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  • hardie karges 8:48 am on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Darwin, ,   

    Religion 101: DNA as a Crown of Thorns—God Genes, Gay Genes, Devils in Blue Jeans 

    crown of thorns

    crown of thorns

    There has long been scuttlebutt about some so-called ‘God Gene’… but none has ever been found. And there has long been scuttlebutt about some so-called ‘Gay Gene’… but none has ever been found. Now there is even talk of a ‘travel gene’ predisposing us travelers to lengthy peregrinations and various unnamed (unmentionable?) and unrequited desires. So what? Why does it matter? Why bother even asking the question? Thus the debate rages, long after Calvin, long after Hobbes (no, not the cartoon characters; where do you think they came from BTW?).

    Free will vs. determinism is one of the major debates of the post-classical pre-modern Christian religio-philosophic phase, long after St. Augustine incorporated Plato into the mix, and St. Thomas added Aristotle. This is closely contemporaneous with the Western philosophical tradition’s division into two opposing camps: the British Empiricists and the Continental Rationalists. For those of you unschooled in that history, that was a preference for either experience or rationality as the basis of knowledge.

    And it was no passive intellectual preference, the roots of it likely going back to Gothic pragmatic feudalism in the decentralized European countryside after the downfall of Roman hierarchical imperial cities, and continuing in the sprawling US/UK suburban piecemeal planning vs. centralized European cities to this day. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:14 am on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Darwin, ,   

    Origins of Religion, Symbolism and Happyness in Magic, Meatloaf, and Sex 

    Image result for ekekoLaugh at me if you will, but I swear that one of my earliest memories of life on this planet go straight back to the womb, via a series of vivid abstract childhood dreams characterized by light penetrating dark that I can explain no other way. Fast forward a bit and that same dreamy child is wowing the crowds (i.e. mother and father) with his cuteness when asked what he learned in Sunday school that week. As always the answer was the same: “magic.” Cue laughter.

    They didn’t laugh so hard at my answer when others asked what’s for Sunday dinner: “meatloaf.” Hey, I was just being honest. Don’t shoot the messenger. But you’d need axes to cut stares when I laid down the word ‘sex’ at the weekly Scrabble game with my father, though I quickly added (with a sh*t-eating grin), “that’s a word, right?” Fast forward to the present and I’m still being honest, though I less often play for laughs (still get a few, though) and fewer and fewer people think I’m cute… but that’s okay. I’m not trying to win any popularity contests anyway (don’t forget to press that ‘like’ button BTW). (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:49 am on February 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Darwin, , LaMarck   

    Lamarckian ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ 

    was dropped by the scientific community because it has never been experimentally verified. Has natural selection ever been experimentally verified? Has it ever even been proved that a specific random genetic mutation can lead to a specific beneficial biological advantage or even a specific trait? If a genetic mutation is admittedly neutral at the local level, then how does it become transformed into a biological advantage at the species level? Presumably the law of large numbers comes into play, and we assume that given enough time, these things just happen. Since no particular instance can be proven over such a large span of time, we simply invoke the most convenient logic, or in this case, the most scientific logic. Though ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ was dropped from the biologists’ lexicon, it’s never been dropped from the popular imagination. It would seem to be the ‘wishful thinking’ option, however, rendering it less scientific than the Darwinist rap. Still scientists talk about a species ‘adapting’ anagenetically, though this requires no mutation. Still human brains keep expanding in size with no apparent change in the DNA sequence, frequently invoking life’s challenges as explanation. Still we keep scanning the stars for radio signals, as if the exact same random genetic sequence might accidentally occur again. Certainly natural selection is not wrong, because it’s a tautology: those that survived were certainly the fittest. An impeccable scientific theory must be useful in making predictions, also, however. Just because it’s not wrong doesn’t mean that it’s right, nor does it mean that Lamarckism is wrong.

     
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