The Implosion of Evillutionary Theory endnotes
So let us discuss some of the endnotes in the previous document. The purpose of this exercise is to hopefully let you understand how these great ‘thinkers’ and important ‘scientists’ of our time (usually tenured professors at various universities on your tax dollars) think about you.
1 Evolutionary epistemology refers to three distinct topics: (1) the biological evolution of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans, (2) a theory that knowledge itself evolves by natural selection, and (3) the study of the historical discovery of new abstract entities such as abstract number or abstract value that necessarily precede the individual acquisition and usage of such abstractions.
Point 1: What is a cognitive mechanism? That can best be described like this: If I tell you to sit, you will feel a reflex to sit, whether you choose to follow it or not. That reflex to sit when you hear the word would be a cognitive mechanisms. Point 2: If everything you know has evolved through natural selection, then how can you ever know anything new? What would be the purpose of having scientists since there is nothing new to discover, it has already been evolved in someone’s mind somewhere. Point 3 seems to me to be a little bit abstract. I wonder if they could clarify it?
2 Instinctive behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behavior. The simplest example is in which a very short to medium length sequence of actions, without variation, are carried out in response to a clearly defined stimulus. Any behavior is instinctive if it is performed without being based upon prior experience (that is, in the absence of learning), and is therefore an expression of innate biological factors.
The most famous is the “Fight or flight” response- do I run away to fight another day or do I fight and maybe not have another day? The most used instinctive behavior is sexual activity- in the lower classes of animals this instinct is used pretty much strictly for reproduction. Humans have changed the reflex into a pleasurable activity more so than for reproductive purposes. (The book 50 Shades of Gray Kind of defeats the instinctive angle doesn’t it).
3 John Nicholas Gray is an English political philosopher with interests in analytic philosophy and the history of ideas. He is a critic of utopian thinking in the modern world. Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion, and portrays humanity as a ravenous species engaged in wiping out other forms of life.
The history of ideas is a field of research in history that deals with the expression, preservation, and change of human ideas over time.(Kind of like a history book?) The history of ideas is a sister-discipline to, or a particular approach within, intellectual history. Work in the history of ideas may involve interdisciplinary research in the history of philosophy, the history of science, or the history of literature. A syllabus for an Honors level History of Ideas class at Arizona State University: http://barretthonors.asu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/HON394-History-of-Ideas-Syllabus-Fall-2013-Grzanka.pdf Ideas are usually construed as mental representational images of some object. Ideas can also be abstract concepts that do not present as mental images. Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a fundamental ontological (the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations) category of being. The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflexive, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place. Seems to me to be a lot of thinking about what thinking is.
4 Crick was an important theoretical molecular biologist and played a crucial role in research related to revealing the genetic code. He is widely known for use of the term “central dogma” to summarize the idea that genetic information flow in cells is essentially one-way, from DNA to RNA to protein.. His later research centered on theoretical neurobiology and attempts to advance the scientific study of human consciousness.
Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine (including neurology), genetics, and allied disciplines including philosophy, physics, and psychology. It also exerts influence on other fields, such as neuroeducation and neurolaw (Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing- neurolaw practitioners seek to address not only the descriptive and predictive issues of how neuroscience is and will be used in the legal system, but also the normative issues of how neuroscience should and should not be used. The most prominent questions that have emerged from this exploration are as follows: To what extent can a tumor or brain injury alleviate criminal punishment? Can sentencing or rehabilitation regulations be influenced by neuroscience? Who is permitted access to images of a person’s brain?). The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system. (So basically they are trying to study how and why you think and also find ways to get criminals off by blaming their thinking and not their actions for the dirty deeds done dirt cheap- sorry AC/DC song there)
5 Eric B. Baum is an American computer scientist, artificial intelligence researcher and author. He is known for his materialist and evolutionist theories of intelligence and consciousness, set forth in his 2004 book What is Thought? (ISBN 0262524570). In his book, Baum claims that intelligence, consciousness, qualia (a term used in philosophy to refer to individual instances of subjective, conscious experience) and free will are fully explained by evolution’s mandate to “exploit the compact structure of the world.”
Baum proposes that underlying mind is a complex but compact program that corresponds to the underlying structure of the world. He argues further that the mind is essentially programmed by DNA. We learn more rapidly than computer scientists have so far been able to explain because the DNA code has programmed the mind to deal only with meaningful possibilities. Thus the mind understands by exploiting semantics, or meaning, for the purposes of computation; constraints are built in so that although there are myriad possibilities, only a few make sense. Evolution discovered corresponding subroutines or shortcuts to speed up its processes and to construct creatures whose survival depends on making the right choice quickly. Baum argues that the structure and nature of thought, meaning, sensation, and consciousness therefore arise naturally from the evolution of programs that exploit the compact structure of the world. Compact: occupying a small volume by reason of efficient use of space. Structure : the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex. (Taking this concept to the far ends of the earth-no I am not a flat-earther, can’t you recognize a figure of speech when you see one, see Pinker below- one would think that humans raised in the Arctic circle would have an entirely different set of evolution programs than a camel herder in the Sahara or the Peruvians or Tibetans living along the edges of the mountains. And yet either one of them could be a computer scientist or a pediatrician or an evolutionary scientist.)
