Evolution, directional and random

Greg Schofield g_schofield at dingoblue.net.au
Sun Dec 2 02:52:27 MST 2001

--- Message Received ---
From: nemonemini at cosmiverse.com
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 19:46:14 GMT
Subject: Evolution, directional and random

"There is probably some greater process of cosmological
or other unknown naturalistic factor in the emergence of life and its
evolution, and this doesn't, as such, contradict, the facts of
natural selection."

I think John you have hit on a real problem which jumps the gun. For those that see spiritual expression as merely an error or ideology consider this dilema.

In order for science to establish itself it had to mark out a territory (ie subject materials). It had to limit itself from the begining in order to find the logic concealed within these fragments. As far as I am concerned we are still in this initial phase - we have many sciences but no singular science as such (no overall singualr conception). To attempt such a thing immediately plunges us into cosmological-cum-philosophical-cum-spiritual-cum-mystical speculation. Given the state of science what else can be expected.

Your criticism of Gould is therefore quite correct (and I love Gould) he deals with it by dismissing it from the stage. But the problem does remain, science is incomplete until it has a grand unifying conception (not a reference to the same quest in physics). The whole remains, my point would be that it will remain for some time to come until the all the sciences becomes part of single historical science. Meanwhile it is a hole - that is the directionality of history which we know exists because we exist, is not explicable at this level of scientific development (perhaps with the exception of theoretical physics which seems to be heading in that direction albeit within an extremely self-limited way).

Science must show show the non-driectionality of development in order to lay the foundations for finding its directionailty (that is at a scientifically valid level). We are in the process of dispelling false directionalities, we are nowhere close to discovering the historical logic of the universe (which is the bit that I would say is implied by all the sciences and at the same-time clearly demonstrated to be beyond our reach).

The Gould solution is reasonable within his field, in fact absolutely necessary to preserve the science within it. But the hole remains.

Just because we cannot fill the hole, we should not con ourselves into believing that it does not exist - it does and it is the commonest desire that it should be filled that motivates scientists and other thinkers, but it is an impasse for the foreseeable future.

So we should acknowledge its existence, by acknowledging the historical limits of science including Historical Materialism - attempting to fill it with quasi-science, ignore it or just paper-over its existence, introduces a form of "scientific" ideology more deadly than any form of mysticism provided by religious lunies.

If I was to criticise what you have said John it would be the apparent attempot to have the hole filled - whereas I would be saying let us pay attention to the limits of science as it has developed, see that the whole thing is far from complete and change our response to geniune spiritual efforts to supply answers (answers for human existence, not scientific ones).

We can all afford becoming less mechanisitic and realising that spiritual, religous understandings are far preferrable to humanity falling under the spell of mechanistic quasi-science. We can use science effectively however, to better define just where such understandings are additives to human existence and where they become subtractive to it.

"The whole theory is dangerously speculative
here, and Creationists, and I don't like saying it, are justified in
saying 'Bullshit!'. It is not however likely to be a spiritual versus
material question, that is not my point at least. "

However, it would be my point (not the Craetionist cretins obviously), it is precsisely to make conscious room for a higher level of sprititual recognition amongst us (I wuse recognition, both as a tolerance for an alien approach, and a realisiation of the actual limits of science as it now exists - higher because it should not be uncriticially accepted but judged on its own merits - which cretineous creationists would faile dismally).

Greg Schofield
Perh Australia

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