To: All Msg #78, Oct0393 02:06PM Subject: Re: Gould, Politics and Science (sort of) (was:

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From: Herb Huston To: All Msg #78, Oct-03-93 02:06PM Subject: Re: Gould, Politics and Science (sort of) (was: Re: Concealed Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA Subject: Re: Gould, Politics and Science (sort of) (was: Re: Concealed Ovulatio From: huston@access.digex.net (Herb Huston) Message-ID: <28nidk$emn@access.digex.net> Newsgroups: talk.origins In article <1993Sep30.233900.17702@midway.uchicago.edu>, asia z lerner wrote: }In article <28akn9$2k8@access.digex.net> huston@access.digex.net (Herb Huston) writes: }>In article <1993Sep23.173905.20890@midway.uchicago.edu>, }>asia z lerner wrote: }>}It seemed strange to me that while you accuse Gould of }>}being too political, you seem to fail to notice that Dawkins' }>}political agenda is all over his books. }> }>That's what you keep saying. How about furnishing a few examples from his }>writings? }> }Pronouncements about the inherent qualities of human/animal }nature are necessarily political. Dawkins claims that he }would like to avoid implications of moral necessity, but }I think that he failes to do it. He has a reverence for }biology and sees it as being able to elucidate the very }reason for human existence: A biologist with a reverence for biology. What a novel concept! }"Darwin made it possible for us to give a sensible answere... }We no longer have to resort to superstition when faced with }the deep problems: Is there a meaning to life? What are we }for? What is man" }Selfish Gene, p. 1 If you're going to post page references, it would help to post a bibliographic reference, too. I happen to have both the 1976 and 1989 editions of _The Selfish Gene_ in front of me and have determined that your quotations are drawn from the latter. You omitted the quotation from G.G. Simpson that follows: "The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely." So, please tell me which superstitious attempts to answer these questions before 1859 you consider not to be worthless. }And for those who wonder, our nature is explained thus: } }"Predominant quality to be expected in a successfull gene }is ruthless sefishness. The gene selfishness will usually }give rise to sefishness in individual behaviour" }SG p.2 Let's wrap some context around this besides correcting the initial words. "I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour. However, as we shall see, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the level of individual animals. 'Special' and 'limited' are important words in the last sentence. Much as we might wish to believe otherwise, universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are concepts that simply do not make evolutionary sense." }"For a survival machine, another survival machine ... is }part of it's environment, like a rock or a river or a lump }of food. It is somethong that gets in the way, or something }that can be exploited" p. 66 } }Presumably, the meaning of life. This quotation is incorrect, incomplete, and out of context. "To a survival machine, another survival machine (which is not its own child or another close relative) is part of its environment, like a rock or a river or a lump of food. It is something that gets in the way, or some- thing that can be exploited. It differs from a rock or a river in one im- portant respect: it is inclined to hit back. This is because it too is a is a machine that holds its immortal genes in trust for the future, and it too will stop at nothing to preserve them. Natural selection favours genes that control their survival machines in such a way that they make the best use of their environment. This includes making the best use of other sur- vival machines, both of the same and of different species." }>} Also, airing opinions of the kind "human beings are }>}basically agresive, nothing can be done about it" has political }>}impact wether the writer wants it or not. }> }>And who was the author of that quote? Reference, please. }> } }See the selfishness quote. Sorry, but it doesn't contain the statement that "human beings are basically agresive [sic], nothing can be done about it." Please furnish a reference to such a a quote. }Also } }"Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in }which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towrads }a common good, you can expect little help from biological }nature" p. 3 } }Kind of Mister Dawkins to say that we could try and do it, [...] That's Doctor Dawkins to you! }but he does make it sound kind of futile. Didn't you bother to read about memes? } Notice that we }live in a culture of efficiency - waist is immoral, so }why waist effort on the unobtainable. Obesity is immoral? } If we can't expect }help from human nature, btw, were can we get it from? God? }Whats out there outside human nature? And who is to say }that the desire for a more just arrangement, which many }human being feel and most societies from time to time }exibit does not come from human nature? No one as far as I know. Tired of flailing at that strawman? }The previous heavy passage also TOTTALY IGNORES the fact }that Dawkins himself admits later - that tit-for-tat }type of strategies in fact outbid selfishness every time. Okay. How about furnish the quotation where Dawkins makes this admission? }>}No, this