Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Darwinian Tower of Monkey Babble

We left off with Ridley's observation that "there appeared on earth a new kind of hominid, one that refused to play by the rules. Without any change in its body, without any succession of species, it just kept changing its habits. For the first time, its technology changed faster than its anatomy. There was an evolutionary novelty, and you are it."

Some of you anyway.

Now, this is not supposed to happen under the iron hand of natural selection. But as Ridley properly notes, our species was born in rebellion. It simply "refused to play by the rules," rules that are only invented a posteriori anyway by scientists looking through the rearview mirror with 20/20 hindsight.

Again, this is the ultimate Black Swan, since not only could no one have predicted it beforehand, but they would have said with absolute certainty that it is impossible, not in this cosmos, and not under the rules we play by -- just as they insist that it is impossible for the Son of Man to evolve out of man. In their religion, only one miracle is permitted. Thus, the vast testimony of the saints and sages -- not to mention the legacy of true artists of Space and Time -- is just noise.

But why do scientists believe the only rules governing the cosmos are those that are accessible to their modified ape brain seen through the window of the last 300 years? This is just one of the implicit meta-rules they play by, but once you examine the rule, it is absurd if not childish, especially in the context of their own theory of what man is.

In other words, if man is what they say he is, what is the source of their arrogance and narrow-minded certainty? Why the preposterous confidence about what an ape can know of reality?

Either man's intellect is a potential adequation to reality, or it is not. And if it is, then Darwin is wrong, period. It surely doesn't mean that there is no truth to natural selection, because there obviously is. It is just that it cannot be the only rule life plays by, for there is nothing in natural selection that permits pneumacognitive adequation to nonlocal reality and truth.

Or, look at it this way. Usually, when a great person breaks a rule, it is because he is obeying a higher one. For example, a jazzologically untutored person might listen to Thelonious Monk and remark, "sounds okay, but why does he keep hitting the wrong notes? Why isn't he obeying the rules of music?"

The answer is that he is obeying a higher musical law, one in which notes that may sound wrong from below are right from above. Likewise the paintings of Kandinsky we discussed the other day. He's not just breaking rules, but discovering new ones.

Note that rules are the boundary conditions that govern a game. Let's say we're playing baseball. Nature could not evolve a superior ballplayer by making one that "refused to play by the rules."

For example, this ballplayer might insist that a home run is now a home run regardless of whether the ball is fair or foul; or that he may henceforth tackle the runner to impede his progress. If this were to happen, there would be no game. In other words, there is no possible game outside the rules of the game. Rather, there's just chaos. The game is over when someone refuses to play by the rules.

At some point some fifty-thousand years ago, human beings flatly refused any longer to play by the rules of natural selection. But just as with baseball, when someone refuses to play by the rules, that should be the end of the game.

In fact, man is hardly the only animal that tried to outwit nature and play outside her rules. But before man, their batting average was .000. In other words, like Pete Rose, the price they paid for violating the rules was extinction.

But when man stepped outside or above the rules of natural selection -- when the Spirit of Life was breathed into him -- he didn't just step out into chaos, into a jungle with no higher law governing it.

To the contrary, he now found himself playing under a new set of rules, very similar to what occurred when matter refused to play by the old rules of physics and suddenly came to life. Thereafter it played under a novel set of rules which fall under the rubric of biology. And one of those rules is surely natural selection, but only one.

There are clearly other rules -- including rules that transcend natural selection -- but not all of the monkeys are able to discern or understand them yet. Give them a break. And a banana.

Again, these human monkeys have only recently come down from the trees, so it is understandable that some of the slower ones would have some peculiar ideas about themselves. Some lament that they have no free will, others that the cosmos that gave birth to them is meaningless. What can one say? Life evolves. And some get left behind. Way it is.

Timelessness takes time. You can't just tell a snake to get some legs, nor can you tell a troll to get a clue. Some men crawl on their bellies and others walk upright.

But make no mistake: man was made to stand upright, for this corresponds to his deiformity, and is an analogue of his intrinsic dignity and nobility. An undignified and ignoble man is less than a man. He is not measuring up to what he ought to be (and note that the human Ought -- which is rooted in his celestial archetype -- is completely extra-Darwinian).

This is an example of a nonlocal rule human beings play under, and which may be intuited by the awakened intellect. Conversely, to suggest that our nobility, our love of truth, our boundless creativity, our knowledge of good and evil, may be reduced to natural selection is pure monkey babble.

This is not to suggest that some human monkeys aren't stuck playing under those old rules, and cannot fly past the neuralnet of their genetic program. But they're missing out on the game of a lifetime.

To be continued....


Mikal said...

"Refusing to play by the rules" - Best explanation of the Fall I've seen in awhile.

Gagdad Bob said...

Sweet. Line drive.

Gagdad Bob said...

And just as in natural selection, the wages for that are death.

Rick said...

Dear Natural Selection,
You have been demoted.
It's not you, it's me.

Magnus Itland said...

Just minutes before reading your daily secret message, I was reflecting on this: The moment a man concedes that his mind is a product of his brain, he also concedes that he does not even know whether his brain exists. It could be that his spleen is doing his thinking, convincing him that he has a brain,and he would be none the wiser.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, the groundless confidence of our splenetic trolls never ceases to amuse.

mushroom said...

It's not the spleen, it's the liver. Liver-conscious is greatly underrated.

Livers rule!

Sal said...

ditto the sin of Pride: the rules don't apply to me, because I'm so special.

