Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby hyksos on July 6th, 2017, 3:11 pm 

This thread is a fork on the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Sometimes shorted to `ET` by forum regulars.

Jerry Fodor presents on 'selection' and 'mechanism'



Tinbergen's Four Questions.



My opening salvo:

There is no such mechanism in the universe as required by Jerry Fodor. Evidence for its non-existence: the prevalence and persistence of vestigial traits in organisms alive today (like the appendix in humans.) In other words, the persistence of vestigial organs indicates that there is no exhaustive differentiation between co-extensive traits.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Don Juan on July 6th, 2017, 3:40 pm 

Ok, I think I should watch the video first.

My hunch tells me that both sides have some degree of good points so that we can expect a much bigger or deeper explanation unfolding on the mechanism of evolution more than natural selection. This unfolding explanation may help clarify the role of natural selection and help us understand more the relationships between the environment, the phenotype and the genotype.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby hyksos on July 7th, 2017, 10:54 am 

Don Juan,

Thanks for the response.

I tried to create this thread as a fork from the trainwreck that is this thread : viewtopic.php?f=10&t=32607


My attempts were completely ignored by the regulars there.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 7th, 2017, 11:21 am 

hyksos » 07 Jul 2017 09:54 am wrote:My attempts were completely ignored by the regulars there.


From my part, it's nothing personal (and the rest of my post is not directed at you hyksos). I'm just no longer going to waste time arguing evolution with anyone who doesn't want to learn the basic principles of molecular biology as they stand today. Without that, it's like talking aviation with someone who refuses to learn anything beyond what the Wright brothers published. If you've been working on jet engines for the past ten years, you can imagine how futile (not to mention boring) that can be.

Yes, the Wright brothers made a breakthrough in their time, but nothing they created comes even remotely close to what we know and can do today. Yes Darwin made a breakthrough in his time, but he had no access to our modern understanding of biology. Of course he got some things wrong, and science has acknowledged that. As a matter of fact, I never cease to be amazed that Darwin got anything right without any knowledge of genetics (let alone population genetics).
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 7th, 2017, 11:31 am 

No offense to any self-proclaimed philosophers, but science is past the point where just about anyone can pick up a scientific theory to wrangle with on a warm summer afternoon, and presume they can do serious damage without doing any homework. If you have a conceptual problem with science, you just have to put in the work to try to understand it before you can properly refute it. This is not a "you don't agree because you don't get it knee jerk". The ball needs to fit the hole. Moreover, if you can't convince those who support a concept that you have a minimal understanding of it, how do you even hope to convince them that it's wrong? They're naturally going to try to dismiss you as being ignorant anyway, so why make it so easy for them to do that? That's not science or philosophy, that's basic psychology.

This might come as a shock to some, but I have major issues with some of the most popular principles in biomedical science today. What do I do? I put in the time, I learn about them to the point that my expertise rivals those who are championing those concepts, and I hit them where it hurts. I deny them the luxury of even thinking that I "don't get it". I've successfully dissuaded numerous researchers by systematically arguing against their "theoretical belief" with hard evidence. Fortunately, others are coming to the same conclusions and becoming more and more vocal about it. Two years ago, I thought it would be at least another decade before the opposing view enters the mainstream. I'm quite happy to see the shift already occurring. Can't argue with data forever.

It's not easy and it takes time and effort. But it's effective. And being effective is my goal. Not to prove a point, grind an ax, or resolve a cognitive dissonance created by an ideological commitment. If the latter were the case - then yeah I would just be going on message boards and yapping about it in the most general terms possible. It won't change anything, but it will certainly help me feel better about myself, and maybe allow me to think that I'm a truth hero of sorts. Though in reality... I'd be nothing more than a sealion.

Now of course if you don't give two shits about facts, and all you want is to turn others away from a scientific concept, then yeah sealioning is certainly the way to go. Might as well try to discredit science and scientists as a whole while at it - since that's a lot easier than bending facts around people who know their shit.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby wolfhnd on July 7th, 2017, 1:47 pm 

Bio I appreciate your inpatients with people not as well versed in science as you but I think it is worth pointing out there are many people like me with a casual interest in science that you have been willing to spend time with. I hope you do not intend to totally ignore us in the future.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 7th, 2017, 2:03 pm 

wolfhnd » 07 Jul 2017 12:47 pm wrote:I hope you do not intend to totally ignore us in the future.


