfold within time. This is a living cosmos; or let us say that it is infused with the life principle of "dynamic interior wholeness," which is why biology is even possible. Such a principle could never occur in a cosmos where it wasn't already implicitly present.

And it is also composed of Truth, which is why truth may call out to truth in the human subject. Only like may know like. We can know of no cosmos other than a cosmos capable of self-revelation and self-knowledge. But a cosmos capable of self-knowledge is an astonishing thing to contemplate. Here again, there is no Darwinist who doesn't suffer from a severely constrained imagination, thereby foreclosing the very space of vertical recollection.

In an "evolutionary creation" (which is again a redundancy), time will not be reducible to mere physical duration. Rather, it is the essence of creative transformation, which was one of Whitehead's central principles. He was one of my early guiding lights in these matters. Here, let me drag out my dog-eared copy of Adventures of Ideas. There he writes that "The creativity of the world is the throbbing emotion of the past hurtling itself into a new transcendent fact." His point is that each moment represents an instance of the cosmos transcending itself like a "flying dart hurled beyond the bounds of the world."

Hmm, let's see what else we have in here. Although I am not a full-blown Whiteheadian, he is nevertheless one of those people whose ideas have long since blended with my own psychic substance, so it's interesting to go back and look at some of my highlights and marginalia from 25 years ago. "This notion of... history devoid of any reliance on metaphysical principles and cosmological generalizations, is a figment of the imagination. The belief in it can only occur to minds steeped in provinciality -- the provinciality of... minds unable to divine their own unspoken limitations." Ho! Whitehead wasn't the most coherent or linear writer, but his books are filled with barbed little zingers like that.

Although Whitehead obviously accepted Darwinism as far as it goes, he wrote that, as applied to the human realm, it posed "a challenge to the whole humanitarian movement" and "weakened the Stoic-Christian ideal of democratic brotherhood." Who could argue with that? "For two thousand years philosophy and religion had held up before Western Europe the ideal figure of man, as man, and had claimed for it supreme worth." But two thousand years of accumulated divine-human wisdom can be wiped away with a single book of anti-intellectual Darwinist barbarism.

Just poking around at random now. Here's another good one: modern scientism canalizes "thought and observation within predetermined limits, based upon inadequate metaphysical assumptions dogmatically assumed. The modern assumptions.... exclude from rationalistic thought more of the final values of existence," circumscribing reason "by reducing its topics to triviality, for example, to bare sensa and tautologies.... The world will again sink into the boredom of a drab detail of rational thought, unless we retain in the sky some reflection of light from the sun of Hellenism." All men will be as repetitive, narrow and tedious as Charles Johnson.

Ah, here is Raccoonish sentiment: "We speak in the singular of The Universe.... There is one all-embracing fact [O] which is the advancing history of the one Universe." This is the "community of the world, which is the matrix of all begetting, and whose essence is process with retention of connectedness..." Indeed,

"We habitually speak of stones, and planets, and animals, as though each individual thing could exist, even for a passing moment, in separation from an environment which is in truth a necessary factor in its own nature. Such an abstraction is a necessity of thought.... But it also follows that, in the absence of some understanding of the final nature of things... all science suffers from the vice that it may be combining various propositions which tacitly presuppose inconsistent backgrounds. No science can be more secure than the unconscious metaphysics which it tacitly presupposes." Ho!

The point is -- now confirmed by quantum physics -- everything participates in everything else in ways that are far beyond the ken of 19th century atomistic science. Furthermore, in a post-relativistic cosmos, both space and time are nonlocal, so things are also temporally connected in ways that materialistic science cannot disclose.

This led Whitehead to the inevitable conclusion that each moment had a subjective and objective component, of which you might say that our minds are the individualized beneficiaries. In other words, the process of our very own mind reveals something intrinsic about the way the cosmos evolves. Scientistic materialists believe the same thing -- that the mind mirrors reality -- except that they only consider things from the linear/left brain point of view, instead of from the synthesis of the "higher third" that comes into view in the integral evolution of what Grotstein called the "transcendent position."

