Re: Robert Wright on Steve Gould

From: Stephen E. Jones (sejones@iinet.net.au)
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 09:05:11 EST

  • Next message: MikeBGene@aol.com: "Re: Johnson, Darwin, and transitionals"

    Reflectorites

    On Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:32:49 -0800, Cliff Lundberg wrote:

    [...]

    >SJ>If Darwinism followed it's rule of prefixing "apparent" before
    >>"intelligence", as it does with "design", it would presumably
    >>have to admit that *human* "intelligence" is only "apparent"
    >>"intelligence"?

    CL>The 'apparent' is all science is concerned with. But then, 'intelligence'
    >--unquantified--is no more a scientific notion than 'complexity' or
    >'design-with-no-apparent-designer'. If Stephen's analysis is valid,
    >at least I have the consolation that my stupidity is also only apparent.

    I thought I posted something on this dual meaning of "apparent" as
    being "visible" and also "illusory":

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=apparent
    1 : open to view : VISIBLE
    2 : clear or manifest to the understanding
    3 : appearing as actual to the eye or mind
    4 : having an indefeasible right to succeed to a title or estate
    5 : manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence
    that may or may not be factually valid <the air of spontaneity is perhaps
    more apparent than real -- J. R. Sutherland>
    - apúparúentúness /-'par-&nt-n&s, -'per-/ noun
    synonyms APPARENT, ILLUSORY, SEEMING, OSTENSIBLE mean
    not actually being what appearance indicates. APPARENT suggests
    appearance to unaided senses that is not or may not be borne out by more
    rigorous examination or greater knowledge <the apparent cause of the
    accident>. ILLUSORY implies a false impression based on deceptive
    resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a
    clear view <an illusory sense of security>. SEEMING implies a character in
    the thing observed that gives it the appearance, sometimes through intent,
    of something else <the seeming simplicity of the story>. OSTENSIBLE
    suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim
    or reason and the true one <the ostensible reason for their visit>. synonym
    see in addition EVIDENT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    I thought I cited Dawkins quoting Paley as meaning by apparent as
    meaning "visible":

    "The watchmaker of my title is borrowed from a famous treatise by the
    eighteenth-century theologian William Paley. His Natural Theology-or
    Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the
    Appearances of Nature, published in 1802, is the best-known exposition of
    the 'Argument from Design', always the most influential of the arguments
    for the existence of a God." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker" 1991,
    p4);

    but Dawkins himself using "apparent" as "illusory":

    "Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see
    ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living
    results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance
    of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of
    design and planning." (Dawkins R., 1991, p21).

    But I can't find it in my Sent mail folder so maybe I never sent it?

    CL>Critics of 'Darwinism' seem so unconcerned about the ambiguity of the
    >term, I have to conclude that they think the ambiguity is something
    >they should perpetuate. Is Stephen talking about natural origins in
    >general, or evolution through natural selection, or gradualism, or
    >macroevolution?

    The answer's simple. I am not talking about *any* of those things.

    My point is this, if Darwinists say that the "intelligence" evident in the
    design of living things is only "apparent" (in the sense of "illusory"), then
    presumably it follows that the Darwinists would have to admit that
    ultimately *human* "intelligence" is only "apparent" (in the sense of
    "illusory")?

    I understand that Dennett actually does this, but for once I can't find
    the reference! :-)

    Steve

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    "The trouble was that in reading widely during my early teens I ran into the
    Darwinian theory, for a little while with illusions and then with less respect
    than adults with bated breath were wont to show. The theory seemed to me
    to run like this: `If among the varieties of a species there is one that
    survives better in the environment than the others, then the variety that
    survives best is the one that best survives.' If I had known the word
    tautology I would have called this a tautology. People with still more bated
    breath, called it natural selection. I made them angry, just as I do today, by
    saying that it did nothing at all. You could select potatoes as much as you
    pleased but you would never make them into a rabbit. Nor by selecting oak
    trees could you make them into colonies of bats, and those who thought
    they could in my opinion were bats in the belfry." (Hoyle F., "Mathematics
    of Evolution", [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p2)
    Stephen E. Jones | sejones@iinet.net.au | http://www.iinet.net.au/~sejones
    --------------------------------------------------------------------



    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jan 24 2000 - 09:06:11 EST