Pharyngula

The long-awaited review of Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini’s anti-evolution book by Jerry Coyne is now online in The Nation. It’s a double-review of both the bad philosophy book and the good science book by Dawkins. Settle in for a nice read.

Comments

  1. #1 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    April 23, 2010

    Having read a fair amount of Fodor’s cognitive science work, he’s not a complete idiot. Perhaps he needs to stick to his field, however, because he doesn’t seem to grasp evolutionary theory particularly well. Great critique by Coyne.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    April 23, 2010

    There’s another thing about germ theory, which is that you ignore or deny it to your peril.

    Evolution matters a great deal primarily to pointy-headed scientists, though, and yes, to a certain number of anti-theists. In their circles, creationists lose nothing (except the chance of gaining knowledge–not that attractive to a lot of slobs) by being anti-evolutionist, and gain socially by doing so.

    Let’s put it this way: If there were religious reasons for denying quantum mechanics, Americans would deny it as well. They don’t understand it, don’t need to for the most part, and would have social reasons to deny it.

    They have quite “different assumptions”–but only where consistency would endanger their beliefs. Otherwise, with germ theory or the like, scientific assumptions are fantastic, even better if they go against “false religions.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  3. #3 KOPD
    April 23, 2010

    he’s not a complete idiot.

    Some parts are missing?

  4. #4 Physicalist
    April 23, 2010

    I found the Bloggingheads exchange between Fodor and Sober to be extremely helpful in clarifying the argument that Fodor & P-P are trying to advance. Sober is really sharp.

  5. #5 bjstucker
    April 23, 2010

    A great article.Should be printed and carried by all persons who,like myself, seem to attract creationist loons on a regular basis.

  6. #6 Steven Mading
    April 23, 2010

    Glen, I would put it more this way: They feel free to defy science in cases where the result of that science is not something they immediately benefit from (or, more accurately, is not something that they *realize* benefits them. If the benefit is not immediate so they can’t see the connection, then they don’t realize there’s a benefit to them later down the road.)

    It’s not a matter of whether or not it benefits them. Evolutionary theory benefits them. But they don’t realize it, and that’s the difference. There’s a very selfish attitude that it’s okay to deny anything that isn’t beneficial to them now, and they don’t realize (or worse yet, don’t care) about the long term effects of it.

    Glen, a better way to put it is this:
    They aren’t willing to harm themselves by denying science, but they are perfectly willing to deny science in ways that harm their children and all the generations that follow.

  7. #7 Ing
    April 23, 2010

    “Having read a fair amount of Fodor’s cognitive science work, he’s not a complete idiot. Perhaps he needs to stick to his field, however, because he doesn’t seem to grasp evolutionary theory particularly well. Great critique by Coyne.”

    If he’s studying the human mind without considering how it evolved, he’s by definition going to be doing studies under an artificial handicap.

  8. #8 https://me.yahoo.com/a/S8pO0dgN3vZCcp6GFuJzIu14IBqIw1hq7Kw-#24131
    April 23, 2010

    Having read a fair amount of Fodor’s cognitive science work, he’s not a complete idiot. Perhaps he needs to stick to his field, however, because he doesn’t seem to grasp evolutionary theory particularly well.

    If he’s studying the human mind without considering how it evolved, he’s by definition going to be doing studies under an artificial handicap.

    To be fair to cognitive scientists, Fodor is actually a philosopher working on problems in philosophy of mind. By philosophical standards, is work is fine, but he’s usually arguing for some bizarre essentialist position to such an absurd extent that he seems to think that as long as he makes a good enough logical argument, the world will be FORCED to conform to his expectations.

    Not that his arguments are always that logical. Pinker spends a lot of time in The Stuff of Thought presenting data and arguments contradicting Fodor’s assertions that the meanings of words are inherent (even though we can learn words for things we’ve never seen before, we must somehow have already had the meaning in our heads…apparently that’s Fodor’s position on this).

    In other words, he’s almost the antithesis of a scientist, as his utter neglect of the empirical evidence against natural selection should suggest.

  9. #9 Ing
    April 23, 2010

    Ah ok…he’s nto a scientist. He effectively masturbates for a living. He does it mentally but it’s the same overall contribution to society.

  10. #10 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm4CYGXi1n4Armyc3H5WH0I3OSlKZ1Zvc4
    April 23, 2010

    Beautiful review. And he did it without expletives!