To say that God "participates" in the world, or that the divine is immanent within the creation, is another way of acknowledging this reality. This is the reason why the world is so full of beauty, truth, novelty, delight, surprise, -- and evolution. Evolution can occur because the cosmos is shot through with implicit divine potential to be realized in time: "The creativity is the actualization of potentiality, and the process of actualization is an occasion of experiencing." Thus, you might say that true creativity represents the quintessence of God "experiencing" his creation through us. Which is why it is a sin to bore God in the manner of a Queegian liztard.

The matrix of the world is the mother of our becoming -- the mamamatrix of evolution. But this matrix must be fertilized by the divine seed in order for things to grow and develop. Truly, our vertically challenged materialistic brethren are suffering from a spiritual (second) birth defect.

60 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good news for Johan and other Swedish 'Coons.

9/19/2009 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Deepak's generosity is boundless. Today he gives away his stinky old sneakers to some lucky loser in order to keep abundance flowing in the cosmos.

9/19/2009 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, one sneaker, anyway... still, how many of you selfish conservatives will give away a sneaker today?

9/19/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

huh. I wonder how much that sneaker will go for on ebay?

9/19/2009 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, again, exposes his ignorance of several subjects. I love this.

I love how Bob says something, then doesn't back it up with any references of any kind to anything.

Again, just because you say something, doesn't make it true. The day Bob starts actually talking about the subjects and not what he thinks they are, then more people will listen.

I could bullshit my papers in high school better than this garbage.

9/19/2009 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Now you've piqued my curiosity. Could we have more examples of your superior high school insights? If they're anything like your comments, they will be quite illuminating.

9/19/2009 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Gen. Dissaray said...

Yep, Butters is all civil discourse, maturity and class. She's way above starting fights in other people's blogs.

9/19/2009 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Metaphysical rock. Darwinian pig. Existential squeal. End of issue.

9/19/2009 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Big Al Whitehead said...

No references? What am I, chopped liver?

9/19/2009 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There is actually a serious point here. Do you see the oppressive tyranny of scientistic thought, which is not to be questioned? Not only are different philosophies not permitted, but philosophy itself is not permitted, the reason being that it doesn't require much to refute philosophical Darwinism.

9/19/2009 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In other words, there are some things which if true are false, such as absolute relativism.

9/19/2009 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Big Al, I was wondering that myself. In point of fact, has there ever been a post here where there aren't any outside references? The fact that anyone can pick up the books or read the links of other great (or not so great) thinkers and form one's own opinion on the validity of Bob's interpretation is what lends this place credibility.

But obviously, no trifling truth can be allowed to get in the way of the Darwinist's agenda. If they can't attack the ideas, they must attack the messenger instead.

9/19/2009 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Big Al Whitehead said...

Good point. Memo to anonymous: read my Process and Reality and get back to me. Don't worry -- any high school student with an IQ above 145 can easily understand it.

9/19/2009 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"sink into the boredom of a drab detail of rational thought"

"will be as repetitive, narrow and tedious"

"combining various propositions which tacitly presuppose inconsistent backgrounds"

Hey, lookit: Big Al knew all about OC trolls.
whuddathunk


wv gets it too: noxing

9/19/2009 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"And since God addresses himself to human reason, I have a hard time accepting any theology that insists that we must bypass our God-given reason to "understand" the divine memo."

And of course how anyone is supposed to "understand" the word without the full use of Reason... is... is... well, words fail, as they must, if reason is excluded.

9/19/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Darwinists quite clearly abuse the plain dictionary definition of the term, and whenever someone redefines a word in order to make their theory work, you should be suspicious, for that's not science, only semantics or some other evasion. You can't define something by redefining it out of existence."

Equivocation has always been the core of all forms of leftist thought, as it must be - to say that reality is not what it is, requires you to make it seem as if words mean something other than what they do. Pick a page out of one of Chomsky's screeds, you'll likely find several examples. Those who attempt to define science into supporting their views, have no other choice than to not mean what they say, in order to sway you into thinking that what they said had any meaning at all.

9/19/2009 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Similar to how a living Constitution causes a dying brain....

9/19/2009 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In this regard, they are very much like progressives, who also believe in change, but not genuine progress, since their metaphysic abolishes any absolute standard by which real progress can be measured. Indeed, progressives must generally abolish permanent truths in order to facilitate the changes they seek."

aninnymouse cries "...ould bullshit my papers in hig..."

