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Unread August 21st, 2006, 08:15 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Battle Against Scientific Illiteracy

Carey: Given the distinction between bodies of inanimate matter and populations of living organisms capable of passing heritable information from one generation to the next, I'd have thought it'd be obvious that natural selection is irrelevant to cosmic evolution . . .
Yes Carey, one would have thunk . . . but, alas, it seems that the concept of “selection” can be so deceptively seductive that even physicists, albeit the lesser physicists, will sometimes succumb to its allure—from Wiki:
Cosmological natural selection is a hypothesis proposed by Lee Smolin intended as a scientific alternative to the anthropic principle. It addresses the problem of complexity in our universe, which is largely unexplained. Just a few minor changes in the mass of certain elementary particles or in the strength of the forces of the universe would prevent atoms from forming, let alone galaxies. Since natural selection has explained the complexity of life so well in biology, this concept is borrowed and applied to cosmology in an attempt to explain the complexity of the universe. Cosmological natural selection is also referred to as the theory of Fecund universes.
Let’s face it Carey, “selection,” like “emergence,” is just one of those deceptively circular/tautological cool sounding terms that seem to explain so much, but that really don’t. Thanks for noting, appropriately I think, that you’d “have thought it'd be obvious that natural selection is irrelevant to cosmic evolution,” which then allowed me to provide this great example of how the “selection” concept can even seduce physicists, albeit the lesser physicists, into thinking that they understand/can explain more than they actually do/can.

Carey: In fact, I think that comparing the two [the theory of gravitation and selection] is a pretty empty exercise altogether.
Well Carey, then it seems, after all, that you do more or less agree with me that Darwinians (and I suppose the lesser physicists too) need to avoid notions like natural selection (or “evolution”) “being comparable in any substantial way to the superb theory of gravitation.” I’m delighted Carey. It seems you’re evolving. Makes my day.

Last edited by Fred H.; August 21st, 2006 at 09:38 AM.
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