Of course not. And I apologize if I came across that way.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby hyksos on July 7th, 2017, 2:14 pm 

BioWizard ,

If it is any consolation, I know that evolution has been reliably simulated on computers. I have written ecosystem simulations of little block creatures. The simulations would run for days , sometimes weeks on end. I watched speciation happen right in front of my eyes. Certain variations would prove successful. Those newfangled variations begin to migrate slowly out of their own little home pocket to "invade and take over" other pockets within the environment. All of this happened and more.

Since I had written the sourcecode myself, I knew there was nothing up my sleeve, as it were. When an offspring was born from two parents, its inherited code was ever slightly, but randomly, mutated. Those little bumps were enough to send the simulation into wild variety, and all manner of pandemonium erupted over several days.

Genetic algorithms are a branch of computer science now. Annual symposiums are attended by an international group of scientists. They are called GECCO.

Yes, it is amazing how correct Charles Darwin was about this in the time he lived. Darwin wrote a lot of letters about all the "gaps" in fossil records, as well as this lingering problem about how old the earth was. The greatest geologists of the 1850s had concluded that the earth could not have been older than 200 million years. In 2017 most those gaps are filled and we have a more accurate estimate of the earth's age.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Watson on July 7th, 2017, 2:31 pm 

When an offspring was born from two parents, its inherited code was ever slightly, but randomly, mutated. Those little bumps were enough to send the simulation into wild variety, and all manner of pandemonium erupted over several days.


I hope this isn't to far off topic but we discussed the chicken/egg question here sometime ago, and this sums it up nicely. The random and wild variety of mutations are produced first in the egg, and later evident in the chicken. Or maybe first in the dinosaur egg, and after all manner of pandemonium, then in the chicken.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Braininvat on July 7th, 2017, 3:56 pm 

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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby hyksos on July 7th, 2017, 4:10 pm 

I'm hoping this is not a skewed reference to my posts in a far-away thread on abiogenesis. (Ya know, the one where BioWizard brutally shut me down from posting responses.)
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 7th, 2017, 4:44 pm 

hyksos » 07 Jul 2017 03:10 pm wrote:BioWizard brutally shut me down from posting responses


Yeah, sorry about that. It was not at all about you or what you yourself had to say - I hope you were able to figure that out.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby wolfhnd on July 7th, 2017, 8:19 pm 

hyksos » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:10 pm wrote:I'm hoping this is not a skewed reference to my posts in a far-away thread on abiogenesis. (Ya know, the one where BioWizard brutally shut me down from posting responses.)


You are very entertaining and that is an important part of public discourse.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Braininvat on July 8th, 2017, 9:36 am 

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n20/jerry-fodor/why-pigs-dont-have-wings

Here is the original paper where it first appeared. Read the responses at the bottom, starting with Simon Blackburn's marvel of concision where he takes down Fodor's position in about 250 words. (I had made much the same comment on the polar bear "spandrels" in another thread...)

The paper is a parade of strawmen (some of them with floppy ears).
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 8th, 2017, 10:25 am 

I join my voice with everyone here who has failed to see how Fodor has created a conceptual problem for natural selection.

Mind you, modern ET considers "selection for" as only one of several drivers of genetic (and consequently phenotypic) diversity.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Forest_Dump on July 8th, 2017, 10:43 am 

BioWizard wrote:hyksos » 07 Jul 2017 03:10 pm wrote:
BioWizard brutally shut me down from posting responses

Yeah, sorry about that. It was not at all about you or what you yourself had to say - I hope you were able to figure that out.


Since here and now I have the opportunity... I am behind Bio on this one. Too many times I have been in the midst of an interesting exchange/debate/ topic, etc. and it has been derailed because someone wants to start interjecting their own points or questions, etc. It might be well-intentioned, etc. but it can also be ruinous and turn the exchange into a cacophony. I saw that one but knew to stay out of it.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 8th, 2017, 11:06 am 

Forest_Dump » 08 Jul 2017 09:43 am wrote:I saw that one but knew to stay out of it.


Thanks Forest. Nothing beats a focused systematic discussion, and I appreciate the courtesy. Twelve years moderating a forum teaches you a thing or two about applying a firm choke-hold on those types of (typically very slippery) threads :-)
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby wolfhnd on July 8th, 2017, 1:34 pm 

"You can explain the linkage between domes, arches and spandrels; the geometry and mechanics of the situation demands it. But the ancillary phenotypic effects of selection for tameness seem to be perfectly arbitrary. In particular, they apparently aren’t adaptations; there isn’t any teleological explanation – any explanation in terms of fitness – as to why domesticated animals tend to have floppy ears. They just do. It’s possible, of course, that channelling and free-riding are just flukes and that most or all of the other evolutionary determinants of phenotypic structure are exogenous. It’s also possible that palaeontologists will someday dig up fossilised pigs with wings. But don’t bet on it."

