Does… leave the world a better place than you were born into, work as a moral code? I would say it does not because there is no real guidance there–e.g., does humanity matter in this equation? The banning of DDT cost millions of lives. Making energy more expensive by banning fossil fuel — for the good of the world — exposes the world’s poor to more misery, poverty and death. Evolution doesn’t give extra credit for ideas that only seem to be better than they are.
Coming up with anything individually satisfying that is more than an ephemeral value judgment is hard; and, it’s the hard things that have been puzzled over for 1,000s of years — by many a wise individual — preceded by an ancient societal wisdom into which we all are born. As a result, isn’t morality the product of a grudging endeavor, hammered into form by those facing unimaginably great human travail — from long before the time of writing– that might generally be called, principles of faith to live and die by that inform and guide us?
Is it not the case that these principles are every bit as strong and indispensable to our survival as an “instinct” that informs the living bird and all future birds of a feather to fly South when the time is about right? From that perspective, doesn’t atheology, for example, simply dismiss 1,000s of years of temporal evolution?
Are the living traditions simply to be dismissed by an atheist’s new beliefs or have myriad new and well-suited theories of human conduct always existed, flowing from and just waiting to be realized as the undeniable product of the same mutable, random, cumulative, synergistic chemical reactions and processes that gave rise to our existence? Must all of us moderns accept that morality, principles, ethics, self-awareness and an understanding of our place in the universe are amorally-impelled: the result of interactions and reactions of complex elements, compounds and ultimately biological systems with systems within systems until finally, voilà, it is I, a living being — existing for a brief and insignificant point in time — that only now is finally capable of understanding all faith is illusion?
So if Darwinian evolutionary biology is still a viable scientific theory, is it nevertheless a “harmful truth” in the Straussian sense? Does it necessarily undermine the moral order? Is it necessarily in conflict with religion? [Irving] Kristol thinks so. According to him, it undermines even “the belief that there is such a thing as a moral code.” ~Brian Doherty
Whether by design or chance, life was breathed into Darwinism by philosophers at tables in French cafés, only to live and die in the mean streets of LA. “When we ask about the origin of life,” says Denyse O’Leary, “what question are we trying to answer? Darwin was a materialist; that is, he saw life as made up only of material bodies. He wanted to know how such a body could form, with input only from the laws of nature acting on chance events. In reality, life is mainly information. Our physical lives are not the sum of the chemicals that make up our bodies; they are also the staggering amount of information that governs the operation of the billions of molecular machines that manage all the chemicals. When we die, the chemicals are all still there, but the system of information that holds them together is lost. Perhaps the question we should ask is not how does life form by chance, but what is the source of all the information that life requires? Answering this question won’t be easy, because information is not measured in the same type of units as matter or energy. It is a real quantity but not a material one.”
For unpredictable events with ranges and frequencies that are not completely understood, similar but not equivalent steps, can be taken. It is, for example, possible to maximize average “subjective” returns based on intuitive assessments of the relative frequency of possible events, even when only a subset of the actual possibilities are known. It is also possible to form contingent plans based on the possibilities of which one is aware. However, if the range and connections among events are not completely understood, subjective estimates of probabilities will not be accurate and it will not be possible to have a conditional plan that accounts for every event that may occur. One may pack a sweater and umbrella for a trip to the beach, but have no idea about what to do when the tsunami alarm goes off. Indeed, one may not even understand the meaning of a tsunami siren, or warning announcement in Japanese, even if one hears the siren and warning and knows what a tsunami is. ~Roger D. Congleton
Western academia’s fixation on global warming and climate change introduces us to what life is like in shadow of the Tower of Babel. Statisticians, McShane and Wyner found absolutely no signal whatsoever in the proxy data Michael Mann used to fabricate the apocryphal hockey stick graph that both charged and found all of us guilty of the crime of causing global warming. Moreover, it is a fact that going on 20 years now there has been no global warming despite increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 and the dire predictions of government scientists based on their Global Circulation Models (GCMs). And yet we see the government using public money to fund a search by other scientists (like that of Thorarinsdottir, et al.) for the optimal method of determining whether the ‘fingerprint’ of man still may properly be found within the output of an assortment of these failed GCMs.
Can us moderns still make rational, moral choices when science hits a wall? Probably, if we know at least one thing: A man’s got to know his limitations. Our methodologies must immediately fail when we start at the outset by erroneously admitting assorted GCMs embody evidence of humanity’s tampering with the global climate without any finding whatsoever concerning the scientific validity of the methodology employed by the supposed experts of single-causation model-making (i.e., models that begin with a scientist’s belief that humanity’s CO2 causes global warming).
The GCMs of the government’s model-makers have demonstrated only their inherent unreliability: the marked differences between model-predictions compared to actual conditions will always be the very most we can ever presently know for sure about anything. The models were wrong! Nature always knows more about everything than we know and that is something we cannot continue to ignore.
A deterministic view
of a probabilistic world
clouds our future.