I’m sure it’s upsetting to people when I link to them for the wrong reasons, but I can’t help it. I am genuinely pleased to read instances where people make non-ideological judgments about subjects that one might expect them to have unyielding ideological positions on. I don’t think it proves that they are irrational or that their ideology is wrong. Rather, it proves that any particular ideology is contingent and that these folks are OK despite the fact that I may disagree with them in some respects.
From evolutionist philosophy student Michael Johnson:
I haven’t read the entirety of this piece of stupidity in (Pseudo)Scientific-American, it was just too painful:
Now, I guess I shouldn’t expect much from someone who uses the words “patternicity” and “agenticity”, but this was linked over at RichardDawkins.net, and people there seemed to like it. So I think there’s some merit in spelling out why armchair evolutionary psychology is woo, plain and simple….
Yes, people say this sort of crap. And get published in Scientific American. And fawned over at RichardDawkins.net. It’s unsettling.
Personally, I consider all evolutionary psychology to be quackery, without qualification. But I give Michael credit for distinguishing between empirical evidence and scientific-sounding quackery, and for not being a political animal.
From evolutionist philosopher Noah Greenstein:
Here is the problem: If you have a non-reducible relation (e.g., a 3-body problem or a logical mutual interdependence) then you cannot explain how it came to exist. Explaining such things would mean that the relation was reducible. But being unable to explain some scientific phenomenon violates the principle of science: we should be able to explain physical phenomenon. Then the relation must not be non-reducible or it must have been a preexisting condition going all the way back to the origin of the universe. Either you have a contradiction or it is unexplainable by definition….
As you can see, I am drawing a parallel between a multiple body problem and multiple organisms that live together. Like the star example above, there is no way to explain the origins of organisms living together. Even in the most basic case it is impossible.
I have not examined the three-body problem enough to know how it relates to factoring multivariate polynomials, which represents the outer limit of my mathematical knowledge. However, in biology I consider there to be too many variables acting within systems and upon systems to be able to identify with certainty mechanistic causes of particular phenomena, using only historical methods. I give Noah credit for acknowledging that the scientific method does not always yield a satisfactory answer, and for not being a political animal.
For some examples of parasitic behavior that are impossible to explain using some kind of historical investigation of oversimplified inherited mechanisms, try this: