Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
In opposition to Bacon, we read a few poems by Alexander Pope criticizing man for attempting to be as knowledgeable as God about nature. In Pope's interpretation nature is an all powerful force that man should respect and work alongside of, rather than try to harness. In the main argument within Augustan thought being the importance of "right reason", Pope would have thought Bacon's views to be irrational and disrespectful. In thinking that just because something could be done, it doesn't mean one should always do it, the Augustans are asking for moderation and forethought in the endeavor for knowledge. I would agree with the Augustans, on the side of rationality and forethought, but is obvious in science today that the Baconians won the battle. There are constant questions of morality that come up in modern day science, but since God can no longer be "rationally" conjured, scientists must use their personal discretion as well as the standards of the society in which they live.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Source: Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. Ed. Claude Rawson and notes by Ian Higgins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.
Please check it out and let me know what you think!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Therefore the same story happened to the effort of explaining how evaluation works. Starting as early as 16s there was an explosion of scientific explanation to natural phenomenal around us. It is true that science has explained lots of things perfectly, however it might not be the case for the reasoning behind how evolution works, and Darwin's theory might merely be a pre-matured reasoning on how evolution works. Using natural selection to explain it might be just as good as saying that earth is not the center of the universe, but the sun is. Therefore we should not take it as granted and treat it like form of truth in our education system. And in fact that's the very reason I took hum321 at first place.
After the introduction on the whole historical background on Darwin's family and the era he was lived in by doctor Ogden, it does makes me think that the sudden popularity of the evaluation through natural selection does somehow fits the interest of the politicians back then. The idea of fittest survival does to certain degree legitimize their will of overpower the rule of the traditional upper class. Therefore it makes me wonder if there is certain part of the theory is just simply some sort of embedded political propaganda to help the whings to gain even more popularity among the people. But then again since there isn't any better theory to explain the process of evaluation, so I would still believe in the idea of natural selection
Many species which have survived for thousands of years in our eco system has extinct during the past two hundred years. The reason is quite simple. Specie can keep survives by going through gradual changes and modifications which takes long period of time. There is one prerequisite to this evolution process that is the change in environment which the specie tries to adapt must also be a gradual process. Now lots wild is suffering from human's dramatic and rapid alternation of nature world, it is quite clear that if we do not slow down our so call economy advancement and spend more effort into protect the natural environment, then there will be a day when we have to face the consequences of our ignorance today.
As the post mentioned Shaw's believe that in the process of evolution, human is that human have a choice that will help shape and influence future generation to come. In a way it is similar to what Darwin has proposed that species going through small modification over time in order to better adapt to the ever changing environment. However, using human as an example, the key differences is that from Darwin's perspective, human's self-consciousness has no bearing on physical Changes occurred on our specie. therefore is not a product of our attention; in other word what we want does not affect what we get. In Shaw's opinion on the other hand, it is quite opposite. The changes overtime on one specie is a result of constant strive for one particular trait, and it is those endless effort of bettering our-self which eventually lead us to the change.
Ava has brought out an excellent point by pointing out that the connection made by Shaw between Darwin's theory and the WWI. i find such connection was very strange myself as we. I honestly do not think it is the introduction of Darwin's theory all of sudden "enlightened" leaders around the world, and then they realized there is nothing better to do than expanding through invasion. If we look at the history that the conflict between either two competing nation, religion or any other kind of social group has been stopped. Therefore instead of saying the theory triggered the WWI, I would rather say it is merely explains why would such conflict occur, other just WWI but all the wars took place in the past as well as many more that will come in the future.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Take a look at the link and see for yourself:
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The important thing to consider is the semantic 'weight' the word science carries along with it. It is true that the scientific method is vigorous and thorough, and today enters into almost every facet of our lives, but to what degree is it justified? Our means of regarding 'scientific theory' with considerably more validity then other 'theory' could exemplify a type of glorification of science. Considering that it has entered into almost every facet of our lives is all the more reason to criticize it objectively. I think we should recognize and appreciate the perspective science offers us however it is also important to understand that it is only just that: one perspective.
