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On natural selection
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2499

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:16 am    Post subject: On natural selection Reply with quote

For those interested, there's a very intriguing article appearing in today's Guardian, in the "most viewed" section. www.guardian.co.uk
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following appears at the bottom of the page:


Quote:
This article was amended on 19 March 2010. Genes undergo random mutations, rather than cause them (ninth paragraph). This has been corrected in the online version.



From: http://bostonreview.net/BR35.2/block_kitcher.php

Quote:
Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini are not biologists. Fodor is a leading philosopher of mind and cognitive scientist, best known for his ideas about the modularity of mind and language of thought; Piattelli-Palmarini is a cognitive scientist. They do not have new data, new theory, close acquaintance with the everyday practice of evolutionary investigations, or any interest in supplying alternative explanations of evolutionary phenomena. Instead, they wield philosophical tools to locate a “conceptual fault line” in contemporary Darwinism. Apparently unshaken by withering criticism of Fodor’s earlier writings about evolutionary theory, they write with complete assurance, confident that their limited understanding of biology suffices for their critical purpose. The resulting argument is doubly flawed: it is biologically irrelevant and philosophically confused.


And your reason for posting a link to this nonsense was?
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My but people do get upset when anyone questions the random mutation theory of natural selection.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just get upset when people post nonsense and substitute wishful thinking for science.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2499

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the fun of it? But that aside, all theories ought to be questioned, for the mental exercise if nothing else. On a personal level, I've always very wilfully refused to entertain the idea that something as marvelous as mankind--me, of course--rose from slime. Why not? If the theory's true, my wilful disbelief will affect it not one whit.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
For the fun of it? But that aside, all theories ought to be questioned, for the mental exercise if nothing else. On a personal level, I've always very wilfully refused to entertain the idea that something as marvelous as mankind--me, of course--rose from slime. Why not? If the theory's true, my wilful disbelief will affect it not one whit.


Isn't the natural world enough? I'm perfectly happy with the world as it is without having to invent some supernatural "cause." Isn't it enough to be alive on this wonderful beautiful planet? I can't understand why so many are living for the next life instead of making the most of this one.

Science is always examining evidence and questioning it's assumptions. It has changed many times in the past and will change in the future. In contrast, religious dogma ignores evidence to support it's worldview without change.

I get upset when politicized religious groups try to mandate their wrongheaded views of science in the schools. In this economy we can't afford a generation of science illiterates. There's nothing funny about it.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Science is always examining evidence and questioning it's assumptions.


You've never met a narrow-minded bigoted materialist? Lucky you.

Quote:
I get upset when politicized religious groups try to mandate their wrongheaded views of science in the schools.


As opposed to politicized scientists distorting evidence and silencing their opponents for their own professional (and financial) benefit?

There are idiots all across the spectrum, but there is no need to demonize all those who disagree. But then, I have always thought "for the fun of it" is a perfectly good reason to question something.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you should get a graduate degree in Biology or Genetics "for the fun of it." Then you would be qualified to question the science behind evolutionary theory.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Maybe you should get a graduate degree in Biology or Genetics "for the fun of it." Then you would be qualified to question the science behind evolutionary theory.


I must have missed it. When did I question the science behind evolutionary theory?
And when did you discover what graduate degrees I do or do not have?

Incidentally, an ad hominem argument is generally considered a fairly elementary error in logic.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
ad hominem |ˈad ˈhämənəm|
adverb & adjective
1 (of an argument or reaction) arising from or appealing to the emotions and not reason or logic.
• attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain : vicious ad hominem attacks.
2 relating to or associated with a particular person : [as adv. ] the office was created ad hominem for Fenton. | [as adj. ] an ad hominem response.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: Latin, literally ‘to the person.’


Didn't you say: "You've never met a narrow-minded bigoted materialist? Lucky you."

Didn't you also say: "As opposed to politicized scientists distorting evidence and silencing their opponents for their own professional (and financial) benefit?"

Kettle calling the pot black, I guess.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Didn't you say: "You've never met a narrow-minded bigoted materialist? Lucky you."

Didn't you also say: "As opposed to politicized scientists distorting evidence and silencing their opponents for their own professional (and financial) benefit?"


Did I say either of these applied to you? I was simply questioning your assumption that only religious groups can be narrow-minded or politicized.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Did I say either of these applied to you? I was simply questioning your assumption that only religious groups can be narrow-minded or politicized.


No, you accused me of an ad hominem logical error while blatantly committing one yourself against "materialists" and "politicized scientists."

Silly me, I assumed we were discussing the merits of an article on natural selection.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, this is getting silly. Were I to say that you are a narrow minded materialist or a politicized scientist, that would be an ad hominem argument. To say that such people exist is not. To say that all materialists are narrow minded or to say that all scientists are politicized would be as foolish as to imply that all religious people are.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2499

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmm! I guess I did imply some supernatural cause for mankind, didn't I?
But, hey, you know, it's a possibility, isn't it? Perhaps, like Pope, we should all await the great teacher death and then we may--oops, another possibility--know the answer.

Myself, I can never forget that science and its method leads to answers that have great probability--answers for the nonce, sort of. Don't you find it kind of difficult, when you really consider it, believing the brain that earned you a degree (in biology or genetics, I assume?) originated in soup, a directionless, unfeeling, unthinking, segment of protein?

Don't I, regardless, have the right to question anything I want to?

And JaneO was right: Your argument was ad hominem; hers was not.
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bob777



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Mmmm! I guess I did imply some supernatural cause for mankind, didn't I?
But, hey, you know, it's a possibility, isn't it? Perhaps, like Pope, we should all await the great teacher death and then we may--oops, another possibility--know the answer.

Myself, I can never forget that science and its method leads to answers that have great probability--answers for the nonce, sort of. Don't you find it kind of difficult, when you really consider it, believing the brain that earned you a degree (in biology or genetics, I assume?) originated in soup, a directionless, unfeeling, unthinking, segment of protein?

Don't I, regardless, have the right to question anything I want to?

And JaneO was right: Your argument was ad hominem; hers was not.


I don't have a problem with having risen from the primordial soup. I think that makes our lives rare and incredibly precious. I'm content not being a part of some deity's grand plan.

Isn't nature wonderful and interesting enough without having to invent an invisible man in the sky to "explain" what our limited imaginations can't understand.

Every scientific discovery in history has replaced "magic" with a natural explanation. While science will never have all of the answers, great progress is being made lighting the darkness.

I think that what upsets many people is that these discoveries have removed man from the "center of the universe." We originally thought the sun, planets and stars circled the earth. It was all about us. Now we know we circle just one of billions of stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is just one of billions in the observable universe.

I find it hard to believe that it was all created just for us.
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