  11. #11 vanharris
    April 23, 2010

    I do wish that people, especially the likes of Jerry Coyne, wouldn’t refer to ‘the theory of evolution’.

    Evolution is a fact that is entirely non-contentious, (except for a few nutjobs). What is slightly contentious is the mechanism for evolution. Darwin, for instance, came up with ‘the theory of evolution by natural selection’. Others, e.g. the Discovery Institute, suggest ‘the theory of evolution by theistic intervention’, aka Intelligent Design.

    I’m not quite sure of Francis Collins’ position, but presumably it includes the bible bogey lending a helping hand to the evolutionary process.

    Then there’s genetic drift & sexual selection, playing a role too. Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini wrote something that was rather confused & i’ve subsequently forgotten the details of it, because it wasn’t worth retaining in memory.

    But if everyone referred to ‘the theory of evolution by natural selection’, (because it has the best explanatory power), or ‘the theory of evolution by theistic intervention’, (for wishful thinkers & confused religionists), i think there’d be a lot less confusion, eventually.

  12. #12 PeteGrimes
    April 23, 2010

    There’s another thing about germ theory, which is that you ignore or deny it to your peril

    No, Glen – one ignores it at OUR peril!

    A wonderful review in that I wasn’t planning on reading the Dawkins book (preaching to the choir and all), but if it helps me explain the reality better, then I will definitely read it with enthusiasm and care!

  13. #13 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 23, 2010

    Speaking of which, I just finished reading “The God Delusion”

  14. #14 https://me.yahoo.com/a/S8pO0dgN3vZCcp6GFuJzIu14IBqIw1hq7Kw-#24131
    April 23, 2010

    Ah ok…he’s nto a scientist. He effectively masturbates for a living. He does it mentally but it’s the same overall contribution to society.

    Both Pinker and Dennett seem to have high regard for Fodor as a sort of devil’s advocate. He’s no dummy: he makes brilliant arguments for absurd ideas.

  15. #15 amphiox
    April 23, 2010

    vanharris #11, ‘the theory of evolution’ is the proper term for what Coyne is describing where he uses it.

    There is both a theory of evolution and a fact of evolution. They are not the same. One is the explanation for the other. The theory of evolution includes everything you have mentioned in your post except the theistic evolution. And if there ever were solid evidence for a god, we could simply slot intelligent design into the larger theory of evolution, one more mechanism in addition to natural selection, genetic drift, endosymbiosis, gene transfer and everything else, and nothing, absolutely nothing, would be fundamentally changed. (The ID people never seem to get this – even if ID could be proved, it doesn’t invalidate evolution, and invalidating evolution says absolutely nothing about the credibility of likelihood of ID).

    The study of the fact of evolution would continue on as it always has. No previously demonstrated mechanisms would be refuted. We’d just have one more new mechanism to consider and design experiments for.

    Just because certain others, deliberately or otherwise, misconstrue or misunderstand the meaning, does not obligate us to invent a wholly new set of terms just to accomodate their ignorance.

    ‘The theory of evolution’ is the correct term. We use it. That is all.

  16. #16 otrame
    April 23, 2010

    From Coynes review:

    Only Dawkins could describe a tiger as just one way DNA has devised to make more of itself. And that is why he is famous: absolute scientific accuracy expressed with the wonder of a child–a very smart child.

    Well, not entirely. I remember Heinlein saying in one of his books, “A zygote is just a gamete’s way of making other gametes.”

    Still, Dawkins’ version is far more elegant.

  17. #17 Jerry Coyne
    April 23, 2010

    Amphiox at #15: Right on!

    Otrame at #16: A zygote isn’t a tiger! :-)

  18. #18 dmorrison
    April 23, 2010

    All you have to read to see how incredibly lost and turned around F&P have gotten in their expositions is the following:

    [Perhaps]organisms ‘catch’ their phenotypes from their ecologies in something like the way that they catch their colds from their ecologies.

    Sorry, what?

    1. Organisms don’t evolve. Populations evolve.
    2. We know exactly how things ‘catch their colds’. It’s called a virus. Yes, viruses do have an important role in evolution, but it is a niche role.
    3. Even assuming an individual’s genes were “catching things”, there is no known mechanism by which a single organism may preferentially integrate favorable genetic material into itself.
    4. If we overcome my last objection by saying “species” instead, and perhaps expand ecology to “environment”, guess what role natural selection plays?

