Thursday, October 12, 2006

Frazz




A couple of ironic things about this comic. First, the law of abiogensis is at least as well established as the law of gravity--it also has no known violations. Second, logical positivists would argue that the statement "humans are made of blood, phlegm, and two kinds of bile" is actually a more scientific statement. It's wrong, but it's observable, testable and repeatable, and therefore scientific.

5 Comments:

Blogger Noumenon said...

Abiogenesis is not a part of evolution. Origin of the Species had nothing to say about it and Darwin would have been fine with the idea that the first organism was produced by a Creator. (Those are pretty sketchy links.) Evolution definitely implies the question of "Where'd the first replicator come from," but it's a theory about replicators, not about the origins of life.

The comic doesn't make any good points, though, except for the barrel of monkeys prop. Math is not a kind of science, for one thing.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

Evolution definitely implies the question of "Where'd the first replicator come from," but it's a theory about replicators, not about the origins of life.

Implies as in it is a necesary assumption, e.g., it is foundational.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

It can be foundational without being part of the theory of evolution, the way chemistry answers the question of "where do the building blocks come from?" by appealing to a separate theory of quantum mechanics.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

It can be foundational without being part of the theory of evolution, the way chemistry answers the question of "where do the building blocks come from?" by appealing to a separate theory of quantum mechanics.

This is a very convenient redefinition of terms to avoid a weak argument. Without origins the argument becomes, does life show a pattern of improvement or decline? That is very different from the argument between creation and evolution.

Without the spontaneous generation of new organisms, you need either another biological replicator to make it (which simply moves the problem to someplace where there is no evidence), or you need a non-biological creator. If you do have a non-biological creator, then we know that it is both brilliant, and callously incompetent. Creating life, as our biologists are discovering, is an incredibly complicated process. Leaving it to kill itself and improve via random chance is callously incompetent.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

If I redefined the term "foundational," it's because it's a really confusing term. No science is ever really developed from what you'd call its foundations, they start from easily available observations instead. And you can do a lot of science ignorant of its "foundations," like studying grammar without knowing linguistic origins or biology without knowing about cells. So I was like, simultaneously I can't deny that abiogenesis is at the bottom of an infinite regress of evolution, yet it's not at all the kind of foundation like a geometrical postulate that would be necessary to develop the rest of the theory.

It's like you're saying the big bang is foundational to Newtonian physics because for an object in motion to stay in motion, something must have set the objects in motion in the first place. Newtonian mechanics just don't concern themselves with a universe where nothing has been set in motion, and evolution doesn't concern itself with a world in which there are no replicators. They're outside the theory.

(Evolutionists try not to make judgments on whether life has been "improving" or "declining," because those judgments tend to be anthropocentric. A trilobite that didn't have to change its body plan in x million years might say life's current struggle to adapt was a decline.)

8:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home