The Exclusive Biological nature of Evolution via the natural selection :

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Offline DonQuichotte

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The Exclusive Biological nature of Evolution via the natural selection   :

Hi,folks :

The nature of Darwin's theory of evolution via the natural selection  is only and exclusively biological :

My question is as follows :

Why then is the theory of evolution extended to cultures, societies, religions or spirituality , politics, philosophy, economics, intellect, psychology, human consciousness, ....?


Thanks, appreciate indeed .

All the best .

« Last Edit: 21/08/2013 17:28:59 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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I think what evolution has in common with the other concepts you are referring to is just the selection process that is similar For example, in the market place, products that are useful or desirable with a price people are willing to pay, sell. The company makes money and continues to exist, may reinvest the profits, and expand. Products that are not desirable, don't sell, and the company goes out of business. You can find similar selection processes in politics, television, etc.

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Offline CliffordK

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Perhaps you could think of evolution like mathematics.

We wouldn't exist if there wasn't first prehistoric bacteria, prehistoric amoebas, fish, amphibians, early mammals, primates, and about 5 to 10 million years of hominid evolution.

Likewise, in mathematics, it is difficult to learn calculus if you don't have a foundation first of simple numbers, then addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, trigonometry, and finally calculus.  Perhaps not everything has to be done in quite the same order, but it would be hard to study calculus without first knowing how to add.

Perhaps the scientific method and the development of engineering is similar.  So much is based on, and requires previous work to build something new.  Try as much as he could, Leonardo couldn't quite get powered flight down.  It first required the invention of the steam engine a century or two later, then another century for the invention of the internal combustion engine.  Then another half a century of development, and the Wright Brothers used a small gas engine to power their first plane.  A bit more than a half century more, and jets replaced prop planes...  and etc.

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Offline DonQuichotte

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I think what evolution has in common with the other concepts you are referring to is just the selection process that is similar For example, in the market place, products that are useful or desirable with a price people are willing to pay, sell. The company makes money and continues to exist, may reinvest the profits, and expand. Products that are not desirable, don't sell, and the company goes out of business. You can find similar selection processes in politics, television, etc.

I know what you are talking about :
I just think that both the biological evolution and the other kinds of evolutions : economic, intellectual, cultural, political, spiritual ,....are 2 different categories of evolution which occur at different levels and with other different set of "rules" : so, we cannot just copy and apply biological evolution to the non-biological evolutionary processes ,otherwise that would be just like confusing 2 different categories of evolution with each other ,otherwise we should be able to predict social, cultural, economic, political , ethical , ....developments with total accuracy , if we take into consideration the very  mechanical  deterministic nature of the biological evolution we would apply to those  different  human areas :

See how even modern maths ,not to mention quantum mechanics , the theory of chaos ,the relativity theory ...had kissed absolute determinism and absolute predictability goodbye :

See the following top docus on the matter : very enlightening indeed : fascinating :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/high-anxieties-the-mathematics-of-chaos/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/dangerous-knowledge/

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Perhaps you could think of evolution like mathematics.

We wouldn't exist if there wasn't first prehistoric bacteria, prehistoric amoebas, fish, amphibians, early mammals, primates, and about 5 to 10 million years of hominid evolution.

Likewise, in mathematics, it is difficult to learn calculus if you don't have a foundation first of simple numbers, then addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, trigonometry, and finally calculus.  Perhaps not everything has to be done in quite the same order, but it would be hard to study calculus without first knowing how to add.

Perhaps the scientific method and the development of engineering is similar.  So much is based on, and requires previous work to build something new.  Try as much as he could, Leonardo couldn't quite get powered flight down.  It first required the invention of the steam engine a century or two later, then another century for the invention of the internal combustion engine.  Then another half a century of development, and the Wright Brothers used a small gas engine to power their first plane.  A bit more than a half century more, and jets replaced prop planes...  and etc.

What you said refers to some view regarding some of  the   historic accumulated human knowledge ,skills , experiences ....throughout the history of mankind ,at both the individual and collective levels ,which do undergo some sort of evolution , progress and growth indeed.

But , i  am mainly talking about different categories of evolution though, and whether we can or not apply those mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection to cultures,religions,  economics , society, politics, thought, human consciousness , ethics  .... : see my post here above on the matter as a reply to the post of our friend here above  .

Important notice and warning from history : we should be very careful in trying to apply ,if ever , the mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection to human races,cultures, religions ,societies ....as history taught us : that's a very dangerous mine field :  i am referring to those despicable and refuted racist Eugenics theories and also to social Darwinism  for example , as well .

The nazis did also justify their persecution of jews via social darwinism, eugenics ...so: be careful .


Second : See how the evolution of human epistemology and of religions had finally given birth to the scientific method as such : see "What's the real origin of the scientific method ?" thread  of mine in general science forum in this site by the way ,

See those fascinating top docus here above regarding the maths of chaos and how they proved the fact , among other things , that absolute predictability or absolute determinism are history .

In other words : we should be able to absolutely predict social, cultural, ethical, political, religious or spiritual  , intellectual, psychological ....evolutions , if we apply to them those mechanical deterministic mechanisms of the biological  evolution via the natural selection ,but modern maths of chaos had kissed absolute predictability and absolute determinism goodbye as those above mentioned top docus proved ,so.

 



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Offline DonQuichotte

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Well ,folks ?

What do you think about the above ?

And what do you think about the fact , for example, that materialist scientists such as Richard Dawkins and co . do try to apply the mechanical deterministic material mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection to religions and spirituality , to cultures, ethics, society , politics, economics ,to human consciousness  .....?

Thanks, appreciate indeed

Take care
« Last Edit: 21/08/2013 20:47:53 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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I just think that both the biological evolution and the other kinds of evolutions : economic, intellectual, cultural, political, spiritual ,....are 2 different categories of evolution which occur at different levels and with other different set of "rules" : so, we cannot just copy and apply biological evolution to the non-biological evolutionary processes ,otherwise that would be just like confusing 2 different categories of evolution with each other ,otherwise we should be able to predict social, cultural, economic, political , ethical , ....developments with total accuracy , if we take into consideration the very  mechanical  deterministic nature of the biological evolution we would apply to those  different  human areas :



Well,  the mechanism is very different. There is conscious design or at least guess work in marketing a product. Natural selection involves random mutations that may or may not be beneficial.

And I'm not sure I would call biology completely deterministic or predictable. It could be argued that if you "re-started" the Earth with the exact same chemical conditions, you might not end up with the same kinds and numbers of species that exist today. There is no proof that an octopus or an aardvark exists because it had to. The weird variety of life that exists or has ever existed on Earth seems to suggest that many biological outcomes were possible. Maybe there's no way way to prove that either. But I would say that evolution is not necessarily more predictable than political, economic, or social events.
« Last Edit: 21/08/2013 00:41:12 by cheryl j »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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 author=cheryl j link=topic=48671.msg416612#msg416612 date=1377041873]
I just think that both the biological evolution and the other kinds of evolutions : economic, intellectual, cultural, political, spiritual ,....are 2 different categories of evolution which occur at different levels and with other different set of "rules" : so, we cannot just copy and apply biological evolution to the non-biological evolutionary processes ,otherwise that would be just like confusing 2 different categories of evolution with each other ,otherwise we should be able to predict social, cultural, economic, political , ethical , ....developments with total accuracy , if we take into consideration the very  mechanical  deterministic nature of the biological evolution we would apply to those  different  human areas
.
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Quote from : Cheryl :Well,  the mechanism is very different. There is conscious design or at least guess work in marketing a product. Natural selection involves random mutations that may or may not be beneficial.

Materialistic evolutionists consider the following as a "fact " they have never been able to prove it to be true as such though  : that human consciousness was just the product of the evolutionary complexity of the human brain = the evolved brain created consciousness = emergent property theory : that 's why they justify that "fact" that they can apply those mechanisms of the biological evolution to economics, religions, cultures, intellect , politics ....

What do you think about that evolutionary biological genetic approach of society, cultures, consciousness, ethics, politics, economics ...?

