>In a message dated 1/3/00 6:55:24 AM Dateline Standard Time,
WRE>Further stuff showing that B&T made the original error and MikeB
WRE>simply repeated it credulously, deleted.
MB>An alternative explanation is that Wesley cannot appreciate
MB>the subtlety of the relationship perceived by B&T and thus
MB>flippantly insists an error was made.
That's one alternative. It isn't a particularly likely
alternative, but it does count as an alternative.
WRE>Wheeler's "Many Worlds" hypothesis isn't about the number of
WRE>planets in the universe, which the Democritus quote appears
MB>I think I see Wesley's problem - he is interpreting too
MB>literally and doesn't see the general mode of reasoning
MB>(briefly highlighted in the previous post) behind the literal
That's also a possible explanation. Again, this one is
MB>The question is why is Wesley so selective about these literal
MB>interpretations? Consider that same posting also had this:
MB>"And speaking of borrowing, does this sound familiar?:
MB>"When we see some example of a mechanism, such as a globe or
MB>clock or some such device, do we doubt that it is the creation
MB>of a conscious intelligence? So when we see the movement of
MB>the heavenly bodies‰¥Ïhow can we doubt that these too
MB>are not only the works of reason but of a reason which is
MB>perfect and divine?"
MB>No, this is not from William Paley, but instead was written
MB>by the Roman lawyer and orator, Marcus Cicero (106-43 BC)."
MB>Why doesn't Wesley also take issue with the fact that Paley
MB>didn't compare a clock with the heavenly bodies? Why do
MB>I want to say something about selectively straining out gnats?
Mike apparently can't accept that some of the examples he
quotes pass muster while others do not. The Cicero quote
counts among the better examples. The Democritus one is so
poor that I still count it as an error. Mike has not so far
produced an argument that would lead me to believe that it is
not an error.
WRE>I don't have a problem with the questions of teleology being
WRE>discussed by the ancients.
I'd like to draw Mike's attention to the above sentence in
WRE>I do have a problem with ancient
WRE>quotes that don't connect to the modern counterpart being
WRE>put forward as examples.
MB>They connnect as generic approaches to the world. Your error
MB>is in looking for connections that are too specific.
Analogies vary in quality along a scale. Some people are
willing to set a (very) low acceptance threshold for
analogies. The weakness of the Democritus::Many Worlds
analogy puts me in mind of the weak analogies given as if
damning evidence in John A. Stormer's jingoist masterpiece,
"None Dare Call It Treason".
WRE>Perhaps further context in Democritus
WRE>would show that he was not talking about planets and their
WRE>number, but rather whole universes.
MB>At the time of Democritus, what makes you think such a
MB>distinction was all that significant?
It isn't my argument to make. Either B&T or Mike, as their
effusive agent, should show that the difference is not
significant. Despite much bluster, that is conspicuous by
its absence from the discussion.
MB>Nevertheless, this misses the point.
If the point was that teleology has a long history, I had
already stipulated that.
WRE> But until such information
WRE>becomes available, I will continue to be a skeptic of the claim
WRE>that Democritus prefigured Wheeler in any significant sense.
MB>In my opinion, your skepticism is based on a trivial
MB>distinction that misses the larger point. But it doesn't
MB>matter to me if you continue as a skeptic. So be it.
I didn't miss the larger point, I stipulated it. The "larger
point" of an extensive history for teleology is not set aside
because one of the examples given is clearly inappropriate.
However, the mere fact that one or more of the proffered
examples are appropriate does not rescue a poor example from
critique. Why weaken the argument by bringing up a quote that
does not have an appreciable link with its supposed modern
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jan 03 2000 - 20:18:46 EST