Heh. Sharpshooter. Bullseye. Bull expels B.S.

Nuff said.

9/19/2009 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

Darwinists quite clearly abuse the plain dictionary definition of the term, and whenever someone redefines a word in order to make their theory work, you should be suspicious, for that's not science, only semantics or some other evasion.

Exactly backwards. Scientific theories do not depend on dictionary definitions. Natural selection has explanatory power regardless of what may be found in your Funk and Wagnall's.

The world will again sink into the boredom of a drab detail of rational thought...

So you find rational thought boring. That's too bad, but why should we dwell in a fantasyland just because reality isn't entertaining enough for you?

My guess is that you know it's fantasy. If this vertical dimension you talk about was all it was cracked up to be, it would make you happy and psychically powerful. But you seem to spend 90% of your time energy railing against the horizontal, as if the material world and those who dwell in it were constantly threatening to drag you back down to earth.

9/19/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It never occurred to me that I'm not having the tome of my life, but I guess I'll take your word for it.

9/19/2009 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The irony, of course, is that Darwinism forbids us to talk about "reality," much less know it, for we are all trapped in the fantasy world of our adaptations.

9/19/2009 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Teleology, which comes from the absolute, imposes a structure on us. Which is why the founders understood the difference between license and responsible freedom.

And that is why denying telos, and insisting that we are the products of natural selection over random variation, provides some sort of cover for actions that would otherwise cause the conscience to ache. That leaves grab all you can in this life 'cause that all there is.

Of course that doesn't square all that well with the concern for greater fairness expressed as a desire to see material equality.

And that's more internal inconsistency than I can hold together.

wv: phermo

9/19/2009 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If this vertical dimension you talk about was all it was cracked up to be, it would make you happy and psychically powerful.

Bwaahaha...
Sorry, that just tickled my funnybone for some reason.

When I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, it occurred to me that how one person perceives/experiences the world may be completely alien to another person, were they to somehow switch minds - for instance, how I experience "red" might be how someone else experiences "blue." But then it also occurred to me that so long as it can be agreed that there is a quality of "redness" that everyone (capable of seeing it) identifies consistently as "red," then the manner of perception is almost moot. What matters instead is that there is a reality outside of ourselves which we can know, and about which we can transmit knowledge in an intelligible way. I also realized that this reality then could not possibly be a product of my senses, because if that were so it would be me creating the world and everything in it; at the time, the world was rather specifically not to my specifications, so I was pretty sure that couldn't be the case.

Or as I more recently observed to DH, "Alanis Morisette is proof that I'm not god."

If all we are and all we can know is what our adaptive senses tell us, then in truth we do effectively create the world in our own brains, since that's where the data is stored and processed. Before we are born, there is nothing, and after we die, there is nothing, and nobody to know it on either end. In other words, from a strictly Scientistic perspective, it's all my fault, since I can't really account for you folks. You're just something I made up to pass the time until nothing happens again.

9/19/2009 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Yes, and the other irony -- well technically, stupidity -- is that Bob has no problem with natural selection as science, only as philosophy, metaphysic, or religion.

9/19/2009 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm not psychically powerful? Tell that to the trolls who are drawn into my psychic web and can't get away! Bwaaaahahahaha!

9/19/2009 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Julie,

"... then the manner of perception is almost moot."

If we are each perceiving the same external quality such as "redness," then why would the internal representation or the "manner of perception" matter at all. Why "almost?"

9/19/2009 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Katzky, good question. Maybe the "almost" doesn't belong. I suppose what I was thinking is that how one perceives reality has an effect on how one responds to it, so in that sense individual perceptions do matter.

9/19/2009 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "When I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, it occurred to me that how one person perceives/experiences the world may be completely alien to another person, were they to somehow switch minds - for instance, how I experience "red" might be how someone else experiences "blue." But then it also occurred to me that so long as it can be agreed that there is a quality of "redness" that everyone (capable of seeing it) identifies consistently as "red," then the manner of perception is almost moot."

