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Author Topic:   the rules in science
Agobot
Member (Idle past 3611 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 106 of 123 (486238)
10-17-2008 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by Syamsu
10-17-2008 10:21 AM


Re: Subjective interpretations
syamsu writes:

But tell me Agobat, do you in general obey the rule that you refer all questions about what ought and ought not to the spiritual? Making a clear distinction between is and ought, material and spiritual, or do you allow to mix it up?

Well it's hard to explain. My "religion" is closer to that of Einstein and Stephen Hawking as in:

"It is better not to use the word "god" to describe what I believe because most people use the word to mean a being with whom one can have a personal relationship. Stephen Hawking

In that sense and based on what i've learned from science I come to the conclusion that the spiritual emerged as a result of the interaction of homo sapiens with the environment. IMO about 40 000 years ago something mysterious took place, something that could only be explained by the intricate nature of the human mind - it was the first cave drawings. Art and IMAGINATION were beginning to emerge, laying the foundations for the arrival of spirituality and religions. I don't think spirituality existed much before that time, say 100 000 BC. IMO, spirituality is just a human reaction to the environment. I am not basing my conclusions for the existence of a creator on faith, spiritual experiences, or dogma. If there is a creator, he wants to remain anonymous, he wouldn't reveal himself in any obvious ways to humans.
But then if by spiritual you also mean subjective as a human trait, i'd say science cannot and has no right to deal with certain categories like:

Is a ferrari 430 beautiful or not?

Is life meaningless or not?

Are bigger breasts more beautiful than smaller?

Does size matter?

Etc.

I don't use science all the time, i am human and science is not what's dictating my life.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind"

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever - This is a somewhat new kind of religion"

-Albert Einstein


This message is a reply to:
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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 107 of 123 (486258)
10-17-2008 7:27 PM
Reply to: Message 104 by Syamsu
10-16-2008 2:03 PM


Syamsu writes:

quote:
I already said, the blind pitiless indifference example was good enough, there is no use in bringig up more examples of evolutionists blending ought with is.

Yup. Same assertions. Slightly different words. No supporting argument made. No points, or refutations addressed. No questions answered.

Same old, same old.

As predicted.

[I hope you don't mind the use of your words, Straggler.]

Might you provide a single piece of documentation to support your assertions?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by Syamsu, posted 10-16-2008 2:03 PM Syamsu has not yet responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 108 of 123 (486296)
10-18-2008 9:49 AM
Reply to: Message 106 by Agobot
10-17-2008 10:55 AM


Re: Subjective interpretations
But then if by spiritual you also mean subjective as a human trait, i'd say science cannot and has no right to deal with certain categories

I don't think it has anything to do with "rights". Who decides what is "right" and on what basis? Syamsu's silly idea of a "rule" is just nonsense. However there are inherent limitations to that which science can study and the nature of the questions it can answer. With that I agree. These are practical limitations derived from the ability of science to only study that which is empirical. Such investigation can never reveal whether or not we should do something. These are moral and inherently philosophical questions.

Whether or not we should impose the death sentance for certain crimes is an example of a question that science can never answer.

I would hope that we can answer such questions with a combination of reason and a base agreement as to the nature of the society in which we wish to live. But how we want to live is a subjective decision which will vary considerably from culture to culture and even from person to person. Science cannot be used to answer questions that pertain to such decisions.

Having said that science can supply us with greater factual knowledge on which to base our decisions and can even explain why it is that we tend to make some of the choices that we do.

This is not the same as science telling us what we should do. This is where Syamsu is getting confused.

Is a ferrari 430 beautiful or not?

Agreed. Beauty is a wholly subjective concept. Science cannot tell us what is beautiful. Or what should be considered to be beautiful.

BUT science may well tell us what sort of things humans tend to consider beautiful and the basis on which the very concept of beauty may be derived. We might very well even be able to predict that which the majority of people will consider to be beautiful and design accordingly.

This is not the same as saying that science tells us what is beautiful or what it is that we should consider to be beautiful.

The distinction is subtle.

Is life meaningless or not?

Agreed. The "meaning of life" or lack of it is again a wholly subjective thing.

BUT again science may well tell us the sort of things that will tend to give people feelings of satisfaction in life. As evolved creatures it would be very surprising if biologically reproducing were not something we were innately driven to do. As complex social creatures it would be surprising if we did not do this in a complex and social way.