The following is a link to a video of Michael Shermer summarising Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit. I believe that it is relevant to our discussion of scientific theory.
Monday, November 8, 2010
We also discussed that if you have two theories that lead to a fact you should choose the simpler fact. I think that you should choose the more sensible theory though. The simpler one may be easier to understand but i feel like the more sensible theory, even if more complicated, would be a better option, but this is just my personal opinion.
It is only experience that allows us to know things and infer things was also a topic brought up in lecture and I feel like I completely agree. Without the experiences in our lives we cannot even imagine things to theorize about. Without experiences we are not going to be open to other ways of life or possibilities of pretty much anything unless we can see with our own eyes how it works for other people or how it could work in other situations.
I suggested that the fallacy of affect could be imposed onto scientific theory in order to recognize the potential weaknesses therein. When we first considered the fallacy of affect it was defined as: something (a theory or ideology) that is considered irrelevant or untrue if it doesn't work in practice. I suggested that the fallacy of affect could be applied to the relationship between 'scientific theory' and 'scientific fact'. Rather than justifying the illegitimacy of something (a theory or ideology) due to its ineffectiveness in practice, under these circumstances the fallacy of affect would recognize that just because something is effective in practice doesn't justify its inherent 'truth' and rightness. Dr. Ogden used the example of water boiling at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. He suggested that one day water could not boil under the specific conditions we've documented thus far. This example parallels my take on the potential fallibility of scientific theory. Under these circumstances the fallacy of the affect occurs not in the observable phenomenon (the affect), but in the explanation of how the phenomenon has come to be.
Science has created a means by which we can predict the steps taken to produce different phenomenon. The information gathered is particularly convincing because it can often be manipulated by humans and applied in different ways that work in practice. However it is also important to recognize that life is in flux and that we as humans are doing the best we can to understand the dynamic world around us.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
While the term Ockham's razor does indeed find its origins with William of Ockham's sentiment "plurality should not be posited without necessity." However, William of Ockham did not come up with the term Ockham's razor, this was done 500 years later, and the specific phrasing of the principle as "entities are not to be multiplied unnecessarily" is credited to John Ponce. This demonstrates that Ockham's razor is not owned by one individual; many people have added their insights to shaping the principle over the centuries. As a result, one cannot take some purist interpretation which only looks at the ideas of William of Ockham when considering the scope of Ockham's razor, for not only has the razor evolved, but Ockham is not even the creator of the razor, merely the inspiration.
My understanding of the principle "entities are not to be multiplied unnecessarily," is that if one is presented two theories, both of which can equally explain and predict a specific phenomenon (i.e. all things being equal), then the one which introduces the fewest new assumptions (multiple entities) is preferred. This makes sense, for if all things are equal, that is, if the two competing theories can both predict and explain equally well, then assuming the existence of multiple entities becomes unnecessary, for the competing theory is just as successful yet without relying on an appeal to an unknown entity. You will find that this is not the simplest explanation. To say that it is the simplest explanation could mean a lot of things. Having one single answer for everything would be very simple; for instance "X is caused by magic" is a very simple answer in some sense, particularly when compared to explaining a phenomenon such as magnetism, however this is not favored by Ockham's for it requires the introduction of an unknown entity, namely magical powers. Thus Ockham's razor IS NOT the simplest explanation, unless your understanding of simplest in this context is the theory which introduces the FEWEST NEW ASSUMPTIONS. This is an important distinction because while the one which introduces the fewest new assumptions (multiple entities) can be seen as the simplest, the simplest can be seen as being many things other than the one with the fewest new assumptions. As a result, it is not entirely accurate to say Ockham's razor is the simplest.
With the distinction between the simplest theory and the one which introduces the fewest new assumptions made clear, this article will now consider the charge that Ockham's razor argues that "simplicity" is a sufficient condition for a theory to be true. Ockham's razor is not an absolute, nor does it maintain that a theory is necessarily true by virtue of its simplicity. Ockham's razor maintains that the "simpler" (again, simpler meaning the one which introduces the fewest NEW assumptions) is PREFERED. It is not a rule of logic, rather it is a heuristic, meaning that it is by definition does not necessitate truth, but only acts as a tool to help find a preferential theory, between two competing ones.