Now that's interesting, I clearly recall having the same thought at around the same age... I even remember the scene, sitting on the couch as my Mom walked into the living room, and wondering if what I saw as human features, maybe she saw me as a scaly monster or something (hey, Godzilla was my keenest interest at the time... boys you know), and soon followed the realization that "... this reality then could not possibly be a product of my senses, because if that were so it would be me creating the world and everything in it; at the time, the world was rather specifically not to my specifications, so I was pretty sure that couldn't be the case. "

Hey Gagdad, is that a common age-specific realization among children in general, or just of the Raccoon variety?

"Or as I more recently observed to DH, "Alanis Morisette is proof that I'm not god." "

LOL!

9/19/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Katzxy said "If we are each perceiving the same external quality such as "redness," then why would the internal representation or the "manner of perception" matter at all. Why "almost?""

Well, if I follow you right, color blindness, etc, as well as coming Jordy LaForge electronic prosthetic senses... no matter how information is transmitted to the brain, it is of the same reality.

9/19/2009 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Julie, good answer.

My question comes out of geekdom (I used to be one :-) working with sending message between computers. Each machine could have different internal representations of the message, but if they both were programmed to interpret it the same way then there was no issue. So regardless of our internal representation of reality, if we respond the same way then no matter.

But we don't all respond the same way. And we don't all see it the same way. So the significance of the internals might matter, just at the filter through which we look at the world.

I was looking for clarification, but I think that there's more to be confused about. It's progress of a sort.

9/19/2009 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

... if I am able to perceive Sophia Loren as she is, and you are only are able to perceive her in black and white, or a coarse pixilated form, it is of the same reality, and almost doesn't matter... (that is, if you never saw it in living color in the first place).

wv:examen
Heh... to potty, it wouldn't matter.

9/19/2009 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Katxzy said "Each machine could have different internal representations of the message, but if they both were programmed to interpret it the same way then there was no issue."

SOAP and msg que's?

9/19/2009 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Van, yup, that was what I was talking about, we're all perceiving the same reality. I don't buy that solipsistic slop. Julie's comment about reality not matching her specifications gets at it directly.

The wonder is that we each filter, and organize, reality differently so that our perceptions can be different. The shock is that we can communicate, more evidence of O.

9/19/2009 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Van, again yes. But back in the old days when I was working with this stuff, we sort of rolled our own.

9/19/2009 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Katzxy,
I just took a look at your blog, I guess you're not keeping it up to date, but those last two sure looked familiar!

Consulting has it's ups and downs, but I like being able to tell the pointy headed fool, he is one, and not worry too much about what will be lost as I look for a new location.

I'm curious, as you started to dig into Object Oriented Programming, did any light bulbs and connections go off between it and Philosophy? Together with normalizing wide tables into normalized relational databases, for me at least, that was what caused all the philosophically 'out there' ideas to finally click into place with a palpable resonance.

Hasn't got me out of having to mow the lawn though.

Sigh... clouds are darkening, can't delay any further... reality is a pain that way....

9/19/2009 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now you've piqued my curiosity. Could we have more examples of your superior high school insights? If they're anything like your comments, they will be quite illuminating."

Actually, I'm waiting for yours Bob. Until you can provide what you expect of me, I refuse to move beyond any level you can't. Well, when I say you can't, that means I'll never have to. Meaning that because you believe saying something makes it true, then when I say you're a dumbass, you're a dumbass. Using your standards of course.

9/19/2009 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can afford to play at your level, because it means I'll never have to answer for my words.

I'm doing just as you always do. Playing your game, using your rules, is easier than having an intellectual conversation. But that's what separates us, I can afford to speak at an intellectual level, and you can't. So I'll remain down on your level until you find a way to find some intellectual ability that's up to mine.

9/19/2009 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Throw me a bone here -- any reading suggestions for how I might reach your level?

9/19/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Van,

It's been along time since I wrote in that blog. I was trying to blow off steam from the pressure of being disappointed and dealing with a PHB. Or two.

OO stuff came along too late for me. My tastes run to functional programming (think 'lisp).

