Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

To: GourmetDan; SirLinksalot; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; marron; kosta50; metmom; Jeff Gordon; Coyoteman; ...
Was life created with an ability to adapt within and proceeding from separate biological groups or was the first cell created and everything proceeded from there? Naturalists would argue the second position while creationists would argue the first, from the same observed 'change'.

Hi Gourmet Dan! I guess you could say we have an "observer problem" here: different articulations of the same evidence, both of which may actually be "true" from the respective points of view of the observers who have constructed their "experiments" differently. Personally, I regard science and philosophy (and theology is the "queen of metaphysics") not as "mutually-exclusive," but as complementary.

Indeed, as the great psychologist/philosopher Willam James -- who was keenly interested in evolution issues and quotes Darwin extensively in his magisterial classic of psychology -- wrote, "metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly." [The Principles of Psychology, originally published 1890]

Darwinists are fond of reminding us that evolution theory is not an origin of life theory. Granted, this is true. There's another problem it doesn't address: consciousness; and actually this is a problem that seems to be related to origin of life speculations. Although Darwinism isn't an origin of life theory, it may well be that the issue of the origin of consciousness is ineluctibly bound up with the same origin as life itself.

James treats of consciousness in this classical work, and lays out the problems as he sees them. In the chapter "The Mind-Stuff Theory," James said:

The point which as evolutionists we are bound to hold fast to is that all the new forms of being that make their appearance are really nothing more than results of the redistribution of the original and unchanging materials. The self-same atoms which, chaotically dispersed, made the nebula, now, jammed and temporarily caught in peculiar positions, form our brains; and the "evolution" of the brains, if understood, would be simply the account of how the atoms came to be caught and jammed. In this story no new natures, no factors not present at the beginning, are introduced at any later stage.

But with the dawn of consciousness an entirely new nature seems to slip in, something whereof the potency was not given in the mere atoms of the original chaos.

In the case of consciousness, the "potency" upon which evolution "acts" is not there at the origin, whatever the origin may have been. So how to account for consciousness? How and when did it sneak in?

Some schools of evolutionary psychology have attempted to introduce a theory of consciousness based on discrete cell intelligence; thus consciousness is to be understood as the composite of a congeries of "smart" cells which comprise the physical brain. On this view, consciousness is an epiphenomenon of physical brain activity which has no independent causal power of its own.

The theory in question [i.e., Darwin's evolutionary theory], therefore, if radically carried out, must set up for its elementary and irreducible psycho-physic couple, not the cell and its consciousness, but the primordial and eternal atom and its consciousness.

But why stop there? Just as cells are composites of atoms, so are atoms composites of nuclei and electrons. Electrons appear to be indivisible; but protons and neutrons which make up the nucleus are themselves composites of even smaller parts, the subatomic particles (the list of which seems still to be growing). So a "cell theory" of consciousness doesn't rest on ultimate grounds. Though it is certainly convenient for science to employ it; it "quantizes" consciousness, which helps make it tractible in scientific applications.

But James strongly argues that in the mind/brain relation, the entire consciousness is "indivisible" -- not "quantizeable" -- and coextensive with the entire current brain state, not just individual brains cells or any combination of them.

I dunno. To me it seems that saying consciousness is the ultimate product of primordial cells as it expresses via evolution is just to say we aren't going to deal with consciousness; because it, like the origin of life, is just too difficult a problem.

James wraps up this chapter with an observation: "...nature in her unfathomable designs has mixed us of clay and flame, of brain and mind, ... the two things hang indubitably together and determine each other's being, but how or why, no mortal may ever know."

It appears that Charles Townes would not be scandalized by such a view.

Anyhoot, I still say that Darwinist evolution theory is "incomplete." This drives my Darwinist friends a little nutz, 'cause they just don't see it that way. But to me, the theory has got to be incomplete if, as a life science, it knows nothing about the origin of life and consciousness....

8 posted on 05/16/2007 11:29:56 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies ]


To: betty boop
Anyhoot, I still say that Darwinist evolution theory is "incomplete." This drives my Darwinist friends a little nutz, 'cause they just don't see it that way. But to me, the theory has got to be incomplete if, as a life science, it knows nothing about the origin of life and consciousness....

Nice try.

Germ theory doesn't say anything about those things either, so I guess its a pretty incomplete theory?

And my lawnmower doesn't cook breakfast, so its incomplete?

(Most of the thread seems to be psychobabble. Not my field.)

10 posted on 05/16/2007 1:58:35 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies ]

To: betty boop
"Hi Gourmet Dan! I guess you could say we have an "observer problem" here: different articulations of the same evidence, both of which may actually be "true" from the respective points of view of the observers who have constructed their "experiments" differently. Personally, I regard science and philosophy (and theology is the "queen of metaphysics") not as "mutually-exclusive," but as complementary."

What I found interesting is that Towne could recognize a 'fantastic postulate' wrt the universe, yet overlooked the same 'fantastic postulate' wrt evolution. It was a fascinating insight into the inconsistencies of his beliefs."

"Darwinists are fond of reminding us that evolution theory is not an origin of life theory. Granted, this is true."

That's a modern-day cop-out born out of necessity. It was not always so. Early Darwinists loved the 'primordial ooze' concept that supposedly generated life spontaneously. As the evidence for abiogenesis receded into the distance, the paradigm was changed to exclude abiogenesis from 'evolution'. Ask them this, at what point did molcules begin 'evolving' [changing]? Before they became alive or after? They can hardly argue after because then they need a fully-functional cell to self-assemble. Obviously, some evolutionary 'change' had to be occurring before life appeared and methinks they protesteth too much.

"But James strongly argues that in the mind/brain relation, the entire consciousness is "indivisible" -- not "quantizeable" -- and coextensive with the entire current brain state, not just individual brains cells or any combination of them."

"I dunno. To me it seems that saying consciousness is the ultimate product of primordial cells as it expresses via evolution is just to say we aren't going to deal with consciousness; because it, like the origin of life, is just too difficult a problem."

That's pretty weak, but so is the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP)and that has become so accepted that most people don't even remember that there used to be a Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP). The WAP being that the universe looks designed for life because only a universe with that complement of physical laws could generate life to observe it [necessitating an infinite number of universes model so that you can conceive the belief that it is possible to get one like ours randomly] while the SAP says that the universe looks designed for life because it is.

You can bet that they are working on a more acceptable way to explain-away that little consciousness problem. James may have it with his little 'not quantizable' argument. Anything that gives them enough wiggle room to 'conceive the belief' that evolution can accomodate the inconsistent evidence.

12 posted on 05/16/2007 5:12:33 PM PDT by GourmetDan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies ]

To: betty boop
but how or why, no mortal may ever know."

Leibniz has the third take and was probably right, as Herder suggested. James was on that track a century later. Now, yet another century later, the consciousness seems to be lodged in the claustrum and chooses whether to go ahead with motion the body suggests. Usually it says 'not,' which makes free will more of 'free won't.' That is, the consciousness decides to not do or lets the motion proceed. Cartesian duality is out.

30 posted on 05/19/2007 9:54:17 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Treaty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article


FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson