Logical Gal and Natural Selection

30 Apr

Nat Selection

In the last post I discussed how luck and chance have no attributes, no ontology. They aren’t anything real: neither a material substance nor an immaterial substance.  They are merely a description that some people ascribe to events happening with no seeming influence from any force.  As such they can exert no power on anyone or anything.  So wishing someone ‘Good Luck’ is pointless.

Similar to the concept of luck and chance is the phrase natural selection.   Before one addresses whether this is a concept that corresponds to reality, once must first define it.  Does natural selection describe something that is a real substance (again either material or immaterial) with attributes?  If so, then we would say it has ‘being-ness’ or ontology.  It has a ‘bundle of properties’. For an explanation of the Bundle Theory click here . If it is not something, but rather the descriptive process of change, then we know ipso facto that it is powerless.

According to Wikipedia, the term Natural Selection was coined by Charles Darwin who juxtaposed this newly described concept against artificial selection aka selective breeding.

How is natural selection akin to luck/chance?  Both terms are describing processes that have no being-ness.  As such, they have no attributes and therefore NO power or force or ability to influence anything.

Selective Breeding

But have you noticed that popular speech actually imbues natural selection (and luck) with abilities that can exert an influence?

You can see this gap in clear reasoning just by thinking about what the concept of selective breeding entails?  It implies a selector of traits to aim for.  I’m assuming that the only selector envisioned is the human kind.  But what kind of selector would a ‘natural’ one be?

  •   Does cauliflower have the ability to make that kind of decision? 

That is like the imaginary Mother Nature. Do you remember the commercial for Chiffon Margarine?  It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!

Mother Nature

Our takeaway – when we are trying to define and clarify a term it is helpful to sort out first whether the concept referred to is an actual substance or a process.

 

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