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Different Understandings Of Evolution

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on May 31, 2002 00:22:20 UTC

Hello Harv,

>>>"I assert that what determines our 'tastes' is our predisposition to recognize and react to what the majority or leaders (e.g., the hip people) are doing."

Really?? Is this how your own tastes have been established?

In the 7th grade all my older friends were getting into a certain type of music. It was apparently the cool thing to do. Naturally, I listened to a lot of what my peers listened to, not all of which was stuff that appealed to me. Classic peer pressure.

At the same time, there was a new album out by Michael Jackson called "Off The Wall." Nationwide it was very popular, but among my peers it was taboo! Yet I still found myself attracted to it. My parents bought me the album (remember those big, black vinyl things? LOL), and I listened to it whenever possible, hiding it when friends were over. I was a closet Michael Jackson fan!

How can your model explain this and still be consistent with Occam's Razor?

>>>"evolutionary science has demonstrated that selection mechanisms are not nearly as sophisticated to spot mathematical patterns from non-mathematical patterns (for example)."

Evolutionary science doesn't say this, nor did I say this (failure to acknowledge a thesis is not the same as supporting, or even acknowledging, its antithesis). Recognizing patterns is what I claim we do through our "tastes." The inability to express them in our language of numbers is not the same thing as the inability to recognize ("spot") them.

>>>"Philosophy and science (as an extension of philosophy) ... seeks to analyze the criteria..."

I totally agree that what separates scientific study from art appreciation is the purposive quantifying of phenomena. With science and philosophy we intentionally arrive our own ”primary internalistic criteria”; with art we reach a much more complex level of the same, discovered relationships, but at an instinctive level.

>>>”These internalist criteria include making sense of the world at some fundamental level…”

“Making sense of the world” is a grand leap, but not nearly as important as recognizing and responding to patterns (surviving). By “making sense of the world” we only tell ourselves about what we already know. And while our science/language may not be a perfect match with reality (e.g., as per Godel), we have arrived at a superb way of “making sense of the world.” But currently our “internalistic criteria” can only reveal a fraction (punny) of what we already know. On an instinctive level we’ve understood the world since the dawn of man. Sloths, caterpillars, bears and cockroaches understand the world.

>>>”if certain patterns are favored because of certain (mathematical) reasons of nature, then our tastes are not directly driven by those reasons…"

I fear you should reexamine exactly what evolutionary theory states...

>>>"nature is too dumb to make such sophisticated selections. Selection is guided by the evolutionary factors that are at hand."

For instance, these last two statements are incompatible: 'dumb' is the inability to adapt to something already existent or mapped out. Evolution is nature; it is stuff moving through time. There’s no blueprint labeled “evolution” preceding evolution itself. Evolutionary theory does not require some manifest destiny, or road map laid out for the universe to hazard.

An interpretation consistent with evolutionary theory would suggest that our tastes are a result of evolution, not 'directed by' anything. Evolution is not a manner through which life proactively chooses what it should do and what it should not do in order to survive. Evolutionary theory states that life survives when it is encoded to adapt to the course of nature.

It seems your definition of evolution is life first understanding its environment and THEN adapting to it. That's not exactly what evolution says.


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