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Author Topic:   Germany before, China now; Darwinism on the rampage
Member (Idle past 5100 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005

Message 5 of 6 (409327)
07-08-2007 5:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Syamsu
04-08-2007 6:33 PM

Syamsu writes:
It is that peculiar attitude of scientific certitude which radicalizes people enormously when the certitude is inappropiately applied to moral questions.
One might say the same thing about religious certitude.
Syamsu writes:
The problem here is with knowledge about freedom vs knowledge about the laws of nature. So to say, it is not so much wrong to teach about genetic and/or cultural predetermination of the Han, it is only very wrong if you don't balance out that teaching of predetermination by the laws of nature with copious amounts of knowledge about how people behave freely.
What reason do you have to suppose that freedom should be considered in contradistinction to the laws of nature?
Syamsu writes:
Darwinism problemizes this teaching about freedom no end, because it appropiates the "will" of organisms into it's theory, as if this will is some kind of mechanical law of nature. If Newton would have talked about gravity theory in terms of stones and apples wanting to fall the furthest in the struggle for depth, we would immediately recognize that this was just pseudoscience. But for some reason people don't recognize the struggle for reproductive success as pseudoscientific.
Natural selection applies to any imperfectly reproducing entity whether it "wills" to reproduce or not. That's why stones are not subject to natural selection, yet apples are. It is you who has made the claim that "will" is inherent in Darwinism but you have failed to convince me, so I do not accept the charge that Darwinism is pseudoscientific. Rather, you characterization of Darwinism is incorrect. Evolutionary principles apply to human beings whether they will to reproduce, or do not will to reproduce.
When people consequently identify themselves as being part of the natural selection process it becomes; "I want to survive", "I want to reproduce" and I want to do it more then the other. Here science is telling people what they want, leaving little room for themselves, or religion or secular culture to tell them what they really want deepest in their heart.
If people choose to identify themselves as being part of an evolutionary process, why should that have any effect on their wants, and why would it constitute science "telling them" what they want? Furthermore, why do you think that religion or secular cultural leaders "telling people what they want" is any better?
Actually natural selection theory does not work with organisms that want to survive. For instance if organism A is more fit then organism B, but organism B wants to survive more and struggles harder for it, then thereby it is organism B that wins out, survival of the least Darwinism this get's all weird because this will to survive of people is part of some mechanical law of nature which forces us to a result, and does not allow for alternatives to be decided on.
More mischaracterization and misunderstanding of the theory. Fitness is simply a description of the outcome of natural selection. If organism A survives (and reproduces) less well than organism B, then you can't say that organism A is more fit, can you?
Syamsu writes:
"And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection." (C. Darwin, Origin of Species)
To translate this morality into the factual language of science...
There are uses of the word "good" that do not imply morality. If I say that I have a good bicycle it is not necessarily a judgement on the moral nature of my bike. Much of your post seems to be a confusion with biological "goodness" (i.e. an ability to reproduce succesfully) and a moral goodness. But they do not equate and your argument is a non sequitur.
Syamsu writes:
You can't really make a history about the influence of Darwinism on intellectual climate of opinion in China without the context of how this infuence went in other countries.
Well that might be an interesting and educational exercise for you. In your third paragraph and elsewhere you seem to be arguing that acceptance of evolutionary theories is associated with an abandonment of the concept of freedom and a consequent collapse into political structures such as communism and nazism. If you care to take a look at the historical record, you will find that the correlation does not hold. Darwin's ideas were first accepted widely in Britain, yet Britain has enjoyed formal parliamentary democracy ever since, with no apparent collapse of personal freedom. In Scandinavian countries the theory is supported by up to 80% of the populations, yet all of these countries are considered models of socially liberal and free societies.
Syamsu writes:
Knowledge about any kind of free behaviour is consistently oppressed by Darwinists
More fantasy. Recent research finds that flies have free will and this research is not quashed but rather published in a prominent journal. Now personally I am very sceptical of the claim but it's clear that the scientific establishment is open to such ideas. Similarly, the notion that human beings in rich western capitalist countries have exercised their free will in order to reduce their fecundity is not disputed by biologists, as far as I am aware.
Syamsu writes:
That influence of Darwinism to destroy knowledge about freedom also of course explains the creationist movement as a reaction to Darwinism, that we creationists want the free act of creation acknowledged, over the laws of nature.
Yet we find creationist movements that define their social aims almost solely in terms of opposition to freedom - opposition to the freedom to have abortions, the freedom to be gay, the freedom to believe in other religious viewpoints, the freedom to experiment on dead fetuses, the freedom to use condoms, etc. How strange that these religious people who know so much about freedom are dead set against it!
Syamsu writes:
A similar sort of thing is argued in Klaus Fischer's book, Nazi Germany - A new history. In the beginning of that book he implores the reader that we should learn to view the holocaust not just as a product of age-old preceding causes, but also as the product of contingencies, and of course personal decisonmaking. He argues that the predeterminative nature of both nazi and communist ideology is their most lethal aspect.
I fail to see the relevance to evolutionary theory, unless you think that it supplies a predeterminative conceptual framework which was adopted by the Nazis and Communists. In reality there is very little if any predetermination present in evolutionary theory. The theoretical core of evoluionary biology - population genetics - is almost wholly concerned with accounting for stochastic processes, those which are subject to random events occurring over time. For example, no new mutation occurring in a population, no matter how "good" it is, is predetermined to spread to fixation. Similarly, no individual or race is predetermined to dominate their neighbours. Rather, evolutionary biology in its neutralist form tends to emphasize the historical (environmental and random) contingencies in accordance with Fischer's advice. Now, many religious groups, on the other hand, seem deeply committed to predetermination - whether it is the salvation afforded to select Calvinists, the fact of being God's chosen people for the Jews, or the coming rapture of the born-agains. Just as Hitler cloaked his project in the language of social darwinism, he also cloaded it in religious regalia, the Volk being the chosen people and the swastika their crucifix.
Edited by mick, : No reason given.
Edited by mick, : No reason given.
Edited by mick, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Syamsu, posted 04-08-2007 6:33 PM Syamsu has not replied

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