It is amazing what lets us see revelation. You mention normalizing wide tables. In my case it was a meditation on free will. And in instant, prepared for by decades of experience, I was staggered by the realization that for all those long years I'd been WRONG. Amazingly, stupidly, liztardedly wrong. I grateful to Bob and the entire community here for the insights and discussions. These have been helpful even prior to my getting up the courage to join in.

Be well Van.

9/19/2009 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

Darwinism forbids us to talk about "reality," much less know it, for we are all trapped in the fantasy world of our adaptations.

Nonsense.

For example, we are adapted to see only certain colors of light (red, blue, and green). Other animals can see different wavelengths (ie, bees can see a color called bee purple that is in the ultraviolet and invisible to us. All of these wavelengths of light are real, and we have the ability to know about them via science, technology, and reason. Does "Darwinism" "forbid" this? Um, no.

9/19/2009 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What do you mean by the statement that "wavelengths of light are real"? I am especially interested in how a contingent being can know what is real.

If you can answer that question within the constraints of a Darwinian metaphysic, the Nobel goes to you!

9/19/2009 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "I can afford to play at your level, because it means I'll never have to answer for my words."

Which is convenient, as no one is interested in them.

"...hat's what separates us, I can afford to speak at an intellectual level, a..."

And just as your intellectual compatriot, Paris Hilton has demonstrated so well, being able to afford to move in the classy circles, doesn't make you classy - somehow your true self ... comes through....

"...Playing your game, using your rules, is easier than having an intellectual con ..."

Except that Gagdad is engaged in a 'game' which we here find interesting and enjoy getting together and playing along with. The rules are clearly posted (sorry, being human and non-anonymous seem to be a requirement) and respected by those joining in and passing the ball back and forth, scoring and having a good time.

You on the other hand, are just the smelly uncoordinated kid, unwilling and unable to play, and determined to stay that way.

Aside from providing us some amusement, you are unable to contribute, are unwilling to be congenial, unable to hinder our play, you really don't matter at all.

Hey, maybe you and potty could get together for a game or two... your smell... his need to flush... a match made in... well... you know.

But thanks for the laughs!

9/19/2009 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "I am especially interested in how a contingent being can know what is real."

Kind of makes you wish they'd enact the old Descartes joke... you know... "Would you like a drink Descartes?"

"I don't thinks s..." Poof!

9/19/2009 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van,
I clearly recall having the same thought at around the same age... I even remember the scene, sitting on the couch as my Mom walked into the living room, and wondering if what I saw as human features, maybe she saw me as a scaly monster or something

That is< funny - I distinctly recall playing with the idea along the same lines. "Scaly monster" may have been in there, and I'm pretty sure also "slimy blob alien." I even remember how I got on that train of that. I was waiting for my parents outside of church, bouncing around as usual, and trying to imagine what it would feel like to be an elephant, having never known anything different, then playing the game with different animals and different people or even just different physical features.

9/19/2009 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(pimf; sorry, just woke up)

9/19/2009 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of both blaming the messenger and finding that reality does not conform itself to ones individual specifications, Chris Wallace on the WH Press corps.

9/19/2009 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

By "real" I mean it's as real as anything else in the world. The point is not what is meant by "real" but that the set of real things is not limited by our biological adaptations.

There is no such thing as a "Darwinian metaphysic". Darwin was not a metaphysician; he made it easier to believe in naturalistist metaphysics by explaining how natural causes could result in the complexity and apparent design of life, which prior to him were thought to require supernatural agency. That's all (although it was quite enough).

9/19/2009 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thank you for that heartfelt tautology. If something is "as real as anything else," then it is equally true to say that it is as unreal as anything else. It doesn't answer the question.

To say that "the set of real things is not limited by our biological adaptations" is a double evasion, for it is to say what is real without ever defining it, and that we can know it!

I can see that you've thought this through...

To suggest that "there is no Darwinian metaphysic" is to simply confess an ignorance of metaphysics -- as if science takes place in a vacuum! No philosopher of science has believed this since Kuhn at least.

We'll just leave it at that. Again, I have no interest in convincing anyone, only clarifying differences as sharply as possible.

9/19/2009 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Erasmus said...