    At the end of the road they undermine their entire argument by metaphorically drawing a circle around what they think the answer is, blissfully unaware that staring back at them from the very center of its confines is the thing they’re arguing against.

    I’d like to nominate Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini for “Most Rube Goldberg-esque Self-Imploding Argument in Evolutionary Biology, 2010.”

  19. #19 vanharris
    April 23, 2010

    amphiox & Jerry, i know ‘the theory of evolution’ is used like that, but i’m suggesting that it would be better to say ‘the theory of evolution by natural selection’. The former term can be used by different people to mean different things. The latter term is more precise.

    Please correct me if i’m wrong, but don’t Francis Collins & others of his ilk use the term ‘the theory of evolution’ to include theistic interference in the process?

  20. #20 Deluded Creodont
    April 23, 2010

    Hey, why am I getting an ad for the church of Mormon at the top of the screen?

    seems kinda silly on this blog.

  21. #21 amphiox
    April 23, 2010

    vanharris #19:

    The problem is that the term “the theory of evolution by natural selection” is too precise, because it excludes a great deal of what is properly part of the theory of evolution, and it is neither a fair or accurate representation of the state of the theory as it is used today. Because practically no one considers just natural selection alone when doing science related to evolution anymore. In its purest form, the term “theory of natural selection” would include pretty much only what Darwin included in Origin – it wouldn’t even include the stuff about sexual selection in Descent of Man, or anything about Mendelian genetics, the modern synthesis, neutral theory, or evo-devo. Basically, it chops out 150 years of science. It is therefore misleading as well as descriptionally inadequate.

    Sure, you could refer to each individual aspect of modern evolutionary theory as its own separate “theory of X” where X could be genetic drift, natural selection, endosymbiosis, etc. But why should you when the single term “theory of evolution” rightly encompasses them all, particularly when none of them are in practice considered in isolation of any of the others? Just because some ignorant or dishonest people use the term incorrectly? That’s like ceding the battle without even fight, and the people in question do not deserve such consideration from our side.

    As for Francis Collins, when he refers to “theory of evolution” in his scientific work, he can not include theistic interference if he wants his paper to pass peer review. If he chooses to obfuscate on the term in general parlance, that’s his prerogative, but see the previous paragraph.

  22. #22 Pierce R. Butler
    April 23, 2010

    Coyne: … most scientists accepted the notions of evolution and common ancestry soon after Darwin proposed them in 1859…

    Uh, weren’t those ideas already in circulation – and wide acceptance – before Darwin (in 1858, actually) went public with his idea of natural selection to explain how evolution created species from common ancestors?

  23. #23 Matt Penfold
    April 23, 2010

    Beautiful review. And he did it without expletives!

    The lack of expletives will not stop the Colgate Twins from disliking Jerry’s review. I seem to recall they criticised a previous review he did, again with not an expletive in sight. It seems one is not allowed to criticise any book by someone who might be considered on “our” side in the creationim/evolution war.

    One just hopes they are suffering fits of apoplexy following Jerry’s latest review. He said nice things about Dawkins’ book, so there is a good chance they are.

  24. #24 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnmfT6aBFwl3MgiYcsQJa_mnknTQi96v7s
    April 23, 2010

    Initially I thought there might be a grain of something like qausi-truthi-insight in F&P’s book. Then I attempted to read it and became utterly confused in their labyrinthine philosopho-prose. Then I began to suspect they were full of shit, and now Coyne has capped the deal by clearly explaining exactly what the hell they are attempting to say. I think it’s going to go down as one of the arch typically dumb philosophy of evolution books of all time.

  25. #25 F
    April 23, 2010

    creodont @ 20

    Because that is what the ad server sent you.

    I see this question asked endlessly on the internets, and the answer is pretty much always the same. When you host ads so that you get some income from page hits and click-throughs, you don’t get to pick the ads. You get what the advertising companies load on to their servers.

    Perhaps you question the logic of the advertising provider (assuming that the rotation is not entirely random). Well, it could be because advertising is frequently sought in areas both agreeable and antagonistic to the product, or it could be because the keywords which show up on the blog are enough to warrant the ad placement without accounting for either antagonism or agreeability.

    From a perspective which may not be involved at all, but which makes sense anyway: Where does one send missionaries? Certainly not to the local center of the faith.

  26. #26 Ing
    April 23, 2010

    “Both Pinker and Dennett seem to have high regard for Fodor as a sort of devil’s advocate. He’s no dummy: he makes brilliant arguments for absurd ideas.”

    Dennett’s free to his own opinion. I see nothing brilliant about him. I see someone so far behind the paradigm it’s pathetic.

    Also, brilliant argument for absurd ideas== contributing little to society’s collective knowledge==mental masturbation. We’d be far better served if he kept his ejaculates to himself.

  27. #27 sandiseattle
    April 23, 2010

    @10: I think you’ll find lack of expletives will go unlauded here.

  28. #28 Kel, OM
    April 23, 2010
    Coyne: … most scientists accepted the notions of evolution and common ancestry soon after Darwin proposed them in 1859…

    Uh, weren’t those ideas already in circulation – and wide acceptance – before Darwin (in 1858, actually) went public with his idea of natural selection to explain how evolution created species from common ancestors?

    Not really. It took Darwin to bring evolution to the scientific consensus, and Natural Selection wasn’t really widely accepted until well into the 20th century. Ernst Mayr has a good account of it in What Evolution Is

  29. #29 DaveWTC
    April 23, 2010

    @#9

    He effectively masturbates for a living.

    If I can find my high school guidance counselor, he’s a dead man for never mentioning this as a career possibility!

  30. #30 LMR
    April 23, 2010

    A question for those that have “Greatest Show on Earth” – I’d been thinking about getting the audiobook so I can listen to it during my daily commute. How much will I be missing without the printed book? Are there a lot of charts/diagrams/illustrations?

    The audible.com site has a 37 page downloadable PDF that contains (what I assume to be) some/all of the photos and illustrations. Without having the book I don’t know how much or how little is there.

    The reviews try to sell the book for its subject matter. On that I’m already sold, I just am trying to figure out whether the format that fits my schedule best will really do the book justice.

    Thanks.

  31. #31 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm4CYGXi1n4Armyc3H5WH0I3OSlKZ1Zvc4
    April 23, 2010

    @Matt Penfold #23

    Just for the record (in case it was in question), I love expletives.

    I wonder, though, who are the “Colgate Twins”?

  32. #32 John Morales
    April 23, 2010

    [OT]

    who are the “Colgate Twins”?

    MooneyBaum. (cf. Unscientific America, the gift that keeps on giving.)

  33. #33 Midwifetoad
    April 23, 2010

    Why am I not surprised that Fodor is in bed with Chomsky in opposing behavioral analysis and Skinner.

    There are, of course, enough gaps in Skinner’s behaviorism to drive a fleet of trucks through, but the underlying similarity to natural selection is undeniable, as is its basic correctness.

    My own term for this is gilded creationism. No bible thumping trailer trash snake handling speaking in tongues, but all the Platonic nonsense, nevertheless.

  34. #34 https://me.yahoo.com/a/_Succdhr2ojtceHdH8udUNFg_Hee#d96a0
    April 23, 2010

    The theory that living things evolve over many generations, gradually changing and making improvements along the way, was proposed long before Charles Darwin. The idea had occurred to the ancient Greeks, and for centuries it was reiterated by European philosophers, naturalists, and breeders of pets and farm animals who selectively bred species to retain desirable traits. Even average observers with a grain of imagination could compare a man with a monkey and put two and two together. Darwin’s contribution was not the theory itself but the preponderance of data he laboriously accumulated during his expedition to the Galapagos Islands, in support of natural selection, as put forth in his classic opus, On the Origin of Species (witch is, incidentally, often incorrectly referred to as simply The Origin of the Species).

  35. #35 Midwifetoad
    April 23, 2010

    not many people could imagine humans related to apes by direct descent an by countless small modifications.

    Even today the majority of people think evolution would have to include occasional large jumps. By which I mean jumps that would produce hybrid infertility.

  36. #36 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2010

    Even today the majority of people think evolution would have to include occasional large jumps. By which I mean jumps that would produce hybrid infertility.

    sadly, I think you’re overthinking what the average person is thinking about evolution.

    I can’t recall any person with a problem with the ToE ever even mentioning hybrid infertility before. If they had gotten far enough in their education to even consider the idea (like with plant polyploidy), then they likely actually don’t have a problem with the ToE.

    I think, rather than thinking about hybrids, most people are just thinking the gaps in the fossil record mean evolution “doesn’t work”, without bothering to think further.

  37. #37 Midwifetoad
    April 23, 2010

    I can’t recall any person with a problem with the ToE ever even mentioning hybrid infertility before.