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And I'm not sure I would call biology completely deterministic or predictable. It could be argued that if you "re-started" the Earth with the exact same chemical conditions, you might not end up with the same kinds and numbers of species that exist today. There is no proof that an octopus or an aardvark exists because it had to. The weird variety of life that exists or has ever existed on Earth seems to suggest that many biological outcomes were possible. Maybe there's no way way to prove that either. But I would say that evolution is not necessarily more predictable than political, economic, or social events.

Materialistic evolutionists , especially some mathematicians , think they can predict everything , considering the alleged deterministic mechanical nature of the universe :

That mechanical deterministic Newtonian-Cartesian  paradigm in science is history though , as my above mentioned links show concerning the maths of chaos ...

But , many materialists just stick to that outdated and largely refuted mechanical deterministic world view : they cannot do otherwise in fact , considering the very mechanical deterministic nature of materialism itself by the way .
Darwin's theory of evolution is all about the mechanical deterministic "blind ", random, purposeless, ...nature of the biological evolution also  ,so, in the sense that any mechanisms of evolution can only repeat themselves in their corresponding environment factors ,exactly like programmed software in a programmed computer .

What do you think about all that ?

Thanks, appreciate indeed

Kind regards
« Last Edit: 21/08/2013 17:23:27 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline grizelda

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The "corresponding environment factors" include geological states which incorporate chaotic behaviors (plate tectonics, volcanism ...). The species which evolve are those that are successful, and they compete with other successful species for the available resources. You couldn't reproduce the results if you tried; ergo - natural selection.

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Offline alancalverd

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A depressingly common fallacy is that there is a "theory of evolution". Evolution is an observation that things change with time. There are many theories that purport to explain how a particular evolution occurred but the only common thread in biology is that there is a random element in genetics, and some variants are better adapted than others to survive and prosper in a particular ecological niche. Indeed Darwin said so, and no more than that. Since the biological environment is itself partly biological, interactive, bounded, and significantly unpredictable, there is no usefully predictive theory of biological evolution.     

Human systems, in contrast, are mostly depressingly predictable. Unfortunately economists, politicians and generals, the very people whose predictions affect our welfare and happiness, are supremely incompetent at prediction - or indeed anything else, for the most part. 
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Offline DonQuichotte

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The "corresponding environment factors" include geological states which incorporate chaotic behaviors (plate tectonics, volcanism ...). The species which evolve are those that are successful, and they compete with other successful species for the available resources. You couldn't reproduce the results if you tried; ergo - natural selection.

yeah, ok : deterministic mechanical biological evolution in the sense that certain mutations , evolution ...can take only place under certain circumstances ...and not under others ...

P.S.: I do not buy that "random " ,"blind " ..character of evolution ,simply because that makes no sense , not even in maths .

There are  no such things such as random, coincidence, accident ...




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Offline DonQuichotte

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A depressingly common fallacy is that there is a "theory of evolution". Evolution is an observation that things change with time. There are many theories that purport to explain how a particular evolution occurred but the only common thread in biology is that there is a random element in genetics, and some variants are better adapted than others to survive and prosper in a particular ecological niche. Indeed Darwin said so, and no more than that. Since the biological environment is itself partly biological, interactive, bounded, and significantly unpredictable, there is no usefully predictive theory of biological evolution.   
 

There are no such things such as random , coincidence ...come on: see above .

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Human systems, in contrast, are mostly depressingly predictable. Unfortunately economists, politicians and generals, the very people whose predictions affect our welfare and happiness, are supremely incompetent at prediction - or indeed anything else, for the most part.

"Human systems", as you put it , or social,economic, ethical, political ,cultural...developments are not absolutely predictable ,come on : the theory of chaos had kissed that absolute and outdated predictability and determinism goodbye ...
« Last Edit: 21/08/2013 21:00:07 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline alancalverd

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I strongly advise you to understand the meaning of "random" before dabbling in science.

31415 is not a random sequence: it is the digits of pi, and the next digit is entirely predictable if you know the source.

31415 is a random sequence: it is the throws of a die and the next digit can be any number from 1 to 6, if you know the source.
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Offline dlorde

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..the theory of chaos had kissed that absolute and outdated predictability and determinism goodbye ...
Not quite - chaos theory involves systems that are deterministic but not predictable.

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Offline DonQuichotte

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..the theory of chaos had kissed that absolute and outdated predictability and determinism goodbye ...
Not quite - chaos theory involves systems that are deterministic but not predictable.

Did you watch "High anxieties-the mathematics of chaos " from topdocumentaryfilms.com docu i provided you with in the other thread ?

Why don't you tell me also ,while you are at it, how on earth can the mechanisms of the biological evolution be applied to the non-biological evolution ...absolutely ?
« Last Edit: 23/08/2013 20:49:47 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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I strongly advise you to understand the meaning of "random" before dabbling in science.

31415 is not a random sequence: it is the digits of pi, and the next digit is entirely predictable if you know the source.

31415 is a random sequence: it is the throws of a die and the next digit can be any number from 1 to 6, if you know the source.

Ho, ho, hold your wild horses ,cowboy :

I talked about random as something "outside " of the existing variables, which therefore cannot exist thus

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Offline alancalverd

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What, then, is your definition of "random"? It's a common word in science and mathematics, but you assert it is meaningless or at least not realised.
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Offline dlorde

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Did you watch "High anxieties-the mathematics of chaos " from topdocumentaryfilms.com docu i provided you with in the other thread ?
Yup; I saw that one, and several others, a while ago (about 5 years ago). The books will give you more detail - I recommend 'Chaos' by James Gleick, 'Complexity' by M. Mitchell Waldrop, and 'The Jungles of Randomness' by Ivars Peterson for a rounded coverage of the field - although I hear Mandelbrot's 'Fractals and Chaos' is pretty good, and he is the original source... 

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Why don't you tell me also ,while you are at it, how on earth can the mechanisms of the biological evolution be applied to the non-biological evolution ...absolutely ?
The biological mechanisms of ENS can't be applied (not directly, anyhow), but the underlying principle - replication with variation followed by selection; rinse & repeat - can be seen in many areas where change over time is characteristic; e.g. manufacturing, music, philosophy, software, even science itself. Not sure what you meant by 'absolutely'.

BTW, quantum mechanics contradicts your assertion that, "There are no such things such as random , coincidence ...". Radioactive decay is the canonical example of randomness, and coincidence is just two independent events occurring at roughly the same time or place.
« Last Edit: 24/08/2013 00:04:22 by dlorde »

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Offline cheryl j

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Why don't you tell me also ,while you are at it, how on earth can the mechanisms of the biological evolution be applied to the non-biological evolution ...absolutely ?

I'd be interested to know where you draw the line between biological and non biological. Culture and history and economics are the result of human interactions and behavior, and human beings are animals. Therefore, they are in that respect biological phenomena, however complex and unpredictable.

For some reason this topic made me think of a CBC radio segment about whether or not scientists should try to bring back extinct species like the wooly mammoth. Regardless of the answer to that question, it's really quite bizarre to contemplate in terms of evolution - one species going extinct and another species evolving with a big enough brain and the ability and motivation to extract its DNA and bring that species back into existence.
« Last Edit: 24/08/2013 03:31:41 by cheryl j »

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Offline alancalverd

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Culture, history, economics, politics, call it what you like, they are manifestations of the product of individual biological need to optimise, exploit and dominate the local environment, convoluted with the herd requirement to collaborate.

For a simpler example, consider small cats, which live and hunt alone, and dogs, which survive better through pack hunting. If you herd a few cats together they may establish a dominance structure, but they won't collaborate.  The social order of a dog pack is complex, evolving, and task-dependent, just like apes: the alpha male may intervene in disputes but tactical decisions are taken by those best suited to the task.

Where herds are purely defensive (deer, chickens...) the internal social order is less fluid and the role of the alpha male becomes more of a president than a chairman.

Regrettably, British society seems to be moving towards the chicken model, dominated by cats.   
« Last Edit: 24/08/2013 06:48:43 by alancalverd »
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Offline DonQuichotte

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Why don't you tell me also ,while you are at it, how on earth can the mechanisms of the biological evolution be applied to the non-biological evolution ...absolutely ?

I'd be interested to know where you draw the line between biological and non biological. Culture and history and economics are the result of human interactions and behavior, and human beings are animals. Therefore, they are in that respect biological phenomena, however complex and unpredictable.