Bob, I am seeing a lot of attacks on Charles Johnson, one of my web favorites, and I am curious as to why. I do know that a section of the rightist blogosphere is excommunicating him apparently because he likes to be even handed, and to challenge irrationalist conspiracy mongers on the right as well as the left. I also haven't seen him espousing Darwinism as a materialistic substitute for religion; but I have noticed that he, appropriately in my view, attacks theocrats who seek to impose dogma into the schools, and lambasts the many extremist loons and wingbats that have begun to grow, lamentably, within the conservative movement.

9/19/2009 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

"the set of real things ..." is or is not.

That business about the set, that's what interests me for the moment. The foundation of Mathematics is usually based on set theory. (Or so I remember. It's been a long time.) Of late, I've been thinking that it might be better to take the notion of function as the undefined primitive and let sets be derived from that.

One of the things I like about this change is it makes the set of real things dependent on something else.

And if I go by the discussions here, it seems that the "set of real things" is in fact dependent on something prior, and that is a satisfying thought indeed.

Or, I could be talking through my hat.

9/19/2009 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You are seeing attacks on Charles because he has become a small-minded, obsessive, paranoid, vindictive crank. Believe me, I never thought I'd see the day, but here it is.

I remember when this all started, Ben asked my opinion on the feud between Charles and Gates of Vienna. I told Ben that I had no idea what it was about, but that whatever it was, I trusted Charles instincts and judgment implicitly, and couldn't imagine him being unfair of dishonorable.

But in the interim, he has proved himself to be a loon. I honestly think that something is seriously wrong with him. I know that I haven't changed, so how to explain the fact that our values are now diametrically opposed?

I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with that, but he insists that he hasn't changed one iota, which just makes him sound more crazy. It would be as if Rush Limbaugh were to come out in support of Nancy Pelosi, but insist that he's not saying anything he hasn't always said.

And suffice it to say that people move from left to right as they mature. No one moves from right to left unless there has been some kind of head injury. Maybe he fell off his bike...

9/19/2009 06:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS - I can see from scrolling down that there is a quite a history of this dispute. I just came back to your blog after a time away, will do some homework catching up on earlier posts.....Erasmus

9/19/2009 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Erasmus:

Just search "Queeg" on my site, and you'll get an idea. I've never banned a single person, but Queeg bans anyone who even hints at dissent -- including me.

9/19/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example, Charles now has a post about some Republican who made a joke about monkeys in India, and jumps to the conclusion that it is really about Obama. Like so many leftists, Charles is obsessed with Obama's race, but projects it into conservatives, as if we could care less! If Obama had Reagan's values, we'd put him on Mount Rushmore.

9/19/2009 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

If something is "as real as anything else," then it is equally true to say that it is as unreal as anything else. It doesn't answer the question.

What question?

To suggest that "there is no Darwinian metaphysic" is to simply confess an ignorance of metaphysics -- as if science takes place in a vacuum! No philosopher of science has believed this since Kuhn at least.

Kuhn had very little to say about metaphysics. His work was in the epistemology of science, insofar as it is philosophy rather than history.

You are shifting the meaning of "Darwinian metaphysic". That Darwin had a philosophical views of his own which included some kind of metaphysics is undeniable. That's different from saying there is some distinctive body of thought called "Darwinian metaphysics".

We'll just leave it at that. Again, I have no interest in convincing anyone, only clarifying differences as sharply as possible.

I notice you tend to say that when an argument isn't going your way.

9/19/2009 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We'll give you the last word and let the folks at home decide, as always.

9/19/2009 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Katzky, yes, it seems like you're getting the gist.

Unless, of course, I'm talking through my hat ;)

9/19/2009 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Folk at home say:
Differences clarified!

9/19/2009 08:56:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Bob said:
"Good news for Johan and other Swedish 'Coons."

Indeed. We are now competing head to head with denmark in being the most taxed people in the world. Right now I guess we are a litte ahead of them. Ain't that something!

9/20/2009 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you folks are a hoot (or should I use the sound that coons make?)!

especially liked this one:
“The cosmos is permeated with meaning, and meaning has no meaning outside teleology, or final causes. In other words, the meaning is the cause.”

...remounded me of cousin marshall! : )

thanks, a first-time reader. from east and sometimes north of the swedes!

9/28/2009 01:21:00 AM  

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