    Comes up all the time on sites like Uncommon Descent.

    On more explicitly creationist sites, it’s used as an argument against speciation. “How does the first individual of a new species find a mate?”

    If arguments of this quality were confined to five or ten percent of the population it would be laughable. Unfortunately it’s more like 50 or 60 percent.

  38. #38 Kel, OM
    April 23, 2010

    On more explicitly creationist sites, it’s used as an argument against speciation. “How does the first individual of a new species find a mate?”

    Essentialist thinking in action…

  39. #39 Weed Monkey
    April 24, 2010

    Ing #9, I’d just love to do that.

    *off to listen to The Stooges’ “I wanna be your dog” and Slayer’s “Im gonna be your god” again and again*

  40. #40 vanharris
    April 24, 2010

    amphiox @ 21, I take your points, “…because it excludes a great deal of what is properly part of the theory of evolution, and it is neither a fair or accurate representation of the state of the theory as it is used today. Because practically no one considers just natural selection alone when doing science related to evolution anymore. In its purest form, the term “theory of natural selection” would include pretty much only what Darwin included in Origin – it wouldn’t even include the stuff about sexual selection in Descent of Man, or anything about Mendelian genetics, the modern synthesis, neutral theory, or evo-devo. Basically, it chops out 150 years of science. It is therefore misleading as well as descriptionally inadequate.”

    Context is important. Obviously, in formal academic situations what you say is correct. I was thinking of the more general reader. If we can get across the idea that evolution is a fact supported by truckloads of evidence, as Jerry Coyne’s review demonstrates so clearly, a lot of the resistance to it from the religious folk might dissipate. I’m thinking of the “it’s just a theory” nonsense.

    So ‘Evolution’ becomes (in the public consciousness) a fact, & ‘natural selection’ is the theory that best explains it, according to the scientific establishment. For some, ‘theistic interference’ will get added in. But this would be progress. Let’s face it, even Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini didn’t understand natural selection. And it’s not a difficult idea.

  41. #41 MetzO'Magic
    April 24, 2010

    @amphiox #15

    …even if ID could be proved, it doesn’t invalidate evolution…

    Seems to be a conflict there. Is the human eye ‘irreducibly complex’ (poofed into existence by the ‘designer’), or did it evolve into its present form? You can’t have it both ways.

  42. #42 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    Seems to be a conflict there.

    Not really, some versions of ID as can be inferred from ID proponents have an occasionally-intervening designer to get over the design humps like making flagella for bacteria or starting off the immune system. Others go as so far as the designer seeding life and having it go from there. Those kind of ideas don’t invalidate evolution. Though what this shows is the nebulous nature of ID. They don’t have a solid conception of what ID is.

    But that’s what happens when you’re trying to look for a way to say Goddidit.

  43. #43 MetzO'Magic
    April 24, 2010

    Kel, hi,

    Since there is no science behind ID, I’ll concede that this allows for there being many flavours of it. Almost one to suit every occasion.

    I had more the mainstream flavour in mind – the biblical literalist kind. But I suppose that’s more creationism than ID. Trying to define ID is akin to attempting to nail jello to a wall.

  44. #44 Ichthyic
    April 24, 2010

    Seems to be a conflict there. Is the human eye ‘irreducibly complex’ (poofed into existence by the ‘designer’), or did it evolve into its present form? You can’t have it both ways.

    you could if you’re one of those IDists like Francis Collins who think the “mind and soul” of humans is specially created, while the rest was produced by evolution.

    compartmentalization is a wonderful thing…

    :P

  45. #45 AnthonyK
    April 24, 2010

    I really think that this whole book is a demonstration of the “you’re supposed to get your ideas from us” school of philosophy.
    Evolution is so vital to biology, and may have other applications elsewhere, including the field of ideas, that philosophers can’t resist walking in and saying “what’s all this – we haven’t sanctioned these systems of thought!” and then trying to dismiss them.
    This whole book appears to demonstrate the fundamental uselessness of philosophy, and the hubris of philosophers. Also, judging by the quotes, verbal obscurantism – posing as precision – is highly prized. For me, I would find it unreadable, in contrast to Dawkins airy prose. At least with Dawkins you can understand what his argument is: with these two ontological onanists nothing is clear.
    I have a friend who is a professor of philosophy – Dawkins in particular makes him furious, in that he doesn’t think that a biologist has any right to argue against the existence of god and therefore that such arguments must be invalid. He also claims that I get my morals from the Judaeo-Christian roots of our culture.
    Dear, dear. Philosophy 0 Reality won.