In conclusion, Ockham's razor is not accurately interpreted as merely the simplest explanation is the correct one. This is false on two grounds. First, it is not just the simplest, but more specifically, the one which introduces the fewest new assumptions. The second is that Ockham's razor does not necessitate truth. It makes no claims that "simplicity" is sufficient for truth. It is not a rule of logic, and makes no claims to. It is however, a helpful tool in preferring one otherwise equal theory over another.
Here is a short video on Ockham's razor; I encourage you to check it out:
Friday, November 5, 2010
First we will consider some other instances where individuals have been wrongly credited for the development of an idea, in order to draw some parallels between these other instances and that of Darwin.
An instance of an invention which is often credited to the wrong individual is that of Henry Ford and the automobile. Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. Nor was he the first to mass produce cars; in fact, he wasn't even the first to bring mass production of cars to north America, Oldsmobile was producing and selling cars to the American public before Ford. The automobile is not even an American invention, to the extent which it can be called an invention. It is true that the automobile is an assemblage of many different inventions, and that there are horseless carriages which utilize internal combustion and transmissions, and yet were not cars. Cars as we know them are a specific design for mechanised personal transportation, one of many at the time of its inception. The idea for how cars ought to be laid out was a novel idea, as appose to strapping an engine on to a carriage. It has become an enormously successful design for this purpose, and has proliferated throughout the world. However, the design of the modern automobile was indeed an invention, while it is perhaps not as fundamental as the internal combustion engine, it still an invention. If this invention can be attributed to anyone, it seems that Karl Benz was most instrumental in it development of the form of the modern car.
Not only did Henry Ford not invent the automobile, he also did not invent the other invention credited to him, the assembly line. It took many different individuals working for Ford to create the model T assembly line, and not simply Ford. Moreover, there had existed assembly lines well before that of the model T. In fact Oldsmobile had the first auto assembly line, as well as the first American auto manufacture.
Ford is not the only such misappropriation of credit for an invention, invention of the telephone has been credited to Alexander Gram Bell, when he did not invent the telephone; there had been several working telephone patents before his. Similarly, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb. There were patented light bulbs before his, however, Edison did develop a design for a light bulb which was more stable than predecessors and was consequently more successful.
There are many examples of inventions and discoveries which have not been credited to their true source. However, in each of the examples I have presented, the person who is credited was able to popularize the invention or discovery far better than the proper inventors. This is likely why it is so often the case that credit for inventions and discoveries are not ascribed to their true source, for the novel idea gets branded to its populariser, and not its discoverer. It seems as though Darwin has also been misappropriately credited to the theory of evolution, and natural selection in a very similar way as Ford to the assembly line or Edison and the light bulb.
It seems as though Darwin has been unjustly assigned credit for the theory of natural selection. What are the consequences of this for the theory of natural selection? Do light bulbs work any less because they may not have been invented by Edison? Did telephones stop working the moment you first heard that it was not Alexander Gram Bell who invented the phone? Of course the answer to these questions is no. While it is indeed an injustice to the proper discoverers/inventors in these cases of misappropriated credit, and they ought to be celebrated belatedly once it has been discovered. Moreover, I suspect that we will continue to learn of common inventions and discoveries in which the person we ascribe credit for it, is in fact not the actual inventor.
As a result, the issue of whether or not Darwin's work was original has little bearing on the merit of the theories he argues for. It is a very interesting point of history, but not particularly relevant in terms of the strength of the theory itself. The theory of natural selection and sexual selection must be judged on their own merits, and not that of its creator/populariser.