6 Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and popular science author. He is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. His academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of innuendo and euphemism.
In philosophy, a computational theory of mind names a view that the human mind or the human brain (or both) is an information processing system and that thinking is a form of computing. Despite being vigorously disputed in analytic philosophy in the 1990s, the view is common in modern cognitive psychology and is presumed by many theorists of evolutionary psychology; in the 2000s and 2010s the view has resurfaced in analytic philosophy.(Some great scientists limit what they can imagine our brains can accomplish by trying to make them into a computer. Our minds are so much more than a complex calculating, image recognition piece of machinery. We can think for ourselves and computers can only process what is provided them). An innuendo is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature. A euphemism is a generally innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant. (You either say something good or bad about the person and this guy gets paid to study how what and why you said what you said.)
7 Leon Wieseltier is an American writer, critic, amateur philosopher and magazine editor. Wieseltier has published several books of fiction and nonfiction. Kaddish, genre-blending meditation on the Jewish prayers of mourning. Against Identity is a collection of thoughts about the modern notion of identity. Wieseltier also edited and introduced a volume of works by Lionel Trilling entitled The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent.
(You and I have a moral obligation to not be stupid. Intelligence finds it own balance by connecting circles of disparate ideas that appear, on the surface, to have no shared meaning with the core goal of making everything fit better together for the advancement of our personable goals. Intelligence binds those ideas together and creates new connections for understanding. Is intelligence a value? Yes, but he is to decide who is intelligent or stupid.)
8 Thomas Nagel is an American philosopher whose main areas of philosophical interest are philosophy of mind, political philosophy and ethics. Nagel is well known for his critique of reductionist accounts of the mind, specifically the neo-Darwinian view, of the emergence of consciousness.
Religious reductionism generally attempts to explain religion by boiling it down to certain nonreligious causes. A few examples of reductionistic explanations for the presence of religion are: that religion can be reduced to humanity’s conceptions of right and wrong, that religion is fundamentally a primitive attempt at controlling our environments, that religion is a way to explain the existence of a physical world, and that religion confers an enhanced survivability for members of a group and so is reinforced by natural selection. The “hard problem” of consciousness is figuring out the relationship between mind and matter and why some matter gives rise to unitary subjects and why others don’t. Why am I conscious, and you, and my cat, but not the chair or the rock? We have literally no certainty as to what objects in the universe, other than ourselves, are also subjects because we can only know our own self as a subject. We must, then, use reasonable inference to determine what other objects in the universe are also subjects.(And if I decide that a particular rock has a consciousness and you don’t which one of us is right?)
9 Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. Most of Gould’s empirical research was based on the land snail genera Poecilozonites and Cerion. In evolutionary theory, he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology.
Gould championed biological constraints such as the limitations of developmental pathways on evolutionary outcomes, as well as other non-selectionist forces in evolution. In particular, he considered many higher functions of the human brain to be the unintended side consequence or by-product of natural selection, rather than direct adaptations. Gould believed this understanding undermines an essential premise of human sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. (Biological constraints- sounds a lot like Margaret Sanger talking about euthanasia of the certain humans with less intelligence –see Wieseltier above or those presumed dumber due to amount of melanin in their skin.)
10 Kenan Malik is an Indian-born English writer, lecturer and broadcaster, trained in neurobiology and the history of science. As a scientific author, his focus is on the philosophy of biology, and contemporary theories of multiculturalism, pluralism and race.
Malik has long campaigned for equal rights, freedom of expression, and a secular society, and in defense of rationalism and humanism in the face of what he has called “a growing culture of irrationalism, mysticism and misanthropy”. In the 1980s, he was associated with a number of Marxist organizations, including the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and Malik wrote for the RCP’s magazine Living Marxism. Malik’s main areas of academic interest are philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind, scientific method and epistemology, theories of human nature, science policy, bioethics, political philosophy, the history, philosophy and sociology of race, and the history of ideas.(I only have one question- how can you be sure his ’scientific’ work is not slanted toward his political beliefs.)
11 John Lennox is a mathematician, philosopher of science, and Christian apologist. He is a leading voice defending the notion of the relationship between science and religion. Lennox is considered to be a leading figure of the evangelical intelligentsia movement.
(What can I say one intelligent person in the entire group)