You did not respond to my question though , even though you were  trying to sort of reduce man to just biological processes :
It's much easier  to say that there is actually no line to draw between biological or non-biological processes , then to try actually to draw that  existing  line .
How , on earth, and once again , could those biological processes give rise to the human non-biological ones then ?
I do not agree with this exclusive biological approach of man via the natural selection ,simply because Darwin's theory of evolution via the natural selection is exclusively biological : why , on earth , is it extended to human non-biological processes which occur at different levels and with different set of rules = human biological evolution and the human non-biological evolution are 2 different things though .
It's pretty obvious that there is a line we can draw between biological and non-biological processes such as : culture, spirituality, ethics and morality , politics , economics ...

The human biological and human non-biological processes are 2 different categories of evolution which do therefore occur at different  levels and via different set of rules = we are not just biological processes = we are not just animals , to put it simply .

Non-human  living organisms do seem to have some forms of "culture" in the shape of some primitive "development of tools " , some sort of primitive "societies "  ,some sort of 'ethics " .....but they cannot be compared to the human ones, not even remotely close = we are unique in that and other sense thus , despite what  materialistic scientists mainly try to prove .

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For some reason this topic made me think of a CBC radio segment about whether or not scientists should try to bring back extinct species like the wooly mammoth. Regardless of the answer to that question, it's really quite bizarre to contemplate in terms of evolution - one species going extinct and another species evolving with a big enough brain and the ability and motivation to extract its DNA and bring that species back into existence
.

When scientists will be able to do just that , if ever , then we will talk about that .

I do not think that extinct species can be brought back to life again , just via their DNA though : there is much more to them also than just DNA .

But then again, who knows , i might be wrong , i just think i am not .

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Did you watch "High anxieties-the mathematics of chaos " from topdocumentaryfilms.com docu i provided you with in the other thread ?
Yup; I saw that one, and several others, a while ago (about 5 years ago). The books will give you more detail - I recommend 'Chaos' by James Gleick, 'Complexity' by M. Mitchell Waldrop, and 'The Jungles of Randomness' by Ivars Peterson for a rounded coverage of the field - although I hear Mandelbrot's 'Fractals and Chaos' is pretty good, and he is the original source...


Ok, i should learn about that as well .Thanks .I am not expert on that either .

I just think of randomness as something coming out of the blue, from "outside " of the existing variables  ...though= cannot therefore exist as such .

The very concept of the theory of chaos or butterfly effect exclude absolute determinism or absolute predictability in the universe,not to mention that they ,per definition, exclude any so-called theory of everything as well  : i thought the biological evolution and therefore applying the mechanisms of the biological evolution to the non-biological ones absolutely is total non-sense , the more when we acknowledge the fact that even biological evolution itself via the natural selection is unpredictable and non-deterministic,so .

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Why don't you tell me also ,while you are at it, how on earth can the mechanisms of the biological evolution be applied to the non-biological evolution ...absolutely ?
The biological mechanisms of ENS can't be applied (not directly, anyhow), but the underlying principle - replication with variation followed by selection; rinse & repeat - can be seen in many areas where change over time is characteristic; e.g. manufacturing, music, philosophy, software, even science itself. Not sure what you meant by 'absolutely'.

BTW, quantum mechanics contradicts your assertion that, "There are no such things such as random , coincidence ...". Radioactive decay is the canonical example of randomness, and coincidence is just two independent events occurring at roughly the same time or place.

There are indeed some common underlying principles between biological and non-biological processes , but there is no reason to apply those biological mechanisms to the non-biological ones ...absolutely , once again .

I mean thus by absolutely : always and without any restriction= without pre-conditions  .

Therefore,it makes no sense whatsoever  thus  to apply those mechanisms of the biological evolution to the non-biological processes , just because they both  happen to share some common underlying principles : Get it ?

Biological and non-biological processes  of man at least are 2 different categories of processes , which do occur at different levels via different set of rules , even though they seem to share some common underlying processes ;

Otherwise , just tell me what "governs " or how is human thought , behavior , consciousness, feelings , emotions , ethics , politics , economics,art , literature , imagination , intuition ,history ,cultures, religions, thoughtstreams  ....are "governed " by the exact same mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection ...as some lunatics such as Dawkins and co. seem to think it is the case,in the absolute above mentioned sense  .




« Last Edit: 28/08/2013 19:58:48 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Dear folks :

I was referring to just that mainstream materialistic biological genetic approach of human evolution via the natural selection that's been applied to the non-biological processes such as cultures, religions,societies,  ethics ,politics, economics ...by Dawkins and co ,which does make no sense to me .

That exclusive biological genetic approach of cultures, religions, societies, ethics , economics, politics ...is simply incorrect and appaling , if we take into consideration its historic antecedents in the form of Eugenics applied to races, social Darwinism ...

History repeats itself , in the hands of  Dawkins and co . in relation to that exclusive biological genetic evolutionary approach of religions, cultures, ethics ....

Dawkins and co. whose exclusive biological genetic so-called evolutionary approaches of cultures, religions, ethics , societies ....give rise to some social,cultural anthropological , economic political , ethical ... theories which remind me of those previous appaling and racist destructive Eugenics and social Darwinism , in different forms ...

Don't you see what i am talking about here  ?

Don't you see that the mainstream science represented by Dawkins and co. at least  in that regard can lead to similar outcomes in relation to religions, ethics, societies, cultures, politics, economics ....almost exactly in the same fashion those racist Eugenics and social darwinism in the past did in relation to human races, societies, cultures ...?


That's my core point mainly .

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Offline dlorde

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I just think of randomness as something coming out of the blue, from "outside " of the existing variables  ...though= cannot therefore exist as such .
Randomness has a variety of definitions, none entirely satisfactory; in physics it generally means non-deterministic, and this is to do with lack of causal knowledge of the outcome of an event. In general, the outcome of a random event belongs to a known class of possible outcomes, but the specific element of the class of the outcome is not known for certain ahead of time.

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The very concept of the theory of chaos or butterfly effect exclude absolute determinism or absolute predictability in the universe
Not so. As I said before, the essential and striking feature of chaos theory is that unpredictable chaos can emerge from deterministic processes, including mathematical functions, e.g. the Lorentz Attractor (you can't get much more deterministic than maths).

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There are indeed some common underlying principles between biological and non-biological processes , but there is no reason to apply those biological mechanisms to the non-biological ones ...absolutely , once again .

Therefore,it makes no sense whatsoever  thus  to apply those mechanisms of the biological evolution to the non-biological processes , just because they both  happen to share some common underlying principles : Get it ?

.. just tell me what "governs " or how is human thought , behavior , consciousness, feelings , emotions , ethics , politics , economics,art , literature , imagination , intuition ,history ,cultures, religions, thoughtstreams  ....are "governed " by the exact same mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection ...as some lunatics such as Dawkins and co. seem to think it is the case,in the absolute above mentioned sense  .
It seems to me that all they're saying is that repeated cycles of replication with variation and selection is a common and recognisable theme across a broad swathe of human activity.

Having said that, there are a number of speculative ideas of 'Social Darwinism', where some attempts have been made to directly apply evolutionary theories to sociology, or economics, or politics, etc., in terms of group competition, and so-on; but as I understand it, although the analogy can be drawn in some particular circumstances or instances, there's no persuasive evidence that it is a reliable description of the way these systems behave. If this is what you're referring to, then as far as I'm aware, the mainstream never took it seriously and has moved on - I believe these ideas are generally thought to be discredited.
« Last Edit: 29/08/2013 01:05:10 by dlorde »

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Offline cheryl j

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You did not respond to my question though , even though you were  trying to sort of reduce man to just biological processes :
It's much easier  to say that there is actually no line to draw between biological or non-biological processes , then to try actually to draw that  existing  line .
How , on earth, and once again , could those biological processes give rise to the human non-biological ones then ?
I do not agree with this exclusive biological approach of man via the natural selection ,simply because Darwin's theory of evolution via the natural selection is exclusively biological : why , on earth , is it extended to human non-biological processes which occur at different levels and with different set of rules = human biological evolution and the human non-biological evolution are 2 different things though .
It's pretty obvious that there is a line we can draw between biological and non-biological processes such as : culture, spirituality, ethics and morality , politics , economics ...