What i hope my example illustrates is that not all experiences are equal in their ability to derive facts. To do so one must control for other possible explanations or biases. This is why medical trials are ideally done in a double blinded and controlled fashion, as it allows for the testing of the single variable. The demand for control and replication makes "scientific" experience a fact generating mechanism. Conversely normal every day experience is not at all controlled, we have all had our senses deceive us at times, we all have biases, and by not controlling for these, normal experience does not generate facts, only anecdote.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I really like the idea of group selection which was one of the topics that Dr. Alexander brought up. He said it was almost dismissed by most scientists and social scientists. Groups of cooperative people are constantly at war said Dr. Alexander. This seems contradictory since cooperation means getting along and war means not getting along I suppose. If one group of humans selects to eliminate another group then traits are still being extinct. Why would we want to eliminate some qualities that only exist in some groups? Why would we want pure bred things? If we are so concerned with being the best and most powerful and smartest, why wouldn't we want to have certain traits from different groups and breed them together to combine their assets.
I think it is very important to mention here that although he does raise a good point in the fact that the laryngeal nerve is 'seemingly' inefficient, that is about the only valid observation that he makes. The problem with his argument is that he defines designer as engineer, when in reality it is the other way around. An engineer is a man, who follows man's cycle of invention through innovation and who does so through the use of design. Although he is a designer, an engineer still possesses all the other human qualities that a nurse, a doctor and a carpenter share, and with those the potential to err. As a means of remedying their errors, engineers go back to the drawing board. This is not only how engineers create greater, more efficient and more effective structure, but also the reason why there continues to be an improvement.
Evolution on the other hand is not man. We've understood it thus far through man's perspective by observing it and expressing our observations through speech and experimentation. It is not so much that evolution/the designer has no foresight, but not foresight that likens itself to that of human foresight.
By the dialectic I am referring to the cycle of thesis-->antithesis-->synthesis and how ideas take shape by following this model. In essence it allows for the introduction of new realities and the squashing of old ones. Here we've seen an interesting exchange between a few men of upstanding academic accreditation react to the idea(s)that Darwin has offered to the world.
Not only do each subsequent author suggest that they do not agree with Darwin be it, Darwinian though, his methods, or Darwin's personal motivations, they also introduce a different manner(discursive method) in articulating their ideas. First consider Pope who through the use of analogy and metaphor rebuts Darwin's ideas. Then Butler comes along and literally scrutinizes every aspect of Darwin's delivery. Following Butler, Shaw synthesizes the information Butler reasonably handed out by the use of irony.
These different uses of languages are important to recognize as they set the cadre for the information each author introduces to us and thusly shapes our understanding of the potential reality they propose.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Krisha's article, argues that Darwinism has been responsible for terrible crimes of its own. In it, she argues that Darwinism is the cause of eugenics and eugenics is considered by us to be a violation of the rights and freedoms which are of paramount value in the Western World. While there is no question that eugenic programs are a violation of an individual's rights and freedoms, at least those offered to citizens in Canada and the United States, and would indeed be considered immoral by most in any society which has such values. Indeed, I too very much value said rights and freedoms. However is it a truth that Darwinism is responsible for the use of eugenics? The answer is clearly no. Darwinism does not make any claims about what ought to be. It is not a theory of ethics, and has no opinion on the matter of public policy. Darwinism's limits are to providing a possible account for the mechanism by which we experience diversity of life on earth, and is not a treatise on how to govern a society. As a result, it is most certainly not responsible for the application of eugenics. Darwinism does hold that a eugenics program would likely work, but that is entirely different from arguing that it ought to be done.