Can science tell us whether we should fall in love and start having babies? No.
But it can tell us that many people will tend to find great satisfaction and even meaning in doing so. And explain why that is.

This no more means that the bachelor writing books all his life has had an any more or less meaningful life than someone who has had 15 children. He may or may not depending on your point of view. But science is unable to tell us what should be considered important in life.

What should be considered important or meaningful is a subjective question that science cannot answer.

Are bigger breasts more beautiful than smaller?

As before beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
BUT science can tell us what we are more likely to find physically attractive and why. The psychology of advertising is quite telling in this area.

Do you have to adhere to this? No. Should you adhere to this? This is a meaningless question. Science cannot tell us what we should do or think.

As evolved physical creature we are able to scientifically study ourselves. This will explain and even predict much of our behaviour. Anyone who works in advertising can tell you that!!!!!

But knowing what drives us to tend to behave in certain ways and to tend to make certain choices is not the same as telling us what choices we should make.

The distinction is subtle but important.


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3114 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 109 of 123 (486356)
10-18-2008 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by Straggler
10-16-2008 4:07 AM


Re: Geting on the Bufo-Go-Round
Here is a use of the word “rule” (Kant "Introduction to Logic 1800)

Click to enlarge

which does not seem incompatible with Darwin’s thought that it might be “good” in imagination to suspect some form over “any” other (
quote:
”It is good thus to try in our imagination to give any form some advantage over another.”
On Natural Selection page 19 Penguin Books).

Click to enlarge

It appears that this(fitness valuation) could have been applied to Bufo melanostictus


Click to enlarge
(Sheldon Guttman , Biochemical Techniques and Problems in Anuran Evolution) in Evolutionary Biology of the Anurans ed by Vial) using the same connotation of the word “form” of Darwin and “rule” of Kant.

Kant’s text appears to be able to criticize Darwin’s as Syamsu has horizoned whether one likes his postings or not.

Edited by Brad McFall, : missed pic


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 110 of 123 (486363)
10-19-2008 5:50 AM
Reply to: Message 106 by Agobot
10-17-2008 10:55 AM


Re: Subjective interpretations
It seems you don't understand freedom. In a decision new information is introduced, the information which way the decision turns out.
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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 111 of 123 (486364)
10-19-2008 6:09 AM
Reply to: Message 108 by Straggler
10-18-2008 9:49 AM


Re: Subjective interpretations
So then you use 2 definitions for beauty, objective and subjective, but since the subjectivity doesn't apply to the spiritual, because you don't acknowledge the spiritual, your subjective applies to the material, and therefore your subjective is also objective.

So what happens then is that the great leader says that we all share the value of preserving our race, and we share the value of struggle with other races, which results in the best races to be preserved.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 112 of 123 (486369)
10-19-2008 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 109 by Brad McFall
10-18-2008 10:15 PM


Good to be Bad
Kant’s text appears to be able to criticize Darwin’s as Syamsu has horizoned whether one likes his postings or not.

Really? Could you be more explicit?

What is the "rule" in question and how exactly does Darwin break this rule?

Darwin writes:

It is good thus to try in our imagination to give any form some advantage over another

Doesn't this just mean: "It is worth trying to imagine how one form could have an advantage over another"? Where worth in this context relates to ones desire to consider the evolution of different forms.

If this is the only or even best example of Darwin claiming that the ability for something to survive equates with it's moral "goodness" then it is so tenuous as to kind of prove my point.

Isn't this a problem of language rather than anythinge else? The term "good" can mean able, contextually worthwhile, giving of satisfaction or descriptive of being morally right. Plus many more besides.

He is good at running.
It was a good thing that he studied before his exams.
It is good to get some fresh air.
Helping people is good.

Syamsu seems to me to be confusing the first (meaning able) as used in science and evolution with the last (meaning morally right).

In this context the statement:

"He was good at being bad"

Would seem to make no sense but we all know this actually means that the person in question was actually well adept at being morally dubious.

Is this potentially confusing use of the same term a feature of other languages or unique to English?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3114 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 113 of 123 (486374)
10-19-2008 2:13 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by Straggler
10-19-2008 11:31 AM


Re: Good to be Bad
Ok, the torque begins...
(I do not want to take this thread too far by working through Kant's text to the intersection with the holes issue I opened my positngs in this thread with...but that gives a more complete answer...)
I will be staying with Kant's terms, so far. I will not use our ability to cognize a sentence like, "It is good to be bad."