Well, once again, human beings are animals. You cannot call our behavior -culture, economics, even spirituality or art - "non biological". It may be complex and unpredictable, and even awesome,  but is just as biological as the migration of birds or the mating habits of moose or the societies of ants or baboons. If human beings are "more than" biological, then I think the onus is on you to tell me what the "more than" is - what it consists of, where it comes from, and how it operates. When I say that, I am not trying to be a smart ass here, but there is no way to scientifically address your question unless you can explain or describe the "more than" biological aspect of human behavior.
« Last Edit: 29/08/2013 03:46:37 by cheryl j »

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Offline dlorde

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Dawkins and co. whose exclusive biological genetic so-called evolutionary approaches of cultures, religions, ethics , societies ....give rise to some social,cultural anthropological , economic political , ethical ... theories which remind me of those previous appaling and racist destructive Eugenics and social Darwinism , in different forms ...

Don't you see what i am talking about here  ?

Not really, no. It seems to me that you're confusing the concepts with their applications. Both concepts in this case are flawed - Social Darwinism doesn't seem to describe how social processes work, and eugenics has ethical and practical flaws (it's not inherently racist - that depends on how it is applied). I can see that it is possible to use Social Darwinism as part of an argument for eugenics, but it's also possible to use a knife to stab someone or religion as an argument for war - it's the misapplication of ideas or tools that is the danger.

As far as I can see, Dawkins & co are not advocating either Social Darwinism (except, perhaps, by analogy) or eugenics; see his response to the accusation here. How ideas are applied and abused is the issue - for example, both Islam and Christianity have some admirable underlying principles, but both have been used to justify atrocities.

Perhaps you'd like to make an argument to support or explain your assertions?
« Last Edit: 29/08/2013 09:51:44 by dlorde »

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Offline alancalverd

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I deplore the term social Darwinism. It is insulting to a good scientist, misleading to the sort of people who discuss it, and an oxymoron cloaked in the fatuous babble of sociology.

Darwinism is an observation, not a policy.

If you want a name for a policy of eliminating nonconformity, call it Nazism, Catholicism, Islam, Maoism, Eugenics, whatever seems closest to the chosen objective and methods. Darwinian evolution has no objective, and the method is inherent in all living organisms. 
« Last Edit: 29/08/2013 12:02:49 by alancalverd »
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Offline DonQuichotte

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I deplore the term social Darwinism. It is insulting to a good scientist, misleading to the sort of people who discuss it, and an oxymoron cloaked in the fatuous babble of sociology.

Darwinism is an observation, not a policy.

If you want a name for a policy of eliminating nonconformity, call it Nazism, Catholicism, Islam, Maoism, Eugenics, whatever seems closest to the chosen objective and methods. Darwinian evolution has no objective, and the method is inherent in all living organisms.

You cannot just deny the historic existence of social Darwinism though ,as a despicable historic misuse or misinterpretation of Darwin's theory of evolution ? Can you ?

Eugenics and social darwinism were in fact serious and real warnings enough from history to make any decent intelligent scientist think a million times before trying to apply biological mechanisms of evolution via the natural selection to the non-biological processes such as religions spirituality, cultures, ethics ,societies, politics, economics ....even though both the biological and the non-biological processes do have some common underlying principles they share with each other .
« Last Edit: 29/08/2013 22:12:13 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline alancalverd

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I cannot deny that most evil people claim that their actions are inevitable, predestined, commanded by a higher authority, or simply misunderstood.

I do deny that Darwin had a "theory of evolution". He simply reported the observation that things evolve, along with the tautological statement that winners do better than losers. We are now beginning to understand the mechanism of random mutations that allow evolution. This is precisely opposite to the absurd hypothesis of predestination that underlies the cynical rebranding of intentional mass murder as "social Darwinism".

There are no common features between evolution and repression or genocide. Only a moron or a politician could think otherwise.       
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Offline cheryl j

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When I took philosophy many eons ago, the professor discussed several kinds of fallacies of logic, and one of them was called the "naturalistic fallacy" which is the assumption that just because something is natural, it is also good.

Even if one observes "survival of the fittest" operating in human societies, that does not morally justify not caring for the sick and elderly, it does not justify murdering or causing pain and suffering to those who are deemed less physically fit or less intelligent or less capable in some way. As Alancalverd pointed out, the difference between Darwinism and Social Darwinism is that Social Darwinism was a policy. It was a policy based on a naturalistic fallacy.

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Dawkins and co. whose exclusive biological genetic so-called evolutionary approaches of cultures, religions, ethics , societies ....give rise to some social,cultural anthropological , economic political , ethical ... theories which remind me of those previous appaling and racist destructive Eugenics and social Darwinism , in different forms ...

Don't you see what i am talking about here  ?

Not really, no. It seems to me that you're confusing the concepts with their applications. Both concepts in this case are flawed - Social Darwinism doesn't seem to describe how social processes work, and eugenics has ethical and practical flaws (it's not inherently racist - that depends on how it is applied). I can see that it is possible to use Social Darwinism as part of an argument for eugenics, but it's also possible to use a knife to stab someone or religion as an argument for war - it's the misapplication of ideas or tools that is the danger.

As far as I can see, Dawkins & co are not advocating either Social Darwinism (except, perhaps, by analogy) or eugenics; see his response to the accusation here. How ideas are applied and abused is the issue - for example, both Islam and Christianity have some admirable underlying principles, but both have been used to justify atrocities.

Perhaps you'd like to make an argument to support or explain your assertions?

You do not seem to get my point :

I know that Eugenics, social darwinism in the past were just despicable misinterpretations of Darwin's theory of evolution .

What i meant was  just that i am afraid that approaching   cultures, societies, religions or spirituality , politics, ethics, economics, consciousness, feelings , emotions ..via that exclusive so-called evolutionary biological genetic perspective by Dawkins and co. mainly might result in similar outcomes, similar to those  of  Eugenics and social darwinism in the past .
Get that ?
« Last Edit: 30/08/2013 19:05:57 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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When I took philosophy many eons ago, the professor discussed several kinds of fallacies of logic, and one of them was called the "naturalistic fallacy" which is the assumption that just because something is natural, it is also good.

Even if one observes "survival of the fittest" operating in human societies, that does not morally justify not caring for the sick and elderly, it does not justify murdering or causing pain and suffering to those who are deemed less physically fit or less intelligent or less capable in some way. As Alancalverd pointed out, the difference between Darwinism and Social Darwinism is that Social Darwinism was a policy. It was a policy based on a naturalistic fallacy.

I see Eugenics and social darwinism in the past as very dangerous misinterpretations of Darwin's theory of evolution though .
Dawkins and co.mainly can trigger similar outcomes ,similar to those of the previous Eugenics and social darwinism , simply because they have been approaching cultures, ethics, religions or spirituality , societies , consciousness ....exclusively via the so-called evolutionary  biological genetic approach

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Offline DonQuichotte

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I cannot deny that most evil people claim that their actions are inevitable, predestined, commanded by a higher authority, or simply misunderstood.

I do deny that Darwin had a "theory of evolution". He simply reported the observation that things evolve, along with the tautological statement that winners do better than losers. We are now beginning to understand the mechanism of random mutations that allow evolution. This is precisely opposite to the absurd hypothesis of predestination that underlies the cynical rebranding of intentional mass murder as "social Darwinism".

There are no common features between evolution and repression or genocide. Only a moron or a politician could think otherwise.     

We are not talking about that, that's not the subject  of this discussion at least  : you are missing the point :

I just said that the exclusive so-called evolutionary biological genetic approach of cultures, religions, or spirituality , societies ....by Dawkins and co, mainly , might result in similar outcomes , similar to those of Eugenics and social darwinism in the past .

Besides, biological and the non-biological evolutions are 2 different things ,which occur at different levels via different set of "rules " ,once again : so, that exclusive materialistic approach of life in general as just biological processes is not only very dangerous , but also incorrect : that materialistic approach has more to do with materialism as a world view than with science proper .

Comprende,amigo ?



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Offline DonQuichotte

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Quote :

"The theory of evolution ,however, has brought despair & anxiety , instead of hope & enthusiasm for life , to the modern world .