The failure to make this distinction is why Krisha's argument fails; one is not responsible for all the possible applications of one's theoretical work. Darwinism is no more responsible for eugenics, than Niels Bohr's contributions to atomic theories make him responsible for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or Nikola Tesla's theories of alternating current making him responsible for use of electrocution in the application of capital punishment. Such theories are concerned with the processes of nature, and what is possible. They are not theories of ethics, and make no claims as to what ought to be done. One must distinguish between discovering a mechanism in nature, developing said mechanism into a potential application, and the decision to utilize said application. Understanding this distinction is critical if one is to justly ascribe moral blame to an individual, this is especially true if one is to ascribe the utmost moral blame to an individual. Krisha has ascribed such a profound immorality to Darwinism, for she does not merely hold Darwinism responsible for eugenics, she also holds him responsible for the Holocaust, by extension from eugenics. I find the argument that Darwin is responsible for the Holocaust to be offensive, precisely because it fails to ascribe blame where it is due. Individuals such as Adolph Hitler and Herinrich Himmler are responsible for the Holocaust, for they are the ones who were at the level of moral decision making, while Darwinism is at the level of purposing the mechanisms of nature. Consequently, even though Darwinism may be considered a necessity for eugenics programs, it is clearly not sufficient for them, and certainly not for the Holocaust. This means that Darwinism does not necessitate eugenics, or any system of ethics, even though eugenics may necessitate Darwinism, they are not biconditionals.
As it has now been shown that Darwinism is not responsible for eugenics nor for the Holocaust, this paper will now consider whether Darwin made any ethical arguments concerning eugenics. While the theory of natural selection does not, in and of itself, argue for nor necessitate eugenics, could it be that Darwin himself made ethical arguments concerning eugenics, and if so, what would that support the claim that Darwinism is responsible for eugenics? If we look to primary sources, we can see Darwin making an argument in The Descent of Man which has strong implications for the practice of eugenics. In it he states that, "if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil" (p. 162). The sentiment expressed by Darwin in this passage is that while allowing for the weak to die would be beneficial to the "stock" of humanity over subsequent generations, that it would necessitate a profound evil to accomplish, and would thus be immoral and unacceptable. We see in this that Darwin has a deep respect for the dignity and liberty of the individual, placing its import above that of the biological strength of the species. This passage maintains that it is unacceptable to even neglect other individuals who may be weak; let alone actively sterilizing or murdering those perceived as "weak". As a result, not only can we conclude that Darwinism does not necessitate Eugenics, and is therefore not responsible for it, it has also been shown that Darwin himself did not endorse the practice; in fact, he found that even neglecting the weak was immoral.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
in class, you mentioned that you despise Richard Dawkins because he is a social Darwinist. could you please identify for me where Dawkins has identified himself a social Darwinist, or anything that he has said that necessitates social Darwinism?
Thanks very much for your comments. I am including a short
snippet from the draft copy of my next book which shows both why I
hate Richard Dawkins and why I think he is a Social Darwinist. It is
based on his 1989 book. I have not even thought to follow his recent
work. Do you think he is not a Social Darwinist?
Social Darwinism finds its recent scientific support in the biologically sophisticated writings of "Sociobiologists" or "Evolutionary Psychologists" who call themselves neo-Darwinists. An extreme example would be Richard Dawkins' famous book, The Selfish Gene (1989). Writing in a clear and forceful style, Dawkins summarises his powerful perspective on psychology on the first page of his book:
...We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes (Dawkins, 1989, p. v.)
Later he adds two extensions of this doctrine:
...I think "nature red in tooth and claw" sums up our modern understanding of natural selection admirably. (Dawkins, 1989, p. 2)
Here is the snippet that I meant to include in my previous email.
...we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes...I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour. However, as we shall see, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the level of individual animals. "Special" and "limited" are important words in the last sentence. Much as we might wish to believe otherwise, universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are concepts that simply do not make evolutionary sense. (Dawkins, 1989, p. 2)
Dawkins expresses his doubt that culture can restrain the impulses of selfish genes as follows:
...Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something which no other species has ever aspired to. (Dawkins, 1989, p. 3)
Although Dawkins acknowledges that Darwin did not directly state any theories like these, he confidently attributes his views to Darwin:
The selfish gene theory is Darwin's theory, expressed in a way that Darwin did not choose but whose aptness, I should like to think, he would instantly have recognised and delighted in. In fact it is an orthodox outgrowth of neo-Darwinism... (Dawkins, 1989, p. viii)
Although Dawkins' sanguine view of innate human selfishness may be a reasonable deduction from the Origin of Species and an "orthodox outgrowth of neo-Darwinism" [i], it is definitely not "Darwin's theory" of human psychology as expressed in Darwin's two psychology books. In fact, Darwin's perspective on human morality is much more complex, and in large measure contradicts Dawkins and many other sociobiologists or evolutionary psychologists.