lets of Social Biology much too easily. It might be }>}perfectly logically explainable that naturalness can not be }>}translated into moral imperatives, however it can be easily }>}translated into pragmatic imperatives: }>} }>}"the relationships between man and women are biologically fixed - }>}why bother with equal rights legislation, sinse it's clearly }>}useless" }> }>And who was the author of that quote? Reference, please. } I've already read ahead and noted that you didn't provide a bibiliographical reference to "the relationships between man and women are biologicially fixed - why bother with equal rights legislation, since it's clearly useless." Was my request unclear to you? }Firstly, } }"Darwin's "survival of the fittest" is really a special case }of a more general law of survival of the stable" p.12 } }Dawkins has absolutely no place in his theory of behavioural }change. Only for those who confuse "stable" with "static." } Everything seems to be in a state of maximum efficiency }adjustment. Here, I think, were the whole notion of the }difficulty of change (to a less sefish or a less hierarchical }behaviour) comes from. Now, its extremly strange to interpret }the evolutionary principle as if it was something that stabilizes, }rather than creates change. Yes, it would probably seem strange to anyone who is confusing "stable" with "static." } And again, taking in the evolutionary }facts: } }"The female sex is exploited, and the fundamental evolutionary }basis for the exploitation is the fact that eggs are larger }than sperm" p. 146 } }Larger now, and larger in the forseeable future. Exploited }now, and exploited, presumably, in the forseeable future. Let's wrap some context around this quotation, too. "So, in mammals for example, it is the female who incubates the foetus in her own body, the female who makes the milk to suckle it when it is born, the female who bears the brunt of the load of bringing it up and protecting it. The female sex is exploited, and the fundamental evolutionary basis for the exploitation is the fact that eggs are larger than sperms." What is your bioengineering program for changing these fundamental facts of mammalian biology to relieve exploitation of females? }Again, tit-for-tat, which is admitted in case of aggression, is }not even mentioned in the "battle of sexes" chapter. Its all }described in terms of winner/looser arrangements, cooperation }is just not mentioned. In the very next paragraph Dawkins writes, "Of course in many species the father does work hard and faithfully at looking after the young." Various fish are obvious examples. Of course, these fish fathers are highly motivated by their selfish genes to insure the survival of their progeny. }"Each individual wants as many surviving children as possible. }The less he or she is obliged to invest in any one of those }children, the more children he or she can have. The obvious way }to achieve this desirable state of affairs is to indice your }sexual pertner to invest more than his or her fair share of }resources in each child" p. 146 } }Why is it any more obvious than the tit-for-tat strategy? Is "more obvious" a synonym for "better?" }>}Or pragmatics : "it's useless to fight biology. It should not, }>}therefore be done" }> }>And who was the author of that quote? Reference, please. }> }It's inefficient to fight biology. Nothing in Dawkins' }book inspires you to try. You still haven't furnished a reference to "it's useless fo fight biology. It should not, therefore be done." Was my request too difficult for you to understand? }>}I am not sure how ridiculous it is. The study of animal }>}family structures can provide critique on human family }>}structure. Sociobiologist's favorite is the proof of }>}the biological nature of male/female hierarchy based on }>}the structure of primate families. }> }>Which sociobiologist(s) use this proof? Reference, please. }> } }In the chapter on "battlle of sexes", which is to explain }to us "what is the essence of maleness? What, at bottom, }defines a female" p. 140, the following enlightening examples }are used: } }Frogs, elephant seals (obviously a favorite model), }birds of paradise, fish (unspecified), horses. Neither frogs, elephant seals, birds of paradise, fish, nor horses are primates. You have still not furnished a reference for a sociobiologist's "'proof' of the biological nature of male/female hierarchy based on the struc- ture of primate families." Was my request too complex for you to understand? }>}Since their is a long history behind the abuse of sociobiology, }>}One can understand their concern. }> }>Well, I guess it would seem like a long history to college sophomores who }>were all still in diapers when _Sociobiology: The New Synthesis_ was pub- }>lished. Care to furnish some examples with references? } }There is a long history of abuse behing the notion }of inborn behavioural characteristics. It used to }be the STAPLE of racist theories. As if you don't }know. In other words, you are unable to furnish any references for your claims regarding the abuse of sociobiology and to blow smoke will flail away at dis- credited theories that predate sociobiology. Have I got that right? -- Herb Huston -- huston@access.digex.net --- Squish v1.01 * Origin: Universal Electronics Inc [714 939-6401] HST/DS (1:103/208)

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