  46. #46 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    I had more the mainstream flavour in mind – the biblical literalist kind. But I suppose that’s more creationism than ID.

    Yeah, that’s one problem with it. Even among prominent ID proponents (I’m just going to call them IDiots for short) there’s a wide range of what ID applies to. There’s the IDiot Behe who supports common descent and evolution working to an extent, but the designer making the big jumps. Then there’s IDiots like Dembski who are Old Earth Creationists, don’t think evolution can work at all and ties the forms like T-rex to original sin. Then there’s IDiots like Paul Nelson who are of the Young Earth Creationist variety. And then there are woo-headed IDiots like Deepak Chopra who put some form of cosmic goalseeking embedded into the process. Which concept of ID is correct? It doesn’t matter because they are looking for support of the general concept rather than losing people in the specifics.

    Trying to define ID is akin to attempting to nail jello to a wall.

    Exactly, and that is the genius of the label. ID has a broad appeal, it transcends religion and culture, and appeals to the teleological nature of our brains.

    Which is why it is so important to oppose ID at every step of the way, it’s a marketing strategy masquerading as science. The phrase “not even wrong” comes to mind.

  47. #47 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    This whole book appears to demonstrate the fundamental uselessness of philosophy

    Don’t let one bad argument throw off the whole discipline. While modern biology can explain away the need for a designer, it was David Hume that destroyed the argument from design using argument alone.

  48. #48 AnthonyK
    April 24, 2010

    I can see that, and I hope you’re right, Kel. However I suspect that the great days of philosophy are behind it: I fail to see the utility of a discipline where “reality” is only one consideration.

  49. #49 Kel, OM
    April 24, 2010

    I can see that, and I hope you’re right, Kel.

    I honestly think that the success of philosophy is embodied in the language we use when applying critical thinking. We talk of the principle of parsimony for example, and we do so without even considering what discipline it comes from. We follow arguments logically, take them to their conclusions to see if they are inconsistent or absurd. We use ideas like cranes and skyhooks, yet those ideas are philosophical in nature.

    Philosophy is in some ways a victim of its own success, where it has succeeded it has become part of the way we look at things to the point that we don’t even realise we are using it. That there are those who use reason poorly or under the title of philosopher come out with utter nonsense is no reason to discard the very discipline that underlies the very skills we apply when we engage in thinking.

  50. #50 AnthonyK
    April 24, 2010

    Indeed, the enlightenment could not have come about without its success in the philosophical boxing ring of the time, but I am sceptical about its coninuing usefulness in the scientific age.
    (This is not to say that the subject, and the history of thought in general is not interesting or illuminating: I think it is.)
    However when applying an analysis of argumentation to scientific discoveries, such as evolution, it appears to have little to contribute other than nitpicking. The current book would appear to be a perfect example of this: philosophers attempting to criticize the arguments some use in favour of evolution by natural selection while ignoring the fact that it is, simply, true.

  51. #51 Ing
    April 24, 2010

    “I really think that this whole book is a demonstration of the “you’re supposed to get your ideas from us” school of philosophy.
    Evolution is so vital to biology, and may have other applications elsewhere, including the field of ideas, that philosophers can’t resist walking in and saying “what’s all this – we haven’t sanctioned these systems of thought!” and then trying to dismiss them.”

    Way to nail the problem on the head. Philosophy itself is wonderful. Philosophers are under the misimpression that they are removed from the rest of reality. They mental masturbate and presume their findings are how the world should work without actually checking. Of all the studies ending with “y” they are stuck in the Aristotle nonsense. Proper philosophy IMHO is not prescriptive but reactive and descriptive. The philosophy of morals HAS to be built up from actual human interactions to be of any valid implementation. The philosophy of economics HAS to be based on how the markets actually move. The Philosophy of science IS based on how evidence actually falls. Many of he Philosophers are practicing sophilism, that they make it so by arguing it well. They should well know from the teachings of many of their betters what bullshit this is.

  52. #52 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 24, 2010

    Essentialist thinking in action…

    I learned a new term today. Thank you, Kel.

  53. #53 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnb-E55g7vrnvH-3L1M6d7QuDYWoM_IDEM
    April 26, 2010

    …who are the “Colgate Twins”?

    1) Christ. Money
    2) Sheril Kirshenbaum

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