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Author Topic:   The Great Chain of Being
Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 29 (11132)
06-07-2002 9:35 AM


On another forum I was debating a fellow evolutionist which believes the Great Chain of Being concept. I have seen claims (mainly from the late S.J. Gould) that evolution disproves the Great Chain of Being. Is he right? How do evolution disprove the Great Chain of Being?

[This message has been edited by Andya Primanda, 06-07-2002]


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by John, posted 06-07-2002 9:48 AM Andya Primanda has not yet responded
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John
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 29 (11134)
06-07-2002 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
06-07-2002 9:35 AM


quote:

1. The top of the chain represents perfection in the highest degree. Most believers in the chain call this God.

2. The chain in its entirety represents all degrees of perfection from the highest and fullest to the lowest and least; it is complete.
Spinoza, Ethics, all possibilities are actualities: 43.7 (I.16 cor.1), 56.2 (I.33 sch.2), 56.8 (I.35), 62.5 (App. to Part I), 66.9 (II.7 cor)
Leibniz, Discourse 3.

3. Hence the universe would not be complete if the chain did not extend all the way to the bottom or if it had gaps in it.

4. The universe is more perfect (in the sense that it is more complete) if all degrees of perfection are represented in it than if only the highest is represented.

Peter Suber


Is this what you mean? If so, this is an intelligent design type of theory, not evolution.

For those interested.... http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/courses/re/chain.htm


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Andya Primanda, posted 06-07-2002 9:35 AM Andya Primanda has not yet responded

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John
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 29 (11136)
06-07-2002 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by John
06-07-2002 9:48 AM


Actually, it was this Chain of Being idea which got muddled into the theory of natural selection to create the idea of Social Darwinism, which in turn was used to justify the superiority of white folk, which in turn was used to justify conquest, theft, slavery, murder and other such indicators of the higher races.

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3205 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 4 of 29 (11144)
06-07-2002 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
06-07-2002 9:35 AM


I have read or heard this claim but no one has EVER been able to maintain this position to my face. Owen has a short phrase when challenging Darwin that is suspiciously like it. It seems to me that the notion is one of an attempt to keep the likes of Osborn to history and all others who might be trying to keep whatever hybrid evolution they posses attached to Kant's idea. Dont know.
This message is a reply to:
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Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 29 (11234)
06-10-2002 3:31 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by John
06-07-2002 9:56 AM


I know that. The guy I'm debating is *supposed* to be an evolutionist, however his views are largely philosophical and not biological. He said that evolution confirms the Great Chain of Being, thereby validating his philosophical stance of perennialism. Gould in one of his books (or essays?) did something about the GCB, however I don't know how (or why) he said that evolution disproves GCB. I understand that ToE+GCB=Social Darwinism... maybe the philosophical folks (Nietzsche, etc.) are the real hijackers of ToE?

Anyway, what I am looking for is to know how evolution disproves GCB.


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 Message 3 by John, posted 06-07-2002 9:56 AM John has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Quetzal, posted 06-10-2002 4:25 AM Andya Primanda has responded
 Message 10 by John, posted 06-11-2002 11:49 AM Andya Primanda has not yet responded

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4044 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 6 of 29 (11238)
06-10-2002 4:25 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Andya Primanda
06-10-2002 3:31 AM


Andya: From the sound of it, I'm pretty sure your "evolutionist" is proposing the old idea (originally put forward by Lamarck ) that evolution consists of a change from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher. IOW, directed evolution - a change toward ever increasing perfection.

Gould was absolutely correct: the modern science of evolutionary biology has pretty much cleaned the clock of this old idea. Since evolution (as we understand it today) is actually just the change in the properties of populations of organisms over time, there is no requirement toward "increasing perfection". There are quite a few examples from nature that would appear to be arguing that some organisms have actually "decreased complexity" over the course of evolutionary history. Snakes losing their legs (evidenced by the vestigial pelvus in certain species of boa), eukaryote cellular organelles formed from originally free-living bacteria which have lost their ability to survive outside the cell as well as many of their original structures, certain virii, etc, are all examples of organisms that have "lost" functions/structures over time as they adapted to their environments. I'm sure you can come up with other examples.

If you'd like to get more info on which particular flavor of this fallacy your opponent is proposing (Bauer's orthogenesis, Haeckel's "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", etc), I can try and provide more direct refutations.

Hope this helps.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Andya Primanda, posted 06-10-2002 3:31 AM Andya Primanda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by nator, posted 06-10-2002 8:15 AM Quetzal has not yet responded
 Message 8 by Andya Primanda, posted 06-11-2002 1:43 AM Quetzal has responded
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nator
Member (Idle past 342 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 7 of 29 (11249)
06-10-2002 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Quetzal
06-10-2002 4:25 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Quetzal:
Andya: From the sound of it, I'm pretty sure your "evolutionist" is proposing the old idea (originally put forward by Lamarck ) that evolution consists of a change from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher. IOW, directed evolution - a change toward ever increasing perfection.