If Social Darwinism does not come from Darwin, where does it come from? I wish I could find some ancient expression of it, but as yet I have not. At this point, I can trace it back no further than the Calvinist theology of the Reformation (Weber, 1920/1958) with its veneration of uncompromising, entrepreneurial individualism in the service of God's design that His earth should be made to flourish, a view that was translated into a more secular form within Hobbes', Hume's, and Adam Smith's writings. From these secular writings, Social Darwinism entered into the political doctrine of the 19th century Whig and Liberal parties (Desmond & Moore, 1991; Hobsbawm, 1962; 1975; 1989)
[i] ...Richard Dawkins's...claim...is reflective of neo-Darwinism's preoccupation with the...Victorian conception of evolution as a prolonged and bloody battle (Margulis & Hinkle, 1991, p. 15).
Forgive me but I fail to see how you have demonstrated Dawkins to be a social Darwinist. Perhaps I am mistaken on the meaning of social Darwinism. For your clarification, my understanding of social Darwinism is the belief that the most fit in society ought to prosper, and that the weak ought to be let to die. Is this not essentially what social Darwinism entails? It is, then it seems to me that one must make the distinction between arguing that social Darwinism would work (that is it would succeed in it fostering desired traits in human populations) and actually arguing that social Darwinism ought to be practiced. Is this not a fair distinction to be made? And if it is, are those who merely argue that social Darwinism could work, i.e. those who are merely purposing a mechanism of adaptation, also to be called social Darwinists? I was under the impression that one had to argue that society ought to embrace social Darwinism, and allow the week to die, or actively sterilize or kill them in order for one to be a social Darwinist. Am I mistaken? Does merely arguing that "if a society allowed for the week to die off, then the week would not perpetuate week traits in future generations", make one a social Darwinist? If the weaker definition is all that is required, then it seems clear that dawkins is a social Darwinist, however, if the stronger definition is used, I have never heard him endorse the killing off of the week. In fact I have heard him specifically state that while he believes that if there existed a mad dictator who wished to create a nation which would have the worlds best high jumpers, and to do so, he enacted a breeding program, or only allowed the tall and athletic to breed, that such a program would most probably work, this Dawkins says, is fundamentally different from the question of whether one ought to do such a thing. Here is a quote from Dawkins "it would be a very unpleasant thing if there were a sort of government organized breeding program in which the smart people were encouraged to breed and encourage the dull people not to. I think that would be a horrible thing. That's different, however, from saying that it wouldn't work" from Penn radio show 2006/10/25 27minutes in (available free on itunes, podcast)
So am I mistaken in what is required to be a social Darwinist? Is the distinction between arguing that it is possible, and arguing that it ought to be done, significantly different? The distinction is between oppenhimer and Truman, between theory and action, between what is and what ought to be, and is a difference which is of fundamental importance when ascribing moral blame to another individual.
Thank you for making me think more precisely about this issue. I personally agree with your definition of "Social Darwinism", although my quickie wikipedia search showed me that the term can be defined in various ways. I think therefore that you are right that the little Dawkins quotes that I sent do not prove that Dawkins is a Social Darwinist. I still think that he is one, however, on the basis of political comments that I recall from reading The Selfish Gene, but did not write down. If it were not a terrible busy time for me, I would re-read the Selfish Gene to see if my recollection is correct, but I just cannot do it now. Also, it is not fair to label him a Social Darwinist -- definitely a pejorative term -- on the basis of something he wrote two decades ago. I know I am not going to read his more recent stuff. There is too much, and I find it offensive. Therefore, I am not going to be able to settle the issue either to my satisfaction or yours. I agree that I should be more careful about labelling people with pejorative terms unless I am completely sure that they fit, and I will be more careful about Dawkins in the future, thanks to you.
