Re: [asa] Altruism and ID

From: Jack <>
Date: Fri Jun 08 2007 - 06:15:54 EDT

People use the word in evolution in different ways. But the evolution of biological species through random variation and natural selection, and the the transmission of these variations through genes, is specific to biological evolution. For the sake or argument lets restrict evolution for a moment to that specific form of evolution, even though people talk about societies evolving, etc.

But even in the strict biological sense, altruism, could in fact be something that evolves. If there is a gene that makes an animal cooperate, and if by doing so in a certain situation this improves the animals ability to survive, then it will be passed on.

Complex behaviors have been connected to single genes. So it is not unreasonable to suppose that something like altruism could not appear after a single or a simple series of mutations.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: PvM
  Cc: Don Nield ; asa
  Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 9:46 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Altruism and ID

  "What worries you about a scientist trying to understand the origin and
  evolution of a concept like altruism?" - PvM

    "No, concepts do not evolve into existence. That is non-sensical!! Please give me some evidence that a concept is a biological entity. I will rest my point if you admit that concepts are not reducible to outgrowths biological existence." - G.A.

  "Ah, it seems you are confusing the biological concept of evolution with concepts 'evolving'." - PvM

  I am not a biological scientist. No, I am not confusing the biological concept of evolution with 'concepts evolving' (as nonsensical as it sounds). Biological entities, according to most biologists (and so I must to a degree trust them), do evolve. Concepts, on the other hand, do not evolve. Physical scientists hold no monopoly over discussion of 'concepts.' I am attempting clarification. On the other hand, you appear to be obfuscating.

  The challenge still remains for you to not-dodge: Please give me some evidence that a concept is a biological entity. If a concept is not a biological entity, then I will be pleased for you to just admit that, instead of dodging once again.

  "My name is Pim van Meurs and my background includes a Master's degree in physics (control system dynamics) and a PhD in Physical Oceanography."

  Then what makes you think you have any authority in social scientific or philosophical meanings and understandings of evolution?Do you then pretend to speak as an authority about altruism, a concept that was originally coined by a philosopher/sociologist?

  It is rather strange to attribute such confidence in natural scientific views of altruism (i.e. Wilson,. Trivers, Dawkins) when a vast array of social/philosophical/anthropological, not to mention theological discourse has been ongoing since Comte's time (and before, on what altruism signifies). Altruism is not something that can/should be studied using physics or oceanography. This is why I suggested PvM offer us Christian meanings and understandings of altruism instead of clipping from the Edge.

  Please note, fellow travelers, that pointing this out does not suggest that people cannot be or become interdisciplinary, nor that our knoweldges are trapped within convenient boxes or defined by cookie cutters. What is does suggest is that in realms outside of one's specialized expertise, one should look to consult others who know and actively participate before pretending knowledge. This applies to all of us and is something that the ASA provides a forum for.

  For example, Dawkins has shown that his knowledge/understanding of theology is dramatically flawed in discussions with McGrath. Likewise, Johnson showed that his knowledge/understanding of biology was dramatically flawed in discussions with Lamoureux. Could it possibly be that Pim's knowledeg/understanding of altruism is flawed because he is unfamiliar with the literature. In the first reply to this thread I mentioned Pitirim Sorokin. Anyone figure Pim has read Sorokin?


  p.s. this message did not evolve into existence either

  p.p.s. Why not let us instead ask: did the Ten Commandments 'evolve' into existence? Such a conceptualization is non-sensical, upside-down, through the looking glass! So let's drop such ridiculous signification!

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Received on Fri Jun 8 06:17:12 2007

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