Re: virus: Sexuality

KMO prime (
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 14:37:33 EDT

On Tue, 17 Sep 1996 08:27:27 +0800 (Steve) writes:

> 2) Consciousness programmed entirely from genes. Really? Does
>realize, from all the contradictions and improbabilities that abound
>in the
>studies of biology, how silly this notion is? As one arbitrarily
>example - if all cells in an organism were 'programmed' with the same
>then why do the many different types of cells in the organism behave

Because they have different structures and functional architecture.
Still every cell in the body (with the exception of mitocodria and other
symbiants) carries the same genome (I'm talking type identity here - not
token identity) as every other cell in the body.

> As another arbitrary example - if consciousness was
>how is it that a person with, say, Chinese parents (and therefore
>'programmed' with Chinese personality) can grow up in American culture
>speaking an American accent, merging fully with the American way of
>and, with the exception of skin colour, appear in every other way to
>be as
>American as apple pie?

What is hard-wired is not every nuance of culture but the capacity to
aquire language. We come from the factory with the Chomskian
metalanguage already installed. The process of aquiring the local public
language is a relatively simple matter of setting a few operational
variables. If we aren't genetically constituted to aquire a public
language very quickly, it would be surprising that human infants raised
in California learned to speak English or Spanish like natives but the
puppies growing up in the same houshold and exposed to the same stimulus
do not.

> Apart from the intuitively self-evident
>associated with size (how could something as incredibly complex as a
>be programmed into a sperm/egg so small?), there are so many
>and absurdities that the only explanation I can provide is that
>science has
>become a fundamentalist religion, with scientists in lab-coats its

Funny thing about the intuitively self-obvious is that it changes as you
aquire new information. Also, be careful with arguments by elimination.
The argument "The only things in Texas are steers and queers and I don't
see no horns on you boy" is a valid argument. Fleshed out it looks like

1) If X is from Texas then X is a steer or X is a queer.
2) If X is a steer then x will have horns.
3) X is from Texas.
4) X is a steer or X is a queer. (1&3)
5) X does not have horns.
6) X is not a steer. (2&5)
7) X is a queer (1&6)

Given the truth of the truth of the premises the conclusion must also be
true. The argument is valid, but the coclusion is hardly reliable.
That's because not every possibility is represented in premise one.
Anytime your arguments contain phrases like "the only explanation that I
can see" or "the only remaining possibility is" a red flag should go up.
Have you really eliminated all other possibilities, or are there other
possible explanations that have yet to occur to you? Rarely is it the
case that the former is true. Another warning flag should go up whenever
your arguments go like this: "Given that there are problems with the
current so called "best explanation," the real cause must be (insert
something very simple)."

"The explanations the so called "experts" have given us for our nation's
ills are full of holes. The only explanation that makes sense is the
breakdown of the family unit ( or 'drugs' or 'the rise of secular
humanism' or 'the Bavarian Illuminati is behind it').

> 3) I keep on hearing about new, scientifically based studies
>refuting old ones.

That's because science is self-correcting. Findings that can't be
reproduced or made to fit with other more secure information must be
discarded. All scientific findings can only be granted tentative
acceptance. Scientific theories never enjoy absolute verification.
Unlike most human explanatory schemes, science does not insulate itself
from refutation by anomolous data. Your explanation for the shortcomings
of the current scientific explanations for a variety of complex phenomena
is heavily insulated against refutation by new data. Is there anything
you could hear on the news today or read in a scientific journal that you
could not incorporate into your explanatory model of the universe in
which scientists are the high priests in white lab coats rigidly
maintaining the truth of their doctrines in the face of overwhelming
contradictory evidence?

Individual scientists are human, and humans screw up, but science as an
on-going process is a self-correcting program which moves us ever-closer
to an accurate understanding of how the universe works. Let me ask you,
Steve, are you calling for an end to science or are you calling for
scientists to opperate in a more "scientific" fashion? Would you rather
see scientific research conducted according to stricter standards of
evidence and reproducibility, or would you rather see the white-coated
high priests admit that they're all scam-artists and witch-doctors and
get "real" jobs? Of course I've posed a false dichotomy, and the red
flag should have gone up. Your actual position is probably not
represented by either of the two possibilities I just offered.

Take care, Steve.