Friday, September 17, 2010

Earthquake vs. Evolution

This sort of thing (HT) is actually quite a challenge to evolution. Imagine what a species has to go through to select for earthquake detection: either most individuals that can't detect earthquakes have to die, or else the detectors have to breed disproportionately. With the reliability these toads display, the faculty would have to be selected for extremely strongly - earthquakes massacring toads over and over or somehow causing a huge offspring disparity over several generations.

Both are problematic. Toads are small, thus light and can take to the water. An earthquake doesn't have much purchase on particular individuals. Their response to the quake actually takes them away from spawning, so I have a hard time imagining the earthquake-dodging toads breed a great deal more.

Secondly, every generation without an earthquake is going to damage to earthquake-detecting genes. Genetic drift will reliably erode them. Except for places with very frequent shocks like the San Andreas fault, the ability should die out long before it is put to use.

What all this adds up to is that toads are dodging earthquakes without ever having been selected to dodge earthquakes.

A word on anecdotal evidence. It's still evidence. Don't ignore evidence because it's unfashionable.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Factually Incorrect, But What Is the Intuition Getting At?

I have been irritated. Luckily, I have a blog.
""Deductively, we can assert that either Dr. Fukino is lying, or she is telling the truth"
Elizabeth Loftus disagrees. Yet again, philosophy fails to contribute."
No, this is a failure to understand philosophy. Predictably, from someone who thinks that philosophy fails to contribute. The belief obscures any evidence to the contrary, because philosophy is run on the wetware - you need to take philosophy seriously enough to install the programs before you can accurately evaluate its statements.

Either Fukino thinks she's seen a birth certificate, or not. Whether she has actually seen a legitimate document, or used her hypocrisy circuits to invent a memory of such, is quite irrelevant to whether she is lying or not.[1]

Would this small modification have helped?
"Therefore, B.H. Obama and [or] his associates [think they] are actively withholding this historical document (which should not be confused with a database printout on fancy paper) from the public in the face of substantial public interest. Remember, this is a best-case scenario."
I don't think so; I made this change automatically, as part of interpreting writings charitably, but perhaps this is a specialized skill which is more difficult than I realize.

I think there's something more to these anti-philosophy charades (I see them everywhere) that I don't fully understand. The issue of being factually incorrect is blinding me. I suspect that the situation is somewhat symmetrical - they don't understand philosophy, and I don't understand what they're finding objectionable in philosophy. Any ideas would be appreciated.

I should also mention that several commenters suggested that Obama is withholding on purpose. He's already president, so fait accompli, and a lot of his opponents are wasting time with this dead end. A sign of utter unscrupulousness, if so, but pure win for him, strategically.

[1] For the record I don't care either way. Citizenship is just a contrived legal hurdle, the real question is who should be president, for the good of the country, and the real answer is no one.