Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Indifference to "Evolution"

I can tolerate ambiguity and not knowing. Some can't.

Let's take "evolutionary theory." As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that matters is when science gets to the point when it can turn one species into another. Then it's proved beyond all doubt.

And, again, as far as I'm concerned, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have completely wasted their lives. They were/are not scientists. What they engaged in is mental masturbation.

I've mentioned before that I knew the late James P. Hogan, a science-fiction and science-fact writer. He wrote that all science automatically turns itself into technology. The proof is in the pudding. All the meaningless arguments are just that...meaningless.

I understand why people believe when there is no proof. Some people cannot tolerate not knowing, so they will engage in whatever mental gyration necessary to convince themselves what they believe is true.

Vifredo Pareto put it this way: "Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical. If that theory could be demolished scientifically, the only result would be that another theory would be substituted for the first one, and for the same purpose."

Many people start out believing something and then look for proof.


Anonymous said...

So firstly the "Science is never settled" and then it's "proved beyond all doubt" Right.

Bob Wallace said...

Science is never settled until it turns into technology.

Anonymous said...

Technology is often successful without a complete -or any -theoretical understanding of the principles involved.

Science is recent. Technology is as old as Humanity.

Mindstorm said...

Please give a hypothetical example how to test the evolutionary theory in real time, not as a simulation in silico. What organism has the generational turnover fast enough to make multiple passes (counted in thousands, at least) in one human lifetime?

Would viruses suffice? But they don't form anything like distinct species of multicellular organisms.
What about bacteria? But how would you define and recognize a good enough example of speciation in bacteria?
Or of anagenesis?

What do you want? Your criticism of evolutionary theory is as valid as criticisms of plate tectonics. Why there are no technologies reliant on plate tectonics?

Mindstorm said... - what would you propose in its place?

Bob Wallace said...

"Science is recent. Technology is as old as Humanity."

for that matter, the technology is never settled, since it can always be improved.

kurt9 said...

I agree that technological innovation is the "proof is in the eating of the pudding" that a particular science is real or not. Science that does not result in technological innovation does not strike me as particularly useful.

kurt9 said...

The argument over evolution bores me. I don't care about it nor do I consider it relevant to my life and my future. I decided long ago that self-ownership and autonomy in the Rothbard/Rand sense is the basis of my identity and world view. I would never consider any world-view, even for a nano-second, that did not recognize and respect the concept of individual self-ownership and autonomy. Such world-views are, by definition, wrong and utterly useless to me. I do not waste my time and attention on useless items.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, Bob!

Evolution does exist! Look at how many men have become MGTOWers! They have evolved their minds and bodies to go their own way. Of course, the internet helped spread the horror stories, philosophy, and mental changes needed which means that:

Science + evolution = existence!

Anonymous said...

"SCIENCE is weak about these prehistoric things in a way that has hardly been noticed. The science whose modern marvels we all admire succeeds by incessantly adding to its data. In all practical inventions, in most natural discoveries, it can always increase evidence by experiment. But it cannot experiment in making men; or even in watching to see what the first men make. An inventor can advance step by step in the construction of an airplane even if he is only experimenting with sticks and scraps of metal in his own backyard. But he cannot watch the Missing Link evolving in his own backyard. If he has made a mistake in his calculations, the airplane will correct it by crashing to the ground. But if he has made a mistake about the arboreal habitat of his ancestor, he cannot see his arboreal ancestor falling off the tree. He cannot keep a caveman like a cat in the backyard and watch him to see whether he does really practice cannibalism or carry off his mate on the principles of marriage by capture. He cannot keep a tribe of primitive men like a pack of hounds and notice how far they are influenced by the herd instinct. If he sees a particular bird behave in a particular way, he can get other birds and see if they behave in that way; but if be finds a skull, or the scrap of a skull in the hollow of a hill, he cannot multiply it into a vision of the valley of dry bones. In dealing with a past that has almost entirely perished he can only go by evidence and not by experiment. And there is hardly enough evidence to be even evidential. Thus while most science moves in a sort of curve, being constantly corrected by new evidence, this science flies off into space in a straight line uncorrected by anything.

But the habit of forming conclusions, as they can really be formed in more fruitful fields, is so fixed in the Scientific mind that it cannot resist talking like this. It talks about the idea suggested by one scrap of bone as if it were something like the airplane which is constructed at last out of whole scrapheaps of scraps of metal. The trouble with the professor of the prehistoric is that he cannot scrap his scrap. The marvelous and triumphant airplane is made out of a hundred mistakes. The student of origins can only make one mistake and stick to it. We talk very truly of the patience of science; but in this department it would be truer to talk of the impatience of science. Owing to the difficulty above described, the theorist is in far too much of a hurry. We have a series of hypotheses so hasty that they may well be called fancies, and cannot in any case be further corrected by facts. The most empirical anthropologist is here as limited as an antiquary. He can only cling to a fragment of the past and has no way of increasing it for the future. He can only clutch his fragment of fact, almost as the primitive man clutched his fragment of flint. And indeed he does deal with it in much the same way and for much the same reason. It is his tool and his only tool. It is his weapon and his only weapon. He often wields it with a fanaticism far in excess of anything shown by men of science when they can collect more facts from experience and even add new facts by experiment. Sometimes the professor with his bone becomes almost as dangerous as a dog with his bone. And the dog at least does not deduce a theory from it, proving that mankind is going to the dogs-or that it came from them. For instance, I have pointed out the difficulty of keeping a monkey and watching it evolve into a man. Experimental evidence of such an evolution being impossible, the professor is not content to say (as most of us would be ready to say) that such an evolution is likely enough anyhow. He produces his little bone, or little collection of bones, and deduces the most marvelous things from it."

-G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man