Posted by Bob on November 28, 1999, at 17:23:11
In reply to Re: gack!, posted by Scott L. Schofield on November 27, 1999, at 16:40:26
> Are the appearances of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria an example of evolution or not? If not, then the hell with it. If so, it certainly happened rather quickly. It might even qualify as an example of punctuated-equilibrium.
I guess that could be a good example of punctuated equilibrium. Of course, there's one aspect of bacteria's environment (humanity and the mass bacteria extinctions it keeps causing thru anti-biotics) that in combination with short reproduction cycles makes it all that much more visible a phenomenon (unfortunately).
>... Although I didn't spend too long at it, I found that most of them (the ones *I* thought of) required evolution and/or God. The King James Bible bit really threw a monkey-wrench into the works.
But the Infinite Monkey Hypothesis has nothing really to do with evolution or God, but exists only as an amusing metaphor for "perfect" random generator -- one that produces every possible combination of letter-strings from one letter in length to whatever. I could have easily said that I could produce War and Peace by closing my eyes and poking randomly at my keyboard, given enough time (an infinite amount being certainly enough), but that's not so silly a metaphor.
> 1. Extraterrestrial beings invoking mental telepathy/telekinesis
> 2. Time machine/paradox
> 3. Transport of individuals from one of the other "Many Worlds"
> 4. A clone of P. T. Barnum tricking the world into believing it
I vote for 1&4 being possible thru evolution only, given our understanding of nature.
> As far as truth is concerned - that there may be more than one truth, or that the truth may be unknowable, or that there may be no truth at all, still all represent one Truth?
Well, that is the crux of the matter, isn't it? This is where some say the positivists led us wrong. By asserting that scientific understanding (whether derived at thru empirical research or rational argument) identifies what is True Knowledge, they mix up the issues of being and knowing. As a result, western philosophy (since the time of Locke or so) has made next to no progress on ontological issues and has some screwed up epistemological issues by assuming that coming to know the Truth included being able to identify what is True.
Geez, I hope that made sense. Seems perfectly sensible to me, and that's what worries me ;^).