Obviously he did not read the research. All the domestication traits he claims are unexplained are in general explained by failure to mature. Spots to hide you like a young deer or fox, floppy ears that only need to be trained to focus in adulthood, smaller brains because it is the last structure to finish developing, shorten faces because young animals don't need big teeth between them and nipples, etc.

The problem with logic is it only requires internal consistency. This why I avoid debate and rely on experience in it's broadest sense to avoid my internal conformation bias.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Braininvat on July 8th, 2017, 2:26 pm 

Good catch. Neoteny was not mentioned, and should have been.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby wolfhnd on July 8th, 2017, 7:50 pm 

Braininvat » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:26 pm wrote:Good catch. Neoteny was not mentioned, and should have been.


Could have had used the term neoteny but was trying to make a point about "common sense" and the dangers of over thinking in the absence of experience.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby BioWizard on July 8th, 2017, 8:28 pm 

wolfhnd is on a roll today.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby wolfhnd on July 8th, 2017, 11:29 pm 

BioWizard » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:28 am wrote:wolfhnd is on a roll today.


Not so much a roll as a rant. I have become obsessed with post modernism of late and find it's influences under ever rock. It probably is even relevant here.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 9:11 am 

The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”



Jerry Fodor, at the 7:20 mark in the OP's video, states "It's a very simple argument", referring to the "conceptual" part of his critique on Natural Selection theory (hereafter NST). His book comprises of two halves; a technical critique and a conceptual critique. I will focus here only on the latter.

It is, indeed, a very simple argument, and can be stated thus:

Premise 1: Natural selection theory requires intensional (with an S) discrimination.

Premise 2: We cannot conceive of any mechanism, given the constraints of the theory (e.g. the mechanism cannot have a mind), that can carry out the requisite intensional discrimination.

Conclusion: Natural selection theory is almost certainly false.

A simple argument if ever there was one. The problem, or one of them, is that Fodor draws on material from both the philosophy of mind and language to support his premises; recondite material which breaches interdisciplinary boundaries. Biologists, as a general rule (I presume), do not spend a lot of time plumbing the depths of philosophical esoterica, nor can they be expected to -- they have better things to do. And vice versa.

I must, with all due respect to everyone here, urge you not to underestimate the superficial simplicity of the argument, nor to dismiss Fodor without due consideration. Personally speaking, on my first reading of Fodor's book three years ago or so, I sensed something very important was being said, though I had great difficulty putting my finger on it; a feeling of unease that Positor has echoed in my own thread. A struggle involving several sleepness nights ensued, after which I do now believe I can claim, albeit with some hesitancy, to understand Fodor's attempted conceptual refutation of NST. My diffident confidence has been raised by a recent re-reading, upon which everything he says in the book fits into place. You know the old "Yes, that's what I thought he meant" feeling.

Now, a few ground rules first:

1. If one takes that position, "Pfft! No one is that kind of Darwinian these days. NTS is unimportant to contemporary evolutionary biology", we can stop here. Fodor, however, belies this gambit with various quotes in his book -- NTS continues to play a major, if not dominant role in evolutionary theory, as attested to by prominent biologists themselves.

2. We must bear closely in mind exactly what it is NS that is supposed to do: Natural selection purports to be an exogenous mechanism of some kind or other, responsible for identifying those traits which are conducive to fitness, and conversely, those detrimental to fitness, indifferent to neutral traits, thereby causing a rearrangement of phenotypes.

(If Fodor or myself are inadvertently attacking a strawman (always a possibility), I request our members to state precisely what TNS is supposed to do.)

"Daddy! Why do ostriches have this and that traits?"

"That's because of natural selection, son. Many, perhaps most, of the traits you see on the ostrich are a result of natural selection. NS selects for those traits, as it does for any organism, which enhance fitness in a given ecology."

One of the duties incumbent on NST, then, is to explain phenotypical distribution. It is because of natural selection that the ostrich, largely, has the traits it now has.

NS must be able to distinguish, somehow, those traits that cause fitness from those that do not. If it cannot do this, the entire theory collapses: it fails to explain phenotypes.

3. Fodor adheres mainly to the original principal Darwinian units of selection (a vexed issue in itself), i.e. individual organisms; though his critique, I believe, applies mutatis mutandis, to any theory of selection, insofar as all require intensional discrimination.

