[extropy-chat] Reverse Evolution ?
HerbM at learnquick.com
Fri Mar 3 03:40:23 UTC 2006
> If even Extropians claim that science describes a meaningless world, using
evolution as the edge of the axe, is it any
> wonder that people who still want to believe in something worthwhile
reject evolution? Can you really blame them?
No more than I would blame a drug addict for rejecting the
obvious consequences of denying the reality of the continued
use of drugs even when that use is obviously killing the person.
(Notice drug usage does not necessarily imply addiction, but
many people are not smart enough to see the difference when
it applies to themselves.)
Such a cry for 'meaning' is merely to blame the messenger (i.e., Science);
if there is no meaning in life then this is not the fault of Science for
showing reality -- just the facts, m'am.
If reality doesn't supply the meaning you wish, then you must
invent that meaning for yourself -- if you wish to do so honestly
(i.e., intellectual honesty) then it is important to remember that
YOU (or I) invented that meaning...
To use wishful thinking to project meaning onto the inanimate
and unintelligent is mere superstition or ignorance.
Now it is surprising that the 'average person' is unable to
understand and recognize the difference between self-determined
'meaning' and projecting that onto the world?
No, since most people are very poorly trained in logic and scientific
We're this not so Lotteries could not exist (as currently constituted),
being largely a tax upon the mathematically ignorant or the superstitiously
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Russell Wallace
Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 8:56 PM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Reverse Evolution ?
On 3/1/06, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
A big part of the reason why so many report not believing in evolution is
that it is so widely misunderstood. This has been shown in surveys, where
test takers reported having learned more about evolution by taking the
survey than in any other exposure to the discipline. Evolution is widely
caricatured by fish crawling out on land, becoming an ape then a human, as
if evolution has a particular direction. Cartoon images can have enormous
impact, as we have seen. Stephen J. Gould has written extensively on this
misconception and its affect on the public.
I'm quite disappointed at the direction this conversation is taking here.
I'm going to copy some paragraphs I wrote on another list:
"Western civilization has followed Christianity for the last two thousand
years, but lately many people are finding that religion no longer works for
them, and are either formally leaving it or merely paying lip service. (I
think this is at least in part because, while there is much that is good in
Christianity, it is unfortunately often lumped in with belief in the literal
truth of myths like the Garden of Eden and Noah's Ark, which do not appear
to be consistent with the way the world we live in works; but that's another
Contrary to the hopes of some prominent atheists, this has not led to an era
of enlightened rationalism, but to disaffectation, superstition and
nihilism. Yet contrary to some cynics, I don't believe this is by and large
due to stupidity (the average disaffected teenager effortlessly grasps
social situations I was still struggling with in my 20s) or lack of
education (we have a grinding surfeit of that, at least quantitatively). I
think it's because the modern world view is presented so badly.
There is plenty of beauty in real science and technology, and plenty of hope
if they are employed by wise and rational ethics. There should be no need to
resort to superstition as a psychological defense mechanism or resign
oneself in despair to the idea that only what one can grasp for oneself at
this moment is of any account; and there would not be, were the world
described by science not so often wrongly portrayed as empty and
Of all the places I would have hoped to see the meaning and beauty in the
real world remarked on, it would be extropy-chat, the mailing list of the
philosophy of progress itself. Yet I see it said or implied that evolution
has no direction, that humans are no better than chimpanzees, that Gould's
empty nihilism corrects a misconception.
Most people aren't specialists in science. (If they were, we'd all have
starved to death long ago.) They reasonably rely on those of us who are, to
tell them what science says and implies.
If even Extropians claim that science describes a meaningless world, using
evolution as the edge of the axe, is it any wonder that people who still
want to believe in something worthwhile reject evolution? Can you really
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