A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part X

And now that we do now know how life did arise (most humble apologies, I did forget about deep-sea hydrothermal vents (1), Mars (2), clay (3), and diamonds (4)–perhaps those will be tales for another day). But life does go on, and so it did–like a juggernaut, it did march inexorably toward sentience, self-discovery, and science (2). We do now take up this blind march at the Ur-Cell level, having thoroughly and irrefutably established that no designer was involved (praise Science). And, then did begin the long history of common descent (5). A long series of speciation and extinction did result in a wide variety of life forms from a common genome. Random mutations did occur, and the beneficial mutations did result in increased fitness for survival. Those organisms who were unfit for survival did die, and those who were more fit did live (praise Science). (Continued in Part XI)

(1). http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v336/n6195/pdf/336117a0.pdf
(2). http://www.space.com/searchforlife/aliens_all_001027-2.html
(3). http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2005/10/31/hazen/
(4). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25889356/
(5). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution


8 Responses

  1. What are you trying to achieve with the “Naturalistic Fairy-Tale” series?

  2. I want people to realize just how much faith I believe is involved in these aspects of science. I am also making a caricature of what I see as science worship by many. Because these things are presented by scientists, people miss the fairy-tale quality that I find many of these explanations to have.

  3. How do you know that you’re justified in finding them to be “fairy tales”?

  4. How do you know that you’re justified in finding them to be “fairy tales”?


    You use the word, “Justify,” which probably means, “back-it-up” or “show evidence.” How do we know we’re “justified” in any of our “findings?” If humanity is the ultimate justifier, and humanity is fallible, then how can we truly justify our findings on anything? Who makes the final decision? Or is everything, even with evidence, just up for grabs?

  5. Admin — ignore previous entry and post this one instead, if you don’t mind!

    Implicit in your post, DB, is the assumption (so it seems to me) that if there’s no absolute justification, then there’s no justification at all. But I simply don’t see why I should accept this assumption. Care to convince me?

  6. I don’t expect adherents of naturalistic philosophy to enjoy my series if that’s what you are wondering Carl. I don’t think DB could possibly convince you of absolutes. I could be wrong, but I don’t think you are “wired” that way. I think you are utterly committed to there being no absolutes. But perhaps I am wrong…

  7. What I would to show DB is a point that I find in Plato and also in Hegel: that our commitment to absolutes is in a sense derived from our commitment to engage in certain kinds of conversations.

    That is, it is part of our being committed to interacting with each other in certain ways, and more specifically part of our commitment to avoid disagreements from fueling civil wars, that we find that a commitment to absolutes is desirable.

    So it’s not that DB could or couldn’t convince me accept absolutes, but rather than the discussion about whether or not to accept absolutes must take place in the absence of absolutes of the sort that the conversation aims at establishing. Instead the conversation is guided by norms of rationality and by an ethics of discourse. But since any absolutes that we might be committed to are arrived at through that conversation, the norms of rationality which make the conversation possible cannot themselves be grounded on any absolutes.

  8. I have a hard time following this argument Carl. I don’t understand how you can have an absolute that is conversation-based, but not an absolute outside of the context of a conversation. I think civil war is perhaps much more complex than a belief in absolutes, although I have not studied the subject in any detail. At any rate, I think I’m fairly committed to not letting my disagreements with others drive me to the point of war with them, unless they want to kill me.

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