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He might be getting senile. He is at the right age. However Jimmy Carter isn't by himself in his view. Several senators have said the same thing, and Maureen Dowd just wrote an editorial in the NYtimes saying the exact words practically. You might think these people are grossly wrong but senile doesn't follow.
You have to understand what logic is capable of, and I am perfectly aware of all the self-referential, defeatist and absurd sentences that arise in an imperfect, archaic grammar. This is why logic is often explored using symbols and algebra, but we have to make due with the tools we have. And that is precisely what logic is: a tool. Logic cannot prove anything, nor can is discover anything new. It can merely show that something is inconsistent or contradictory. It's therefore a desirable thing to understand in abstract in order to evaluate internal consistency, but there is a point when it becomes pedantic.
I concede (though I never explicitly claimed otherwise) that many sentences are logically impossible or paradoxical. It would be foolish to deny that. But, like in the law, there is a useful distinction between the letter and the intent -- that is to say, even though "The local bookstore sells all classes of books" is literally nonsensical, it's counter-productive not to recognize what the person who said that meant, in that perhaps the bookstore contains many genres and types of books.
The deconstructionists have been post-modern opportunists by taking up the literalist, purist position of the logic inherent in language. They have pointed out that language itself makes it impossible to be not self-referential to some extent, and thus circular. Similarly I could quite easily "deconstruct" virtually anything you have said so far -- no matter how axiomatic -- into a contradictory trail-mix. Luckily I am not so nihilistic, and recognize that the subjectivity and limits of language and logic arise because of human psychology, and not because reality is ineffable.
I hope that answer is satisfactory. If we are going to continue might I suggest creating a new debate or area to debate because right now our discussion is buried.
I'm baffled at how a sentence that barely contained two propositions could in anyway be logically inconsistent. At worst you could accuse me of tautology for the "to judge you need a fair trial" remark, but as useless as pointing that out would be, it even wouldn't be necessarily be true as trial is qualified, and at any rate the whole thing is self evident.
I will in-turn demonstrate your failure to reason.
I'm genuinely curious. If you so fancy yourself such an Aquinas, pray tell.
The methodology for inferring common descent has broken down. Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution are forced into reasoning that similarity implies common ancestry...
You misunderstand the evidence. Similarities are important hints, but they aren't the whole of it. Consider ERVs. ERVs are dormant retroviruses that, like HIV, essentially locks itself in the DNA of its host. The difference with HIV is that ERVs by definition don't do anything. They're duds. However, once an animal gets an ERV the "marker" on its DNA will, along with the rest of its genes, get passed onto its offspring.
For example, suppose our common ancestor with chimps had, from its forebears, had within it 6 ERVs randomly placed along its DNA. ERVs can be removed by mutations but in general they don't because if they don't harm the species, removing it would not be favored or unfavored by natural selection. So after this ancestor splits off in its evolution, one branch becoming modern chimps, the other becoming modern humans, in theory both the chimps and the humans should retain these genetic markers, "ERVs" in the same spots along their DNA. Could it be a coincidence? Well, as we've all heard from our enthusiastic biology teachers, our genetic code is such that it could fill bookshelves with all the necessary volumes. There is, for anyone ERV, 3,000,000,000 (3 billion) bases it could integrate with -- and it does so randomly. The chances that there would even be ONE match up is extremely improbably, let alone a handful, let alone dozens, let alone hundreds.
This isn't just theory, nor is this just a potential. ERVs are very real, and humans and chimps share many more than 6. So do all related species, and it is just one irrefutable proof of common ancestry. There are many, some even more profound. Scientists aren't stupid.
That is certainly no argument from which I would infer you have satisfactorily learned logic. Reading, studying, and being a big fan of any subject, are not the equivalent of knowing any given subject, competently.
That's self-evident. To point that out isn't to be making a profound point, it's simply a red-herring disguised as captain obvious. Can we please just actually talk about the subject instead of meander through this rhetoric and logically pomposity.
Which is it, either my replies are fallacious or they are not fallacious? Are you using the word seem to suggest your uncertainty of the qualities of my replies?
Would you prefer if I said, "it is demonstrably the case that you are being illogical" instead of "you seem to be the illogical one," or instead would you prefer that we quit these juvenile games of semantics.
You strike me as someone who just read a pamphlet on logical fallacies and hasn't yet felt the pangs of their diminishing returns in evaluating discourse. What you quote is not a Tu Quoque, though it wouldn't matter greatly if it was. A proper example of Tu Quoque is best summarized in the maxim "two wrongs don't make a right." Its the point that, if someone criticizes you for say, planting pipe bombs, it doesn't negate the immorality of planting pipe bombs to say that the fellow accusing you is guilty as well. What you quoted, conversely, is me saying in short that I will engage with you in any debate on the condition that you are open to changing your mind. Any productive dialog, you would agree, requires an open mind -- if only a crack.
This is your first challenge: How can one explore unfamiliar ways of thinking? Please explain.