The more interesting question is why some people like me, hate Dawkins, and some people, like you I am guessing, find him inspiring. Perhaps it is simply the difference between modern day Romantics and Whigs. But then the question becomes why are some people Romantics and some people Whigs. There is a lot of psychology to be worked out here. Perhaps,when we both have time we will have a cup of coffee together and you will tell me your take on Dawkins' philosophy (or science, if you like). I would be very interested.
Thanks for the stimulating comments,
Monday, October 18, 2010
-Darwinism (and evolution,) are not theories which purport to account for the origin of life. Rather, Darwinism and evolution are theories which purport to explain the origin of species, i.e. the origin of biodiversity or the reason for variety amongst and within species. This is a different question from the origin of life itself. Abiogenesis, or the primordial soup theory, is a possible explanation for the origin of life on earth, see Carl Sagan video excerpt from "Cosmos":
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Some people say technology is the problem and the solution. I personally couldn't agree more. Our society might moving towards a direction where invention is no longer out of free will, but desperation of solving problem which was created by the old technology. In other world we might eventually be enslaved by technology for it is own "need" of existence.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Augustans believe that technology is fine as long as we monitor how it is used. It is being used improperly when we cannot escape it and use it in situations when it is inappropriate (like texting in class or going on facebook when homework needs to be done).
Today's society is given vaccines and medicines that we don’t know if we even need but scientists tell us that we need it so we believe them because we assume that they know better than we do. Sometimes vaccines are made and then the illness is made up. We are also given medications to control and help our ailments instead of being given a cure which makes us rely on technology and scientists. We are then given a “better” medicine but we are not told how it is better, just that it will help but we are also unsure of how it effects our bodies/minds. We are forced to trust the science, technology and intelligence of doctors and researchers because there is no way for the public to find out these things for themselves.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Our group’s focus is to evaluate and scrutinize some of these particular reactions to the theories introduced in The Origin. In order to recognize whether the points made by our peers from each successive group are valid, we must recognize and compare the differences amongst the 4 groups in relation to external research and literature that spans all different ideological spheres. Ultimately our efforts as “The Reactionaries” will be to decipher whether the differences in stand points affects the quality of the information and if the evidence suggesting the truth in one theory disproves the validity of another. In other words is one stand point more reliable in reviewing the credibility of natural selection? All while comparing their research with other credible sources.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
In order to be able to fully evaluate Darwin’s theory on the origins of species, the influence of culture must first be explored. Darwinism, or Biological Victorianism, was created in England in the 19th century. Charles Darwin was born into the upper-middle class. He lived in a culture which promoted the idea that success can be achieved through determination; a culture which rejected the premise that we are limited by our social hierarchy. Most importantly, he lived in a culture where males flirted or fought for female mates. As a consequence of his cultural influence, he suggests that similar to the majority of all other species, female human beings procreate with the males who are the most fit. However, I propose that Darwin neglected to evaluate cultures which differed from his own in his theoretical research.
The knowledge of Darwin’s social status, culture, and accompanying ideals illuminate the ulterior assumptions regarding human nature in On The Origin of Species. While Darwin boasts that his theory is relevant to humans, he lacks any empirical to support of its applicability. Rather, He claims that male humans will flirt or fight to entice females to procreate with them. This theoretical proposition of survival of the fittest imitates the Victorian manner of relations between mingling singles: women sat passively while men fought or tried to romance them, resulting in the girl selecting the most impressive mate. However, as a consequence of altering dating relations since the 19th century, Darwin’s theory does not encompass modern behaviour. I personally think that there is now equality between males seeking female mates and females seeking male mates. Both preen, strut and speak for attention from the opposite sex. Both equally fight competitors; either physically or emotionally. Furthermore, both sexes attempt to seduce mates through intellect.
Because of Darwin’s neglect to take into account the different dating and mating rituals among the cultures in other societies, his theory does not apply to dating and mating relations that differ from that of the 19th century Victorians. Darwin unconsciously includes a cultural influence in the formation of his theory, accepting his own assumptions as fact.