Gould was absolutely correct: the modern science of evolutionary biology has pretty much cleaned the clock of this old idea. Since evolution (as we understand it today) is actually just the change in the properties of populations of organisms over time, there is no requirement toward "increasing perfection". There are quite a few examples from nature that would appear to be arguing that some organisms have actually "decreased complexity" over the course of evolutionary history. Snakes losing their legs (evidenced by the vestigial pelvus in certain species of boa), eukaryote cellular organelles formed from originally free-living bacteria which have lost their ability to survive outside the cell as well as many of their original structures, certain virii, etc, are all examples of organisms that have "lost" functions/structures over time as they adapted to their environments. I'm sure you can come up with other examples.

If you'd like to get more info on which particular flavor of this fallacy your opponent is proposing (Bauer's orthogenesis, Haeckel's "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", etc), I can try and provide more direct refutations.

Hope this helps.


Horses have lost several digits and now walk on a single toe. The vestigial remnants of the lost digits can be felt on the inside and outside of the leg as long, thin "splint bones" which articulate with the knee joint but taper down to nothing before the ankle.


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Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 29 (11280)
06-11-2002 1:43 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Quetzal
06-10-2002 4:25 AM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Quetzal:
If you'd like to get more info on which particular flavor of this fallacy your opponent is proposing (Bauer's orthogenesis, Haeckel's "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", etc), I can try and provide more direct refutations.

Hope this helps.[/B][/QUOTE]

Teilhard de Chardin's Alpha--Omega evolution. It's a pity that this interesting, religion-friendly concept is unscientific, but science's all about objectivism and cruel logic...


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Quetzal, posted 06-11-2002 3:53 AM Andya Primanda has responded

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4044 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 9 of 29 (11288)
06-11-2002 3:53 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Andya Primanda
06-11-2002 1:43 AM


Too true. There have been many beautifully elegant theories that have been unceremoniously overthrown by the weight of evidence - and not just in biology. From the inheritance of acquired characteristics to cold fusion, the one thing that science teaches more plainly than anything else is that just because we "want" something to be a certain way, doesn't make it so. IMO, that's why the whole endeavor is so endlessly fascinating and engrossing.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Andya Primanda, posted 06-11-2002 1:43 AM Andya Primanda has responded

Replies to this message:
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John
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 29 (11325)
06-11-2002 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Andya Primanda
06-10-2002 3:31 AM


[QUOTE][b]Originally posted by Andya Primanda:
Social Darwinism... maybe the philosophical folks (Nietzsche, etc.) are the real hijackers of ToE?
[b][/QUOTE]

OK. Off topic really but lets not pick on Nietzsche. He hated the Fascism with which he has become nearly universally associated as well as the Social Darwinism beneath the "master race" idea. Nietzsche's superman was the idea of an individual surpassing himself. It isn't a biological concept at all. Nietzshe defined the idea as something more like "the ever-overcoming man."

'k... I'll shut-up now.

Take care.

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Andya Primanda, posted 06-10-2002 3:31 AM Andya Primanda has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3205 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 11 of 29 (11327)
06-11-2002 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Quetzal
06-10-2002 4:25 AM


Q- why then did Gould have a shelf of Buffon? My guess is he was trying to re-read Buffon's "mould" OUT not in (to) Jacob's "inacessible cardinal". There really is such a defintion in math. And Maxwell had the notion of intruments containing "disruptive cardinals".
This message is a reply to:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3205 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 12 of 29 (11328)
06-11-2002 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by John
06-11-2002 11:49 AM


Fine can I Pick up on Philosphers of the 1920s that Wrote in Nietsche as one of the four Guys kant picks apart to ground the metaphysics of morals. We can not even get metaphysics one step popular for it self if we can only still stalemate debate.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by John, posted 06-11-2002 11:49 AM John has responded

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John
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 29 (11332)
06-11-2002 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Brad McFall
06-11-2002 12:02 PM


quote:
Originally posted by Brad McFall:
Fine can I Pick up on Philosphers of the 1920s that Wrote in Nietsche as one of the four Guys kant picks apart to ground the metaphysics of morals.

Sure. I love this sort of debate, but maybe not on this forum.

Can I pick on Kant as the guy who said we can't ever ever ever know anything about the true nature of existence and about how this is an ad hoc argument to get around all the trouble that Hume fellow was causing at the time?

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 29 (11461)
06-13-2002 5:13 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Quetzal
06-11-2002 3:53 AM


OK, I want to make the debate straight. My opposition states that progress can be defined in neural complexity and stages of consciousness. He considers that his definition is the position of many scientists.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4044 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 15 of 29 (11464)
06-13-2002 7:34 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Andya Primanda
06-13-2002 5:13 AM


Ouch, you're way out of my league on that one, Andya. Neurobiology and the evolution of intelligence is waaaay beyond my technical competence. Sorry. Suggest you get him to tell you what scientists in particular are supportive of his GCB concept. Maybe we can take it from there - I do have a couple of people I could contact who'll at least give some good references.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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