The reason is to be found in the unwarranted modern assumption that man's present structure , mental as well as physiological , is the last word in biological evolution , and that death , regarded as a biological event , has no constructive meaning .

The world of today needs a Rumi to create an attitude of hope , and to kindle the fire of enthusiasm for life .

His inimitable lines may be quoted here ;

First man appeared in the class of inorganic things,

Next , he passed therefrom into that of plants ,

For years , he lived as one of the plants ,

Remembering naught of his inorganic state so different

And when he passed from the vegetive to the animal state

he had no remembrance of his state as a plant

Except the inclination he felt to the world of plants

Especially at the time of spring & sweet flowers

Like the inclination of infants to towards their mothers

which know not the cause of their inclination to the breast.

Again the great creator ,as you know

Drew man man out of the animal into the human state

Thus man passed from one order of nature to another..."

........... End quote .


Source : The reconstruction of religious thought in islam by Muhammad Iqbal

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Offline alancalverd

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For as long as you think that evolution has rules, you will fail to understand it.

The "assumption that man is the last word in evolution" comes from religion, not science. There is no material evidence to suggest it, only the vanity of fools and their demagogues. Other species have evolved since homo sapiens appeared, and we have no reason to believe that another species cannot evolve within our own genus.
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Offline cheryl j

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I cannot deny that most evil people claim that their actions are inevitable, predestined, commanded by a higher authority, or simply misunderstood.

I do deny that Darwin had a "theory of evolution". He simply reported the observation that things evolve, along with the tautological statement that winners do better than losers. We are now beginning to understand the mechanism of random mutations that allow evolution. This is precisely opposite to the absurd hypothesis of predestination that underlies the cynical rebranding of intentional mass murder as "social Darwinism".

There are no common features between evolution and repression or genocide. Only a moron or a politician could think otherwise.     

We are not talking about that, that's not the subject  of this discussion at least  : you are missing the point :

I just said that the exclusive so-called evolutionary biological genetic approach of cultures, religions, or spirituality , societies ....by Dawkins and co, mainly , might result in similar outcomes , similar to those of Eugenics and social darwinism in the past .

Besides, biological and the non-biological evolutions are 2 different things ,which occur at different levels via different set of "rules " ,once again : so, that exclusive materialistic approach of life in general as just biological processes is not only very dangerous , but also incorrect : that materialistic approach has more to do with materialism as a world view than with science proper .

Comprende,amigo ?




I don't think he's missing the point at all, and I'm not sure how he could have stated his answer any more clearly or directly.

Blaming Darwinism for Eugenics is like blaming physics for nuclear weapons. This is essentially a medieval view,  the idea that knowledge is dangerous because of how it might be used or influence people. And morally, it shifts responsibility from the person to an inanimate object  - "if the knife hadn't been there, I wouldn't have stabbed him." Objects cannot act as moral agents.
« Last Edit: 31/08/2013 18:40:23 by cheryl j »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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For as long as you think that evolution has rules, you will fail to understand it.

The "assumption that man is the last word in evolution" comes from religion, not science. There is no material evidence to suggest it, only the vanity of fools and their demagogues. Other species have evolved since homo sapiens appeared, and we have no reason to believe that another species cannot evolve within our own genus.

That's why i confined "rules " to that .

Second : the man wrote that in the 1930's-1935's , i guess : he was just the man of his age : eugenics and social darwinism in prior periods to his were even worse ...

Third > i just wanted to post those lines of Rumi about evolution ...that's all .

P.S.: It's mainly thanks to the evolutionary spirit of islam that early muslims did discover evolution, centuries before Darwin was even born , as they were able to "invent " science itself and practice it as well , thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology , science as a religious duty in islam, as a form of worship of God in islam at least ...see that other thread on the subject you happened to participate in , ironically enough , in order to try to cure yourself from those silly stereotypes of yours concerning religion , or concerning just islam in this case then .
Good luck undeed..

« Last Edit: 31/08/2013 20:44:44 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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I cannot deny that most evil people claim that their actions are inevitable, predestined, commanded by a higher authority, or simply misunderstood.

I do deny that Darwin had a "theory of evolution". He simply reported the observation that things evolve, along with the tautological statement that winners do better than losers. We are now beginning to understand the mechanism of random mutations that allow evolution. This is precisely opposite to the absurd hypothesis of predestination that underlies the cynical rebranding of intentional mass murder as "social Darwinism".

There are no common features between evolution and repression or genocide. Only a moron or a politician could think otherwise.     

We are not talking about that, that's not the subject  of this discussion at least  : you are missing the point :

I just said that the exclusive so-called evolutionary biological genetic approach of cultures, religions, or spirituality , societies ....by Dawkins and co, mainly , might result in similar outcomes , similar to those of Eugenics and social darwinism in the past .

Besides, biological and the non-biological evolutions are 2 different things ,which occur at different levels via different set of "rules " ,once again : so, that exclusive materialistic approach of life in general as just biological processes is not only very dangerous , but also incorrect : that materialistic approach has more to do with materialism as a world view than with science proper .

Comprende,amigo ?




I don't think he's missing the point at all, and I'm not sure how he could have stated his answer any more clearly or directly.

Blaming Darwinism for Eugenics is like blaming physics for nuclear weapons. This is essentially a medieval view,  the idea that knowledge is dangerous because of how it might be used or influence people. And morally, it shifts responsibility from the person to an inanimate object  - "if the knife hadn't been there, I wouldn't have stabbed him." Objects cannot act as moral agents.
[/quote]

Halloo : i was certainly not blaming darwinism for eugenics and social darwinism : where did you detetct that? , i wonder .
You are putting words in my mouth i can neither taste nor swallow , let alone that they would be mine .
I just said that the current misinterpretations of the biological evolution by Dawkins and co might result in similar outcomes to those of the other previous misnterpretations of evolutions by the "makers "  of eugenics and social darwinism : see the differense ? hope so indeed .

Besides, i used the word dangerous relating certainly not to knowledge , but only to those previous eugenics , social darwinism and to the current Dawkinian and co misinterpretations of evolution : get  my point ? I think you are intelligent enough to grasp just that , aren't you ?
« Last Edit: 31/08/2013 20:48:00 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline alancalverd

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It would be a brave man or a fool who asserts that Dawkins misinterprets evolution.

Assuming you are a brave man, perhaps you could enlighten us (and Prof Dawkins) as to the detail of his error?
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Offline DonQuichotte

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It would be a brave man or a fool who asserts that Dawkins misinterprets evolution.

Assuming you are a brave man, perhaps you could enlighten us (and Prof Dawkins) as to the detail of his error?

Dawkins is just a man of his time , and just a product of his materialism as a world view in science , and a product of his own culture , relatively speaking : he's not superman : only very very very few geniuses are able to rise above their own world views , above their social ,mental and cultural constructs indeed.
I am not talking about Dawkins' purely scientific work , i do appreciate and learn a lot from , i am maninly talking about his interpretations of that scientific work of his and of others , about the fact when he crosses the boundaries of science , and especially when he applies his so-called evolutionary biological genetic approach to religions spirituality, ethics , cultures , ....

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Offline alancalverd

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We seem to be approaching an answer, for a change. Can you take that big leap and give just one concrete example of where Dawkins has misinterpreted evolution? Remember that evolution is an observation of change, so what we are looking for is a change in, say, a religion, that Dawkins has reported incorrectly or ascribed to some supernatural force.
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Offline DonQuichotte

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We seem to be approaching an answer, for a change. Can you take that big leap and give just one concrete example of where Dawkins has misinterpreted evolution? Remember that evolution is an observation of change, so what we are looking for is a change in, say, a religion, that Dawkins has reported incorrectly or ascribed to some supernatural force.

Well,ok,this is a wide open  issue as wide and big as the US Grand Canyon , i will give you just this one relatively detailed example in the form of the main contents of  a certain book of Dawkins  ,or what i can recall from it at least , because i read that book of his some time ago , for the time being then : that's more than enough :

In his "Selfish Gene " (Dawkins tried in that book of his to apply his so-called evolutionary genetic social theory  to altruism , for example , among other things like applying his so-called evolutionary genetic social theory  to man , life , society , culture , ethics ,religion ....in general .
Let's just talk about the notion of altruism he talked about in that book of his : he emphacised the fact , from the very beginning, that his selfish gene notion was of course just a metaphor indeed , in the sense that genes are unconscious entities  without purpose or intention motive , i agree with that , and that the notion of selfishness or altruism he used were just metaphors as well , which referred to the effects of such notions, to the apparent altruistic behavior of animals , for example, not to the actual philosophical or psychological altruism concept as a motive or intention )...........

In that book of his thus , he talked in great detail about the "fact " that the biological evolution is the only valid explanation of our origins , of man's origins , not of life's origins of course that's another subject evolution does not cover as such indeed , and that all other attempts to explain our origins (He refers here to religions mainly ) , prior to the discovery of evolution must be not only be  ignored as such, simply because they are worthless, but they must also be totally discarded .

  Then, he tried to explain what evolution is and how evolution works .


After that , he went straight to mentioning  some scientific studies of his and of of others on the subject of "altruism " ( He was only interested in the effects of altruism on the group  , in the apparanet altruistic behavior of animals though,  not in altruism as such , as a motive or intention , once again ) ...

Anyway: he mentioned those studies concerning the effects of the apparent altruistic behaviors  of animals ....on the group  , and he found out via many convincing facts about the "altruistic " behavior of  animals in that regard in their wild habitat mainly :  he mentioned also studies regarding birds , ....which "proved " the fact that the apparent altruistic behavior of  animals ....was in fact just selfishness in disguise = which means that the individual animals' ...behaviors cannot be regarded as beneficial or otherwise to the group = he disproved that way that group theory in the sense that the individual animals ....would behave for  the best interests of the whole group = they seemed to behave just in their own interests thus ...That's some sort of a phenomenological approach which is only interested in the effects of certain phenomena : but those were just interpretations of Dawkins in relation to the behaviors of animals ..., the latters can also be interpreted otherwise .

In short : he proved that that apparent altruistic behavior   of  those animals was just selfishness in disguise in fact : ok, there is nothing to say about that,except the above  : that was good scientific work indeed : fascinating even : but the interpretation of those studies  by Dawkins  is not the only "valid " one : but that was just related to the apparent altruistic behavior of animals ...not to their actual  altruistic "intentions or motives " we may never know anything about ,assuming they have ones , in the first place to begin with  .

The real problems start to rise when he applies his so-called evolutionary genetic social theory  to man : human family  , human societies  , cultures, religions, ethics ... :

 His reasoning was as follows :
We cannot absolutely say that since there is no real altruistic behavior to be found in animals , and in other non-human living species , therefore , altruism cannot be found in huamans' behavior , no , i agree with this at least  .
His argumentation was thus more like :

Since there is no real altruism to be found in animals ' behaviors ....., we can expect to find the same results at the level of  man , simply because they all were subjected to the same evolution .

Since altruism as such does not exist in nature , then it's pretty logical to assume that altruism does not exist as such at the level of man as well , simply because man also went through the same biological evolution via the natural selection and DNA : H

e then addressed man, the human family and how kids behave in relation to their parents by unconsciously black-mainling their parents in order to get awards , love ....how parents behave with their kids, how and why they invest in them for unconscious selfish reasons under the unconscious camouflage illusions of love , care   ...a long story thus which means that altruism does not exist in the behaviors , societies  or cultures ...of man as well , that that apparent altruism of man is just selfishness in disguise as well ...

Then afterwards , he applied his so-called evolutionary genetic social theory , in the sense that evolution via DNA and the natural selection shapes all living species, to ourselves , including to our religions as just survival strategies , to the apparent altruistic behavior of man ,  and to ethics , societies , cultures, intellect ...

He develops what he coined  it to be called "memes " to try to "explain " the evolution of cultures, thoughts ideas,societies, cultures  ...= "memes " as so-called units of ideas or units of thought that evolve in the same way the genetic replication via  evolution does , the gene as the biological unity of evolution by the natural selection thus ,....


He talks about the biological or neurological origin of religion , for example , and how religion came to exist that way via evolution, religion as a survival strategy  ....while saying that the biological nature of religion cannot be understood as something innate to man , not in the sense that it validates religion at least ...= as a materialist and atheist , he cannot acknolwdge the fact that man ,man's behaviors , cultures, societies, religions , ethics ....have indeed  2 sides : the biological and immaterial , he reduces them all to just biological processes.

In short :

He concluded that altruism had never existed neither in nature nor in the whole  history of mankind , and therefore we should try to develop it  in ourselves and in the next generations = a paradox = since all our evolution and behavior , thought , cultures, societies , ethics ..... are shaped by the genetic biological evolution via the natural selection, we logically have no say in that , how can we then develop something voluntarily in ourselves and in others , via our free will , if everything is determined by evolution then ? Free will has even no place in evolution :
Dawkins , as a materialist of course ,thinks that man is all about just biological genetic processes shaped by evolution ...so, he contradicts himself in many ways , when he copies the behaviors of non-human living species to man that way , an approach or so-called evolutionary genetic social theory of his which extends the biological evolution of man to man's non-biological sides of consciousness, altruism, behaviors, societies  , altruism , cultures , religions ....

He should just confine himself to the material physical biological sides of life , man ...instead of applying the mechanisms of the biological evolution to the non-material sides of the behavior, consciousness, cultures, religions, societies ...of man .

I'll talk to you about Dawkins' further misinterpretations of the biological evolution later on, after you read the above :

Deal ?
« Last Edit: 01/09/2013 20:02:38 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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So Darwinism is fine as long as we restrict our discussion to things like the pancreas, but the brain, human behavior individually and in groups, is off limits, either because it "might result in similar outcomes , similar to those of Eugenics and social darwinism in the past" or because, Darwinism simply can't, and never will be able to, fully explain these supposedly immaterial, ethereal  processes? Is that your position?

In regards to altruism, is it possible that Dawkins could have just been wrong or short sighted in his attribution of altruism to expected reciprocity, but not necessarily wrong in attempting to study it in terms of evolutionary biology? There are many human traits or behaviors which would not appear to provide much selective advantage, musical ability being one of them, yet some biologists believe they may be fortunate by-products of other cognitive functions that were selected for.In addition, there are benefits and explanations for altruism besides expected reciprocity.

The biological basis for empathy and altruism may have its roots in brain processes involved in learning. Cells called mirror neurons light up in your brain when you witness a person performing an action, as if you were actually performing that action yourself, whether lifting a teacup or throwing a baseball.  If I witness you do something that results in pain and injury, I can learn from your experience without having to injure myself, but in order to make my observation truly memorable and negatively reinforcing, I have to "feel your pain" so to speak. But the natural response to pain, ones own and perhaps others, is to try to stop it.

Another advantage to being sensitive to the emotional states of others is if I know how they feel, I can better predict what they will do, whether they will share their food with me or hit me over the head with a club.


FMRI imaging studies can demonstrate empathetic pain. Physical pain causes activity in two specific areas of the cortex. Thereís increased activity in the touch sensitive areas of the somatosensory cortex at the top of the brain, and also in a spot in the temporal region. The greater the pain, the greater the activity in both areas.   Subjects who are shown pictures of, say, a person having a car door slammed on his fingers, show no activation in the higher region Ė  which makes sense since there is clearly a difference in your body's reaction to having a car door slammed on your own hand and someone elseís - but people still show activity in the temporal pain region. Some people show this effect more than others. The greater the activity in that region on the scan, the more subjects rated the image as unpleasant or painful to view. Sociopaths have been shown to lack an automatic empathic brain response on these imaging studies.

If wanting to help others or relieve their suffering because of our empathic pain response still seems selfish to you, so be it. But Iím glad humans possess this trait, whether endowed by evolution or God.
« Last Edit: 02/09/2013 20:18:14 by cheryl j »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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So Darwinism is fine as long as we restrict our discussion to things like the pancreas, but the brain, human behavior individually and in groups, is off limits, either because it "might result in similar outcomes , similar to those of Eugenics and social darwinism in the past" or because, Darwinism simply can't, and never will be able to, fully explain these supposedly immaterial, ethereal  processes? Is that your position?

