Tag Archives: Natural Selection

Logical Gal and what is ‘good’?

21 May

Good

What is good?  That depends!

The concept of ‘good’ varies. So we need to ask some questions.  As I grow in being a logical gal, I’m gradually getting better at remembering to pause, think and ask clarifying questions before going any further.  I’ve often misunderstood the pre-suppositions behind someone’s statements or even their questions and responded inappropriately.

So here are points to consider and clarify:

  • Does the speaker mean have in mind something …..objectively good? or just subjectively good? For example –  It is good to care for widows and orphans is an objective value that is true no matter the culture or period of history.  Mint-chocolate-chip ice cream is good is a subjective evaluation based on the subject (in this case – me!) and her preferences.
  • Or is the speaker thinking of ……..something effective at gaining results?  For example – Completing one’s homework and preparing for tests is good in the sense that it leads to desired results.  Staying up late and partying without any advanced preparation for tomorrow’s test is NOT good.
  • Or does the speaker have in mind ……..something more along the lines of ‘good for’?  Like taking a combination of Echinacea, zinc and vitamin C is ‘good for’ fighting a cold.

 

Good for a cold

I’ve been pondering the various meanings of the term good ever since I heard a philosopher discuss the ‘problem of evil’. The new twist for me was how the speaker narrated  this problem as something Neo-Darwinian Atheists had to solve.  For these materialists, ‘good’ refers to traits that are adaptive.  Adaptive means these characteristics get passed down to the next generation because they help the species survive.  So ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ would be how one describes ‘maladaptive’ traits – those that DO not help the species survive.  Theoretically they would then NOT be passed down to successive generations, right?  (unless there is something ‘wrong’ with the whole natural selection mechanism…but that’s ANOTHER problem!).

Maladaptive

Hence, the question: What explains the continued existence of evil or bad stuff in our world?

See what ‘good’ can come from all these questions!  I’ll look forward to some of your thoughts on ‘good’ and/or on this ‘problem of evil’.

 

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.