The dispute in this thread seems to come through the distinction on pg 41 of Kant's Intro

quote:
In order to be able to decide this important question (what is truth) we must be able to distinguish that in our knowledge which belongs to the matter of it and refers to the object, from that which concerns the mere formas the condition without which knowledge would not be knowledge at all. Attending to this distinction of between the objectiveand the subjective and formal aspect of our knowldege..
assuming the question "what is truth?" adequately binds the Straggler/Syamsu difference.

Assuming that Kant decides that this qustion falls into two
1- "Is there a universal material criterion?" and
2-"Is there a universal formal criterioin of truth?"

Darwin's reference to "form" in the quote I provided above is where he pins himslef down to the notion of form that Kanthad taken up previously as the subjective basis for any truth. Mayr will later deny that the forms which are the objects of natural selection ARE NOT hourly being scrutinized but if it is good to try to imagine the advantage of one form over another then it is also good to try to imagine selection operating during the same time because WE DO NOT HAVE THIS OLDER notion of form but instead a seperated one of genotype and phenotype. Thus it does appear that Darwin spoke of form where he needed to speak of material. It needed to be that a particular toad venom and not the toad was "the form". That wasnot the case for Darwin. This does not affect the particular sicence of any monophyletics but only at the most general level (such as Mayr disagreeing with Darwin about when during the course of the day selection could be occurring).

So where only the form remained Darwin was trying to say things that depend on an aposteriori materialism in fact. In the book I quoted from Darwin, he was arguing against special point cretation which had to apply to some of his 'any" form somewhere on Earth and not agaisnt God per say.

This difference as Kant had it is necessary if one intends to compare art forms and those man-made from those shapes in nature of individuals etc. If one insists on a particular molecular reduction of the individual of Darwinism one need not feel necessarily (for those holed subjects) the force of this twisted but ture argument.

Brad.

I can try again if this wasnot clear enough. It may be that Darwin only meant that it was "good" to do some science of competetion but then he should not have left this in the form that grounds the knowledege of its truth but rather in speculation about the object (shape of the phyletic trajectory rather than sahpe of the creature or material that makes up this shape).

Edited by Brad McFall, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 112 by Straggler, posted 10-19-2008 11:31 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 114 of 123 (486375)
10-19-2008 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by Brad McFall
10-19-2008 2:13 PM


Form
Darwin's reference to "form" in the quote I provided above is where he pins himslef down to the notion of form that Kanthad taken up previously as the subjective basis for any truth.

Just because he used the same word, which can also mean something more common? The point Darwin was making is that we should try and imagine it, and the result will be "to convince us of our ignorance on the mutual relations of all organic beings; a conviction as necessary, as it is difficult to acquire. All that we can do is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase in a geometrical ratio; that each, at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation, or at intervals, has to struggle for life and to suffer great destruction." He seemed to be talking of the perils of introducing foreign flor and fauna into a biosystem: we should try to imagine what the result of introducing bullfrogs to Australia will be, and this will convince us that we are too ignorant to know how it will cope with differring competition.

Further support for the 'its the same word meant in a different way' hypothesis is found in that not all editions used the same word, I don't know the edition you are using but in the sixth edition the word 'form' has 'species' in its place.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 115 of 123 (486378)
10-19-2008 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by Brad McFall
10-19-2008 2:13 PM


Re: Good to be Bad
assuming the question "what is truth?" adequately binds the Straggler/Syamsu difference.

I don't think it does. Syamsu is asserting as to what science should not concern itself with on the basis of some seemingly arbitrary "rule". Certainly he has provided no basis or supporting argument for this asserted "rule".

My argument is that the nature of scientific enquiry is limited to the empirical for purely practical reasons and that no "rule" exists or need exist. The limitation is inherent. Science cannot tell us what we should do on this basis.

Whilst I am sure that myself and Syamsu have very different ideas as to what forms of "truth" exist I am not sure that this is relevant to whether or not a "rule" of the type Syamsu asserts either exists or can be reasoned to be required given the practical and inherent limitations the methods of science already impose.

Darwin's reference to "form" in the quote I provided above......

