The Case of Evolutionary Determinism vs. Freedom

E.D.: We presume that the Court of Quaker Opinion is humble enough to trust the unfolding of evolutionary destiny.

Freedom: Humility demands that you consider the possible unfolding of evolutionary destruction, as well.

E.D.: In either case, we need to respect the cosmic control of evolution.

Freedom: Which is your way, as the ancient Greeks before you, of deifying evolution, or cosmos.

E.D.: God works through natural processes, which over time reach completion.

Freedom: And evil works through human nature, which over time reaches depletion.

E.D.: Both are part of evolutionary determinism.

Freedom: Unless you can see the wisdom of each cosmic force neutralizing the determined effect of the other.

E.D.: Allowing a middle ground for something undetermined - between the power for good and the power for evil?

Freedom: Or, between progressive development to perfected completion and going to hell in a hand basket!

E.D.: I guess this is where human freedom and responsibility/morality come in?

Freedom: Somehow we knew that "U" had the "E.D."  as your handle for a reason.

Views: 153

Comment by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 20, 2014 at 4:24pm

Back when I studied chess I used to like Botvinnik's games -- because his moves made so much sense that whenever I knew what was going on I could often see them coming.

Douglas Hofstadter had one model of how a human mind works that 1) wasn't anything like what the physiologists think is going on but 2) still would have produced pretty much the same qualitative workings: ie He imagined relatively 'solid' structures built up by the motions of little fluid objects, working to direct those objects' motions to follow those patterns, thereby reinforcing the structures that produced them -- His characters in a certain dialogue had guessed somehow (intuitively?) that this was what was "really" going on in their heads, even though they imagined they were thinking and feeling and deciding things. I couldn't find any logical holes in his system because there weren't any: Any coherent model of how a human mind can operate, of how we would want it to operate helpfully -- would have to look like this in practice.

Given that our minds are both coherent and free... then any model of how they work must be in some way incomplete. 

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 3rd mo. 22, 2014 at 12:13pm

Who's talking about minds? Freedom is in the will of humanity, which can decide/act against the inherent ignorance/limitedness of the mind. 

Comment by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 22, 2014 at 5:23pm

If there was anything I ever did without my mind, I didn't notice? I may have actually done a few things without any perceived body -- ie, thinking while in a dream state -- but overall 'I' seem to be a package deal. Maybe your experience has differed?

"Mind," of course, doesn't need to mean 'merely the intellect' etc.


Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 3rd mo. 28, 2014 at 9:18am

A Carpenter(W.B.) put this together in 1874 via "Principles of Mental Physiology": "...the brain, through unconscious cerebration, produces results which might never have been produced by thought."

Comment by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 28, 2014 at 11:59am

Though the brain has some limited data processing capabilities, it might be best to  think if it as an interface?

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 4th mo. 2, 2014 at 2:49pm

Bested already, Friend, by "The Singularity", as not only an intelligence explosion but operative-consciousness that 'feels' the way information is processed.


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