Who said that ? You are putting words in my mouth again : i see a pattern here :
Anyway: i just said that the biological genetic evolution  via the natural selection  cannot be applied to the non-biological processes of man in the absolute sense , especially not in the way Dawkins and co. do just that .
Need some examples ? Shoot.
If thoughts , feelings , love , emotions, empathy , solidarity ....consciousness ...are not immaterial , despite their biological neurological hormonal ...side or basis , then , what are they exactly ? To say that they are just biological processes is meaningless : they cannot be generated by biological processes ,no way : biological processes cannot generate but biological processes , not something entirely different ,  it's the other way around in fact = Feelings , consciousness, emotions, love ... generate those biological processes after being informed by our senses about their corresponding inputs  ,while interacting with them at the same time . i guess.
When i hear some bad news on the phone, for example , i feel sad and can ever have tears in my eyes as a result : my hearing nerves in my ear just conduct those nerve signals to my brain ,which make me , as a person, realise those sensory inputs  are "bad" (sensory inputs are neutral in fact = biologically neutral ) , which trigger my biological process that produces my tears .....= The conscious sadness feeling generates the biological process giving birth to my tears ...after the fact that my nervous system informed my consciousness of that input via my ears .

Quote
In regards to altruism, is it possible that Dawkins could have just been wrong or short sighted in his attribution of altruism to expected reciprocity, but not necessarily wrong in attempting to study it in terms of evolutionary biology? There are many human traits or behaviors which would not appear to provide much selective advantage, musical ability being one of them, yet some biologists believe they may be fortunate by-products of other cognitive functions that were selected for.In addition, there are benefits and explanations for altruism besides expected reciprocity.

Well, Dawkins and co. just push the logical limits of the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolutions to their logical ends , in almost the same fashion David Hume did just similar things in relation to the empricism of John Locke at least, as post -modernism is the logical outcome or logical limit  of modernism = different examples from different areas ,  in order to make you understand what i am saying  .

The other scientists who prefer to stand outside that Dawkins and co . club in that regard are in fact schizophrenic when it comes to the logical implications of that materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution .
Therefore, Dawkins was not making any mistakes : he was just adhering to the real materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution , by pushing it to its logical limits : the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution cannot but conclude , for example, that there is no altruism , no free will, no good or evil as such...
Regarding the latter : i am referring mainly to Spinoza's monism that was later on recuperated by materialism which gave birth to materialistic monism in modern science and elsewhere , in the sense that neither good nor evil do exist as such : what benefits us is good ,and what's not good for us is bad = good and evil exist only in this sense then = a perfectly logical assumption in evolutionary terms = utilitarianism or pragmatism= what's good for us is true , and what's bad for us ,both  in the above mentioned sense, is untrue  : good and evil do not exist as such or rather they are meaningless in evolutionary terms even thus = meaningless in the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution , to be more precize = Dawkins and co. are in fact the ones who are consistent with themselves and with their materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution thus .

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The biological basis for empathy and altruism may have its roots in brain processes involved in learning. Cells called mirror neurons light up in your brain when you witness a person performing an action, as if you were actually performing that action yourself, whether lifting a teacup or throwing a baseball.  If I witness you do something that results in pain and injury, I can learn from your experience without having to injure myself, but in order to make my observation truly memorable and negatively reinforcing, I have to "feel your pain" so to speak. But the natural response to pain, ones own and perhaps others, is to try to stop it.


Well, yeah : but if we apply only the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution to what you said ,then, it's pretty logical to assume that neither altruism, nor empathy do exist as such , let alone the rest , including pain, feelings , love , good or bad behavior, free will, consciousness ...= they are just mechanical survival strategies = just illusions , no matter how "real " they might appear to be to us  .

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Another advantage to being sensitive to the emotional states of others is if I know how they feel, I can better predict what they will do, whether they will share their food with me or hit me over the head with a club.

That's just the instinctive pragmatic utilitarianist  reading of empathy though : you have to sort of "read " your fellow humans and the environment well enough , if you wanna make efficient "decisions " based on that reading , in order to act up on them , and survive as a result .

I would share my food with you , i will not hit you on the head haha , do not worry , if my own survival does not get threatened by sharing my food with you though :
I might even share my food with you at the very expense of my own survival , if i can fully grasp and act up on the potential possibility that your survival might be more beneficial to yourself and to others as well , more than my own survival can be = that's a potential behavior the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution can never be able to explain as such , or it would just try to "rationalize " it somehow in the same way we "rationalize " or justify legetimize our bad behaviors by deceiving ourselves that way in the form of trying to find rational justifications and excuses for those bad behaviors of ours  , in order to avoid guilt , responsibilty , accountability  ...

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FMRI imaging studies can demonstrate empathetic pain. Physical pain causes activity in two specific areas of the cortex. Thereís increased activity in the touch sensitive areas of the somatosensory cortex at the top of the brain, and also in a spot in the temporal region. The greater the pain, the greater the activity in both areas.   Subjects who are shown pictures of, say, a person having a car door slammed on his fingers, show no activation in the higher region Ė  which makes sense since there is clearly a difference in your body's reaction to having a car door slammed on your own hand and someone elseís - but people still show activity in the temporal pain region. Some people show this effect more than others. The greater the activity in that region on the scan, the more subjects rated the image as unpleasant or painful to view. Sociopaths have been shown to lack an automatic empathic brain response on these imaging studies.

Ok, the interesting top docu here below shows similar findings to what you said here above , scientists studying good and bad behaviors , a certain scientist in the video will find out about his own psychopathic "nature " via a brain scan which revealed the same brain patherns psychopaths displayed , while that scientist was lucky enough not to be a psychopath on the reality ground despite that : his own environment played a big role in that :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/are-you-good-or-evil/

Look, i am aware of the neurological biological , hormonal ...basis of our behaviors , empathy , ....but thye cannot be fully explained just via that evolutionary biological neurological approach , and certainly not via that reductionistic mechanical materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution :
Take the example of someone trying to save a child from drowning in a river , sea ...by risking his / her own life , and by eventually dying in the process : what would be the materialistic so-called evolutionary explanation of that behavior ?
Matrialists would come up with perfectly rational explanations for that behavior , and might even succeed in making it fit into their own interpretation of the biological evolution , by saying , for example, that the person savior, in this case, was just being driven by his biological instinctive evolutionary empathy  he / she could not ignore or escape from : the outcome of that behavior can be maximised by the success of the person in question via his / her swimming skills , his / her efficiency and calm ...which make her / him be able to survive after rescuing the child ....but , if he /she would go down , then that would be the result of his / her miscalculations of his / her own  ability to survive such a risky attempt ...
But materialists would never say : that person savior was in fact risking his /her life regardless of the outcome ....regardless of his / her potential swimming and other survival skills ...just because he / she cannot tolerate to see a child drowning  ...

In short : the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution fails pathetically at many levels, fails to explain progress which is in fact meaningless in evolutionary terms, fails to explain love , empathy , consciousness ....and most of the rest.

Feelings, love , consciousness, empathy . .....do not only have biological , but also non-biological sides ,materialism can never fully explain, just partly interpret in accordance with its materialistic world view ...

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If wanting to help others or relieve their suffering because of our empathic pain response still seems selfish to you, so be it. But Iím glad humans possess this trait, whether endowed by evolution or God.

Right : you just put your finger on  the core issue of our discussion :

If we just accept the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution at face value , then it's pretty logical to say that empathy , love , consciousness, feelings , altruism ...are just survival strategies = just illusions in fact , not to mention the inherent intrinsic paradox or contradiction contained in those materialistic so-called evolutionary assumptions , in the sense that if the above are  all just illusions , then are therefore all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including our knowledge of evolution itself even ...empathy , love ...via our biological senses thus ,are just illusions and pragmatic survival strategies , we deceive ourselves and others in the process into believing they are real ...........while our senses just give us a representation of reality in the process in fact , our consciousness acts up on , by trying to make sense of them ...
For example , what do my own senses tell me about you ,via  just this limited   communication of ours ? They just give me a certain representation of reality , my own consciousness tries to make sense of : right or wrong .
I cannot see you , so, i cannot read your body language , for example ,which might give me some additional information about you or about what you're saying , so, i just rely on my own consciousness this limited way to make sense of you, as a person, and of your words .....my own senses cannot fully give me ....even if you were standing in front of me, in real life .