Before moving on, a thought of my own. I suspect, reading through the replies in my own thread, is that the main obstacle to grasping Fodor's point, besides the weighty philosophical baggage, is the difficulty, after a lifetime of exposure, to view the world through selection-free spectacles. Fodor is denying selection. Be very clear on this. Try to place yourself circa 1850. The claim is that selection theory cannot be right.

Yes, we know that polar bears with white fur probably fare better than those with bright orange fur (if there are, or ever were, any). But this is something intuition -- a very powerful intuition -- tells us; not selection theory. Selection theory is entirely mute on this issue; precisely Fodor's point -- it cannot distinguish between the two.

Supposing we doubt these powerful intuitions, there is nonetheless a fact of the matter as to which (white or orange polar bears) are more fit, moreover, we could get to the bottom of this, at least in principle, through empirical investigation. We can find out which color of polar bear is more likely to survive and reproduce successfully. All of this is beside Fodor's point: viz, NTS cannot make the discrimination necessary, hence cannot explain the white fur of polar bears. And that's what it's supposed to do, right?

We can! But that's another story. We can also explain, or try to, why the USA prevailed in WW2. By invoking a non-nomological explanation; not by appealing to laws. Presumably there is no law that "Such-and-such countries, given such-and-such conditions, will prevail, or tend to prevail, in such-and such-wars". The situation for selection theory is yet more dire. Can there be a law that "organisms with such-and-such a trait (big eyes, say), given such-and-such an ecology, will prevail (or tend to prevail) in wars with organisms with smaller eyes"?

Why is this even more implausible than laws about countries winning wars? Ans: Because there may be organisms -- different species -- in the very same ecology, one with big eyes and one without; one upon whom an advantage is conferred, the other not.

Laws need not be universally exceptionless (Positor's worry in my thread). In fact, it's something of a platitude these days, among philosophers at least, that all laws outside physics, if there are any, are ceteris paribus (all else being equal, no perturbing influences, etc). That said, how far before we succumb to triviality...

"All Donald Trump's (yes, that one) in 21st century USAs, given such-and-such circumstances, become presidents"?

Is there a story to be told how Trump ascended to the presidency? There'd better be or the principle of sufficient reason (nothing happens for no reason) is fooked. Can his ascendency be subsumed under a law of nature? I don't think so; neither does Jerry.

This, however, is incidental to the thrust of Fodor's attack. Laws represent a lifebelt; not the shipwreck itself.

The Titanic in a nutshell, then:

The hypotheses that "Spandrels were selected for and arches were simply selected (i.e. free-riding cheapskates)" and "Arches were selected for and spandrels came along for the ride" are both perfectly compatible with all the actual data -- all the actual observable facts of this world.

Well, is there a fact of the matter? Which is the paying customer and which the stowaway? You betcha. And what determines its truth? Ans: Appeal to counterfactuals. "The architect had a mind, and he would have chosen spandrel-free arches over arch-free spandrels anyday". The architect was able to mentally represent counterfactual scenarios.

Back to these polar bears now: (and this is where it's essential to stifle your intuitions; we know the answer, or think we do, but that's not the issue. The issue is: can TNS discriminate?). On second thoughts, let's appeal to the polar bear heart, whose properties include, among others, making pump-pump noises and pumping blood.

The hypotheses H1 "hearts were selected for making pumping noises, and blood-pumping was simply selected" and H2 "Hearts were selected for blood-pumping and the pumping-noises snuck on the ship when the Captain wasn't looking" are both perfectly compatible with all the actual data -- all the actual facts of this world.

I repeat. You must overcome your intuitions and think only of what the theory has to say on this -- must say on this to do what it must do.

Ans: It has nothing to say.

In the former case, the deadlock is broken by appeal to counterfactuals: "The architect would have .... if ... "

In the latter case, NST must likewise appeal to counterfactuals -- the actual facts of the world cannot discriminate between the two (and there are more than two) hypotheses. But how? Mother nature has a mind? Preposterous. Laws of selection seem highly implausible.

There seems to be nothing left to appeal to.

Final thought: Frankly, and once again with all due respect to our members, I don't believe it is possible to understand Fodor's conceptual argument without some background in certain recherche philosophical concepts such as intensionality. The book is a valiant struggle even to those who have such a background.

Fodor claims it's an easy arguemnt; Picasso, it was a simple sketch.

I fear, disciplinary committee, you have passed sentence on Mr Sims without sufficient consideration.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Braininvat on July 9th, 2017, 12:16 pm 

Why is this even more implausible than laws about countries winning wars? Ans: Because there may be organisms -- different species -- in the very same ecology, one with big eyes and one without; one upon whom an advantage is conferred, the other not.