I was hoping your challenge would be related to biological evolution, but if we must play these troll games: Exploring unfamiliar ways of thinking simply means to consider new ideas with the necessity of an open mind -- because we can't judge a priori the validity of a dialectic, belief or piece of evidence without first giving it a fair trial.
Now here's your challenge: Drop the rhetoric and make a substantive argument, either positively, or disputing something related to evolution I've said in past posts.
You completely misunderstand what evolution is. There is not a single fossil that isn't transitional in some sense. However transitional fossils aren't like Kirk Cameron's infamous "craco-duck". They're all fully function, unique species that are adapted to their current environment. Early birds, which are descended from dinosaurs, evolved proto-feathers -- not as a "transition" to flight, but as a real time adaptation to the cold weather the ice age brought. It was only later that new circumstances adapted those insulating, hollow feathers to flight. Thus you won't find in the fossil record a half chicken, half t-rex. Instead you find a gradually changing morphology.
We have legged whales, for example, not because evolution had produced in the interim a half-cow-like creature and a half-orca-like creature, but because it was a uniquely adapted, fully functioning species, descended from a land mammal that had slowly adapted for water. As evolution further tailored it for water, legs grew less significant, however whales retail a pelvis and they even have deactivated genes for legs.
Similarly there are species of Salamander that blur the lines between salamander and snake. They are long and narrow, have defunct legs and so slither over the ground. Yet again they were fully functional, and represented gradual shift towards the serpentine, without any freakish hybrid.
Returning to birds, it is well known that chickens have deactivated genes for serrated teeth. Horses have deactivated genes for extra toes, and we know from the fossil record that early horses had more toes. The examples simply abound.
Follow this lineage for the evolution of birds, plus the changing description of each.
Follow this lineage for whales. It's fascinating.
You ask the question: What is the natural process that writes genetic code. The answer that we've known to be the case for well over 150 years is natural selection. Once you understand the chemical nature of genetics, and evolution of DNA itself from RNA, natural selection really is as easy as water flows down hill. That is: Once you have replication with variation (something that occurs with basic chemistry) natural selection end up saying the following: that when something replicates and is better suited for further replication it will tend to replicate better. It's really a no-brainer. You further assert that natural forces can do none of this. I beg to differ! It's been observed not only indirectly through our DNA and the fossil record, but also directly, in laboratory experiments -- from every kind of bacteria you can imagine to small animals and insects.
Why, just the other day I read an article on a long experiment with fruit flies to give them increased longevity to better understand the aging process. The hypothesis was that organisms die of old age because after they've mated there is no natural selection pressure against it. Therefore, by introducing an environment that rewards the organism that has mates later in life, you will slowly evolve a species with an extended longevity. That is just what they did, and now there are labs with fruit flies living to the human equivalent of say 500 years! (I don't know the exact equivalency but it is a very long time).
So it comes down to not just denying overwhelming indirect evidence (plus the irrefutable like ERVs), but also denying direct observation! Instead creationists invent terms like 'micro-evolution' vs 'macro-evolution', which in actual evolutionary biology don't exist. That's like believing in inches but not feet. Nevertheless, the so called 'micro-evolution' is still 'writing genetic code,' albeit the equivalence of new words and sentences, whereas I guess 'macro-evolution' would be a paragraph or a chapter. Look, there has been over a century of debate and questioning on evolution, and none of what you said wasn't already addressed in the first edition of The Origin of Species. There has also been over a century of profound and overwhelming research -- to the point where you can find detailed papers on the evolution of nearly any animal! -- that if you ignored it you would be doing a great disservice to yourself and mankind.
I've personally studied logic in school and in my spare time by reading Russel, Popper and just basic logic primers. I also am a big fan of Skeptic Magazine and debunking, both of which demand a keen understanding of fallacy.
On the contrary, it is your replies that seem to me to be fallacious. From false dichotomies to unsupported inferences, you worsen your hypocrisy by being incredibly condescending and dismissive.
I'll gladly accept any challenge you off me and without the highfalutin patronage -- on the one condition that you are actually open to expanding your knowledge and exploring unfamiliar ways of thinking. If you aren't then it will only me an exercise in pretense.
Excellent post andsoccer, in contraposition to lawncares babble. The only part I would nit pick at is the very first sentence. I don't think the existence of phenomena like horizontal gene transfer necessarily make the term Darwinism obsolete. While I would whole heartily agree that Evolutionary Biology would be a much better term, Darwinism is in its normal sense used to mean 'natural selection' -- and it is undeniably the case that whether the adaptation was an internal mutation or some sort of purloining from another organism, it ends up coming down to whether that amended organism will survive or parish.
Darwin only spoke of variation. The mechanism of variation was to him a matter incident to be determined by future generations with improved technologies, as you mentioned.
Again, it was hard to tell just to whom you were directing that at, but if it's me I'm frankly confused. I didn't say anything arrogant at all.
If it was for me, I'd still like to know what your objections to darwinism are so I can consider them, and maybe in the future have a formal debate.