That is quite a lot to make from the use of one word as flexibly and commonly ambiguously used as the word "form".

The shape and structure of an object.
The essence of something.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/form

You seem to have assumed the latter. It never occurred to me that Darwin meant anything other than the former.

I can try again if this wasnot clear enough.

I still don't know what this supposed "rule" actually says?
Can it be expressed in a single sentance?

Until we are all clear as to what this "rule" actually states there sems little point discussing it's validity.


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 Message 113 by Brad McFall, posted 10-19-2008 2:13 PM Brad McFall has not yet responded

  
Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 116 of 123 (486404)
10-20-2008 1:09 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by Syamsu
10-19-2008 6:09 AM


Syamsu writes:

quote:
So then you use 2 definitions for beauty, objective and subjective, but since the subjectivity doesn't apply to the spiritual, because you don't acknowledge the spiritual, your subjective applies to the material, and therefore your subjective is also objective.

So what happens then is that the great leader says that we all share the value of preserving our race, and we share the value of struggle with other races, which results in the best races to be preserved.


Yup. Same assertions. Slightly different words. No supporting argument made. No points, or refutations addressed. No questions answered.

Same old, same old.

As predicted.

[I hope you don't mind the use of your words, Straggler.]

Might you provide a single piece of documentation to support your assertions?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 117 of 123 (486425)
10-20-2008 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by Syamsu
10-19-2008 6:09 AM


Re: Subjective interpretations
So what happens then is that the great leader says that we all share the value of preserving our race, and we share the value of struggle with other races, which results in the best races to be preserved.

Then the 'great leader' has crossed the line from ought to is. It would be no different if a terrible leader concluded that since there is a struggle for life, we ought not interfere and then banning all medicine.

Simply because there is a struggle for life, doesn't mean we ought to make life a greater struggle than it is nor does it mean we ought to alleviate as much of that struggle as we can.


This message is a reply to:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3114 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 118 of 123 (486435)
10-20-2008 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by Straggler
10-19-2008 11:31 AM


Re: Good to be Bad
Darwin intended the word "good" to carry more than desireable representation of the taxonomist. Darwin made natural selection into Santa Claus keeping the North Pole list. The funny thing is that "opportunity" is the namesake of teleology not adaptation.

I was using Penguin Books On Natural Selection 2005 from the 1859 edition.

On page 24 he wrote,

quote:
It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, presevering and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

Mayr says that this may not be said. But it is not the good or bad part that Mayr objects to, but rather the agency of selective operation (is it cybernetic, under nonequilibirium state conditions, in a chaotic trajectory etc?) instead. Darwin asks the biologist to imagine that it is good for one form/species/race to have an advantange over another and then ascribes what the evolutionist is to so find (a trait or object of some lineage)to be either "good" or "bad". We may attribute this to loose language but Will Provine never blushes when he says that Darwin "knew what he was doing, he was murdering a cultural tradition..."

You might compare instead the use that Kant draws to the same phenomena (nonnative species in a nonindigenous region), also as to whether it is good or bad. Kant embeds the same phenomenon into a huge relationship of justice, in his book "The Metaphysics of Justice", asking us to imagine America rather than Staffordshire in the case.

Darwin wrote to distance special seperate creation. (The) advantage of one form or race over another was the means that linked the creatures' diversity thought prima facie as evidence of seperate creation. It was for him a one act, dog eat dog world ,not a God makes perannials annually on differenly protected stations type of thing. He only murdered seperate creation not God as Nietsche thought. He could say this without using the word "good" or "bad" but he did not. That you immediately assumed this was only in the subject of the biologist and not in the material of the biologist shows that this was not what you are really after in the dispute with Syamsu.

Darwin wrote (page 88)

quote:
He who believes in seperate and innumerable acts of creation will say, that in these cases it has pleased the Creator to cause a being of one type to take the palce of one of another type; but this seems to me only restatnig the fact in dignified language. He who believes in the struggle for existence and in the principle of natural selection, will acknowledge that every organic being is constantly endeavouring to increase in numbers; and that if any one beng vary ever so little, either in habits or structure,and thus gain an advantage

So we were asked to imagine giving a benefit to a species and then viewing the benefit gained as something good. In Kant's view this amounts to making mutations juridical rights of other kind and thus we can ask if it is ethical to accept it passively or actively. Biologists instead decided to argue if ethics itself arose by soft or hard selection. Syamsu rejects passive acceptance. The solution, historically, has been to reject Kant as Clark did in his book, "The Nature of Explanation" Cambridge Univ Press 1943.