In "A Little History of the World", Gombrich's chapter on early Man is called 'The Greatest Inventors".
I need to buy about 3-4 more copies...

f/zero said...

The prostate does most of the thinking in our society, far as I can tell, and speaks through the little head.

black hole said...

OK Raccon rascals now you're getting too smart for your britches and it'll land you in hot water.

Leftists of course understand God is in control of Cosmos. There must be centralized control of any means of production. That is axiomatic and an automatic assumption.

However people must adhere to laws of physics or they will attract Its attention. That could be good or bad, depending. Best not to chance it.

So. The Party line is: physics explains all. Play by the rules. Do not look up, do not look in.

Stick to that and you'll have a comfortable life. Make trouble, question the system, and things could get dicey.

Bob is a troublemaker. He is going to get God's KGB looking into to his file and asking questions. Like, what does he want? Will he interrupt the plan? Will he corrupt people?

Do you want your name to come up in that investigation? Think it over.

Dumb down. Even if you suspect Its there, best not to talk about it.

Work, pay taxes, support leftist policies. That's the safe bet.

Van said...

"But as Ridley properly notes, our species was born in rebellion. It simply "refused to play by the rules,"

Learning to fall. How do you go about that? What causes someone to think of something they've never thought of before? How do you notice something for which there is no reason to take notice of?

Some Geico wandering around with that first handax... noticed something in a travelling tribes handax that was far more astounding than any sort of difference... differences were all over the place in quantities quite beyond (or maybe below) number - differences were all there were.
But one dei Geico noticed something different, he noticed something that was similar among the differences... and bango wango his head probably nearly exploded. Can you even imagine what must have flooded into his mind in a single rush of inductive awareness? Only everything. Leaving the automatic world of the perceptualy given, and falling into the unexplored conceptual land of choice... and no going back. And a stairway to heaven to boot.

"But make no mistake: man was made to stand upright, for this corresponds to his deiformity, and is an analogue of his intrinsic dignity and nobility. An undignified and ignoble man is less than a man. He is not measuring up to what he ought to be (and note that the human Ought -- which is rooted in his celestial archetype -- is completely extra-Darwinian)."

He ought to choose it. But he can't be forced to, not in a million years; if he wants to remain different, he can choose not to make a choice.

Geddy up.

Aristotle's Beauty of Beginnings
"'BEGINNING' means (1) that part of a thing from which one would start first, e.g a line or a road has a beginning in either of the contrary directions. (2) That from which each thing would best be originated, e.g. even in learning we must sometimes begin not from the first point and the beginning of the subject, but from the point from which we should learn most easily. (4) That from which, as an immanent part, a thing first comes to be, e,g, as the keel of a ship and the foundation of a house, while in animals some suppose the heart, others the brain, others some other part, to be of this nature. (4) That from which, not as an immanent part, a thing first comes to be, and from which the movement or the change naturally first begins, as a child comes from its father and its mother, and a fight from abusive language. (5) That at whose will that which is moved is moved and that which changes changes, e.g. the magistracies in cities, and oligarchies and monarchies and tyrannies, are called arhchai, and so are the arts, and of these especially the architectonic arts. (6) That from which a thing can first be known,-this also is called the beginning of the thing, e.g. the hypotheses are the beginnings of demonstrations. (Causes are spoken of in an equal number of senses; for all causes are beginnings.) It is common, then, to all beginnings to be the first point from which a thing either is or comes to be or is known; but of these some are immanent in the thing and others are outside. Hence the nature of a thing is a beginning, and so is the element of a thing, and thought and will, and essence, and the final cause-for the good and the beautiful are the beginning both of the knowledge and of the movement of many things."

Jack said...

"The answer is that he is obeying a higher musical law, one in which notes that may sound wrong from below are right from above."

I was recently playing some hippie fest in some guys large field up in the mountains. The lighting on stage was poor to say the least and I couldn't really see my hands very well. I was given "the nod" by the songwriter to take a solo but kept going to the wrong position on my baritone, but was able to correct fairly quickly. At the climax of the solo I jumped up to a higher position and again unable to see my hands very well I hit a "clam".

But rather than try to find the "right note" I just shifted my own inner response and embraced it as the right note and hit this same "wrong" note with even more gusto.

The same note (at least to me) actually *changed* by doing so. It became the right note.

(I am making no claim to being any where near on par with Monk...but I find the principle a profoundly mysterious and fruitful one).

phil g said...

Perhaps a good sports example of breaking the rules and playing by a higher set of rules of a whole new game is when someone decided to take the rugby ball and through it forward overhand. That was an evolutionary leap.

Baseball is evolutionarily complete except for the American League and that silly DH thing they do.

Tigtog said...

Axiomatic, but what do people mean by "returning to the Garden?" Is it that they wish to return to a pre-conscious state or merely arrive at a perfect land of skittles, rainbows and unicorns? I know its romantic, but what would they do there if their wish was granted? Methinks they would be eternally bored. That is if they didn't receive the daddy Darwin frontal lobotomy. Just saying.

ge said...



Consciousness is a symptom of disease.
All that moves well moves without will.
All skillfulness, all strain, all intention is contrary to ease.
Practise a thousand times, and it becomes difficult; a thousand thousand, and it becomes easy; a thousand thousand times a thousand thousand, and it is no longer Thou that doeth it, but It that doeth itself through thee. Not until then is that which is done well done.
Thus spoke FRATER PERDURABO as he leapt from rock to rock of the moraine without ever casting his eyes upon the ground.