Thanks, appreciate indeed .
Take care

Kind regards

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Offline MarkPawelek

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Why then is the theory of evolution extended to cultures, societies, religions or spirituality , politics, philosophy, economics, intellect, psychology, human consciousness, ....?
If you use a term like evolution in a biology forum it means something very particular: evolution by natural selection.

When you use evolution in a political forum the term is open to many meanings because the word evolution existed before the concept of biological evolution. In this context, you can hardly even accuse the author of misusing a word.

I think people extend it because they don't really understand it.  Also, because evolution is widely accepted in science, a paper called The Evolution of Hairdressing seems to have more credibility than one called The History of Hairdressing.  I'm sure the author of the first would justify their title by claiming to write about how hairdressing had changed (aka evolved) over time.

cheryl j described it above. I think writers are falling for the "naturalistic fallacy" by misusing the word evolution (with the implication of 'evolution by natural selection').
« Last Edit: 04/09/2013 08:03:48 by MarkPawelek »

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Offline dlorde

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...But materialists would never say : that person savior was in fact risking his /her life regardless of the outcome ....regardless of his / her potential swimming and other survival skills ...just because he / she cannot tolerate to see a child drowning  ...

Of course they would; they would also answer the question of why he/she can't tolerate to see a child drowning with the evolutionary answer, kin altruism, driven by kin selection. There is a strong evolutionary drive to preserve the young, largely because, in family or tribal groups, they are the future, and they are kin - they are likely to carry your genes. Simplistically, the gene lines of groups that didn't have that protective behaviour didn't survive to the present. In the modern world, the child may not be kin, but, in general, the drive to protect is still there.

It doesn't make us robots - we feel these things emotionally, but the underlying drives are rooted deep in evolutionary history.
« Last Edit: 04/09/2013 12:03:00 by dlorde »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Why then is the theory of evolution extended to cultures, societies, religions or spirituality , politics, philosophy, economics, intellect, psychology, human consciousness, ....?
If you use a term like evolution in a biology forum it means something very particular: evolution by natural selection.

When you use evolution in a political forum the term is open to many meanings because the word evolution existed before the concept of biological evolution. In this context, you can hardly even accuse the author of misusing a word.

I think people extend it because they don't really understand it.  Also, because evolution is widely accepted in science, a paper called The Evolution of Hairdressing seems to have more credibility than one called The History of Hairdressing.  I'm sure the author of the first would justify their title by claiming to write about how hairdressing had changed (aka evolved) over time.

cheryl j described it above. I think writers are falling for the "naturalistic fallacy" by misusing the word evolution (with the implication of 'evolution by natural selection').

Well, for your info :
Dawkins and co. , plus the rest of the materialistic scientists ,philosophers such as Daniel Dennett ....do find it perfectly ok to extend the biological evolution to cultures, religions or spirituality , politics , society ...

The mainstream science do just that ...simply because science is dominated by the materialistic paradigm stating that reality is exclusively material :  that life is just a matter of biological processes ...that consciousness is therefore just a biological process  created by the brain ...

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Offline DonQuichotte

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...But materialists would never say : that person savior was in fact risking his /her life regardless of the outcome ....regardless of his / her potential swimming and other survival skills ...just because he / she cannot tolerate to see a child drowning  ...

Of course they would; they would also answer the question of why he/she can't tolerate to see a child drowning with the evolutionary answer, kin altruism, driven by kin selection. There is a strong evolutionary drive to preserve the young, largely because, in family or tribal groups, they are the future, and they are kin - they are likely to carry your genes. Simplistically, the gene lines of groups that didn't have that protective behaviour didn't survive to the present. In the modern world, the child may not be kin, but, in general, the drive to protect is still there
.

I will read that link ,later on : that's about siblings,relatives ... though .

There were 2 cases like that in Holland a decade ago, i guess, when i was living there , where 2 foreign kids  actually drowned ,because nobody tried to rescue them, even though many people were there to witness those tragedies :those  bloody immoral selfish Dutch cowards ....not to mention the famous case when UN Dutch soldiers did deliberately not protect the muslims in Srebrenica  from the Serbs ....the latter is another different example of that extremely immoral type of human selfishness ...Why didn't they get driven by that innate so-called evolutionary drive to rescue those kids and people then ?

Why should or would one try to protect a total stranger child from drowning , in the so-called evolutionary terms ? by risking one's own life and maybe by eventually dying in the process ? You tell me .

What evolutionary benefits would that serve ? protecting the next generation ? If i would try to rescue a given total stranger child from drowning , i would not do that ,in order to protect the next generation he/she might represent ...
I would do that , simply because i cannot let any kid drown , mine or that of anyoneelse for that matter,even it that would result in my own death in the process  .I was once extremely shocked by a story told by some Moroccans when i was there on  the beach: they described how a man drowned in front of many people ,and no one tried to move a single finger to rescue him ...

After the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima , i saw , on a video, the reconstruction of some horrible facts , like the one that shocked me so much when a woman deliberately let her own burning child die , by moving away from her ,while crying  : sorry , darling , i cannot help you ...I am so sorry .



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It doesn't make us robots - we feel these things emotionally, but the underlying drives are rooted deep in evolutionary history.

No,on the contrary , it does make us some sort of robots :  if we would apply that materialistic interpretation of evolution at least , we would only logically conclude that altruism, feelings , emotions, consciousness, love ....are just illusions , just built -in illusions in our systems we get fooled by , no matter how real they might ever appear to be to us .
Get real, dude .
« Last Edit: 04/09/2013 19:56:20 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline dlorde

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There were 2 cases like that in Holland a decade ago, i guess, when i was living there , where 2 foreign kids  actually drowned ,because nobody tried to rescue them, even though many people were there to witness those tragedies :those  bloody immoral selfish Dutch cowards ....not to mention the famous case when UN Dutch soldiers did deliberately not protect the muslims in Srebrenica  from the Serbs ....the latter is another different example of that extremely immoral type of human selfishness ...Why didn't they get driven by that innate so-called evolutionary drive to rescue those kids and people then ?
There are many reasons why such drives might be overridden - cultural differences (dehumanising outgroups), conflict between drives (self-preservation+fear vs altruism), group paralysis (each individual expects action from someone better able to respond), genetic & developmental human variablility affecting the strength and expression of these drives, etc., etc.

The Srebrenica was a far more complex situation than the simple urgency of a child drowning, so I wouldn't lump them together. Your simplistic judgement of the Dutch UNPROFOR troops as immoral selfish cowards seems unlikely to be applicable to more than a few of them; I doubt they all coincidentally happened to be immoral selfish cowards, or that they were selected for those traits; so it's important to understand why they behaved the way they did if we want to learn how to avoid that kind of inaction in future.

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Why should or would one try to protect a total stranger child from drowning , in the so-called evolutionary terms ? by risking one's own life and maybe by eventually dying in the process ? You tell me .
I already did.

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What evolutionary benefits would that serve ? protecting the next generation ? If i would try to rescue a given total stranger child from drowning , i would not do that ,in order to protect the next generation he/she might represent ...
I would do that , simply because i cannot let any kid drown , mine or that of anyoneelse for that matter,even it that would result in my own death in the process  .
Because you have a strong kin altruism drive. As I said, the urge to preserve can't automatically distinguish kin, it evolved when that was very likely. It can be emotionally enhanced if you (not you specifically, but people) recognise your own, or suppressed if you have identified them as other, or dehumanised them, or overridden by stronger drives. If you have time to rationalise the situation, you might behave differently.

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It doesn't make us robots - we feel these things emotionally, but the underlying drives are rooted deep in evolutionary history.
No,on the contrary , it does make us some sort of robots :  if we would apply that materialistic interpretation of evolution at least , we would only logically conclude that altruism, feelings , emotions, consciousness, love ....are just illusions , just built -in illusions in our systems we get fooled by , no matter how real they might ever appear to be to us .
Get real, dude .
Perhaps I should have qualified it as 'unfeeling robots'. Whatever, it's semantic word games; if you need to believe that materialism makes emergent phenomena illusions, then go right ahead.

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Offline cheryl j

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I read about an interesting experiment last year that demonstrated that rats would attempt to help another rat if it saw it trapped and in distress and it knew how to free it. How cute is that?
« Last Edit: 05/09/2013 01:43:41 by cheryl j »