Also page 24 Darwin "Although natural selection can act only through and for the good of each being..."

Edited by Brad McFall, : removed double paragraph


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 119 of 123 (486438)
10-20-2008 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by Brad McFall
10-20-2008 3:05 PM


Re: Good to be Bad
Darwin intended the word "good" to carry more than desireable representation of the taxonomist. Darwin made natural selection into Santa Claus keeping the North Pole list. The funny thing is that "opportunity" is the namesake of teleology not adaptation.

How do you know what Darwin actually intended?
I fear that you may just be a more eloquent version of Syamsu....

Darwin writes:

It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, presevering and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

Good as in able? Or good as in morally virtuous?

Given that the whole of evolutionary theory is founded upon the concept of physical ability leading to survival and reproduction, any interpretation of the word "good" as meaning moral rather than able seems woefully out of context.

On what basis do you assume moral "goodness" rather than physical adeptness (e.g. I am good at running) was being discussed? Especially given the very physical context?

Do we normally refer to moral "goodness" in combination with scientifically specific physical terms such as organic and inorganic?

Also page 24 Darwin "Although natural selection can act only through and for the good of each being..."

Again given the context of physical advantage as the foundation of evolutionary theory would not the word "good" make more sense in terms of increased physical adeptness?

  • I still don't know what the rule we are supposedly discussing actually states.
  • I don't see how we can discuss the validity of such a rule unless we all know what the rule actually states.
  • I don't see how conflating "good" in the moral sense with "good" in the physically adept sense within the context of a theory whose whole premise relies on the concept of relative physical ability is at all reasonably justified.

    I am interested to know if other languages have this same situation where the word for moral "goodness" is the same as that used to describe physical adeptness?


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  • Brad McFall
    Member (Idle past 3114 days)
    Posts: 3428
    From: Ithaca,NY, USA
    Joined: 12-20-2001


    Message 120 of 123 (486440)
    10-20-2008 3:58 PM
    Reply to: Message 114 by Modulous
    10-19-2008 2:40 PM


    Re: Form
    Using 'species' instead, still brings up the same point I was making.

    It was important however that the only other time the word "form" is used in that Chapter is

    quote:
    Nevertheless so profound is our ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being; and as we do not see the cause, we inovoke cataclysms to desolate the world, or invent laws on the duration of the forms of life
    (page13)

    It is instructive that Darwin said "invent" rather than "trace". Darwin used "species" in this edition when he comes to labeling his diagram later.

    I did not mean "essence" (for form)but I was rather trying to deal with the more complicated structure of a gene tree inside species tree-object.


    Click to enlarge
    (from Wakely Coalescent Theory)

    When Robinson in 1943 communicated Etherington the following, there was some hope that notion of the form of the proper object here might be approached but Robinson went for the formal rather than the material aspect and I have not seen the correct answer yet, getting back to the reference to Cantor and Russell etc.. Instead we have the dispute between Organicism and Redutionism

    quote:
    "I should like to say how interesting I found their contents (from the algebraic point of view (I know little of genetics). In particular, the arithmetisation of trees is, I believe, an important step, inspite of the unwieldiness of shapes compared with ordinary numbers. If I may add a few remarks: "shapes" appear to me to be special cases of Russell's "relation numbers." However the operations (addition and multiplication) defined by you differ from Russell-Whitehead's who where primarily interested in a generalisation of Cantor's arithmetic of transfinite ordinals. Neverthless I found it quite interesting ( as an exercise for myself) to express your ideas in a more "formal" way."
    (in Abraham Robinson by Joseph Dauben Princeton 1995 p134)

    So what we really have with Darwin's text is the replacement of "innumerable seperate creations" rejected as a quantity but possibly replaced with infinite thoughts via relation numbers. This does not do away with God or Morality as Syamsu indicates he has a hard time getting across to evos. You can simply deny my reading thus, but it is what it is. That is the way I read it. I make no excuses.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 114 by Modulous, posted 10-19-2008 2:40 PM Modulous has not yet responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 121 by Straggler, posted 10-20-2008 4:13 PM Brad McFall has not yet responded

        
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