Many false attributions to TNS above, Nship. Let me pick this one. "Very same ecology" is the crux of the problem: no two species occupy the same precise niche in an ecosystem. One may be nocturnal, so its placement in the ecosystem, i. e. it's foraging or hunting habits, may favor big eyes. Another may reside in a tree canopy and be active by day, and do better with small piercing eyes. The POSR is pertinent here, insofar as the mechanism of NS is being addressed. We aren't operating on "intuition, " as you elsewhere refer to, but on data derived from observation. From a plethora of observations, we affirm a greater and greater probability that phenotypes shift for specific reasons (in a natural ecosystem) and that the exogenous mechanisms are specific and not at all intuitive, e.g. Manchester trees grew sooty in the early 20th century, snowfields are white on Baffin Island, etc. When polar bears start sprouting Day-Glo colorations of pelt on pristine snowfields, then I will take Fodor to have made a more compelling point.

IOW, spandrels were NOT selected for, and millions of "arch" observations support only that conclusion. And not ONE supports the counterfactual. You don't have to be a flaming Bayesian to respect that distribution, do you?
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 12:23 pm 

My beautiful well-wattled friend... Please read the book

A niche is defined by (the fooker that fits in that niche)

Read the book, please. It's all interdefined. Or prove us wrong. Fodor has big muscles. Wish he was here.

Try this... I think it was Sivad who asked "Misaadaptation?" What's your fooking problem? "He's too nice to say it in so many words.

Why does misadaption get winnowed out out? Coz it has to. By definition.

You see this.

None of the others do

Let 'em snarl and hiss
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 12:30 pm 

May I say, before I go to bed, lovely people... it seems it always comes down to "agenda- driven shit"


May I say... Is it possible, standing outside my "who gives a shit about anything" window...

Never mind

You consider me a fool.

I don't give a fukk about the rest of them idiots, but you BiV. Time and time again amaze me. The person I respect most of all here...

You're so open minded on anything else. Mention Berlinski, Fodor, Trump ( I mean (David Stove)) and...

Your mind is closed as a glove, pal. You never even read them, did you?
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 12:34 pm 

I now ask you, my sexy pal...


Given the history of failed scientific theories, what odds do you give ET?

C'mon now. We wouldn't wanna be religious nuts, would we?

99%?
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 12:43 pm 

I did all I could to defend you, Jerry.

You know what's gonna happen now, they'll call you a strawman, they'll call you a failed Messiah.

No one, as far as I can see, got the fakkin point.. (Positor is trying)

So, Bio, before you dismiss the nice man, I'd like you to refute his conceptual argument.

The rest may fawn. Trust me, I won't.

The court will wait for an answer...

Yes, I also read a lot. Stop treating I'm like some kinda dimwit, Bio. The ball is in your court...
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby Braininvat on July 9th, 2017, 12:53 pm 

Misadaptation happens because ecsystems can change suddenly sometimes. Fodor uses too static a model of Adaptationism, IMO. (Yes, sigh, I've read both Berlinski and Fodor) And he homes in narrowly on a trait, which is an approach that many biologists wouldn't take. Of course, polar bears don't achieve fitness simply in virtue of being white pelted. They do so by embodying a wider principle called camouflage. They adapt by camouflaging and that happens to be the color white because polar snowfields are white. "White" in this case carries the intensional meaning of "what blends in with snow." AKA camouflage. By stripping out that key ingredient of meaning, he makes whiteness a narrower term. The niche, in this case, is defined by the abundance of snow, not by what occupied it. Is that clearer?

Not being closed of mind, just respectfully pointing towards my source of disagreement.
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Re: Jerry Fodor and Nikolaas Tinbergen

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 12:57 pm 

Braininvat » July 10th, 2017, 1:53 am wrote:Misadaptation happens because ecsystems can change suddenly sometimes. Fodor uses too static a model of Adaptationism, IMO. (Yes, sigh, I've read both Berlinski and Fodor) And he homes in narrowly on a trait, which is an approach that many biologists wouldn't take. Of course, polar bears don't achieve fitness simply in virtue of being white pelted. They do so by embodying a wider principle called camouflage. They adapt by camouflaging and that happens to be the color white because polar snowfields are white. "White" in this case carries the intensional meaning of "what blends in with snow." AKA camouflage. By stripping out that key ingredient of meaning, he makes whiteness a narrower term. The niche, in this case, is defined by the abundance of snow, not by what occupied it. Is that clearer?

Not being closed of mind, just respectfully pointing towards my source of disagreement.


First thoughts... Can you give me an example of a maladaption that gained the upper hand?

FFS. You see this this, dude.
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