Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:06 am

<< Week of November 26, 2014 >>
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday
26 Day Month

27 Day Month

28 Day Month

29 Day Month

30 Day Month

1 Day Month

2 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Ch. 6 - Genesmanship 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Graduate Student

Silver Contributor

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 416
Location: Portland, OR
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 39 times in 32 posts
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Interesting. Thank you, Robert.



Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:46 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4964
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1090
Thanked: 1061 times in 829 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Robert Tulip wrote:
The issue is that human life depends strongly on reasoning, so the conflicting selective pressures (reason and instinct) have their corresponding genes. Older parts of the human brain are common to all vertebrates, so instinctive action based on activity in these parts of our brain is what your question describes as genetic.

I would differ from you, Robert, in not terming reason and instinct as 'selective pressures.' A selective pressure to my understanding has to be exerted by the environment. Reason and the adaptive responses of instinct developed as a result of environmental challeges to survival. Putting it the way you have makes it seem as though reason has an evolutionary mandate of its own, and I can't see how this could be the case.

You are correct in saying that reason vs. instinct is not a debate about genetic determinism, because both reason and instinct are supplied by genes. But there is a debate about genetic determinism when it comes to whether our parents' genetic input compels us to be like them. Even if human cloning were possible and 100% of a parent's genes were passed to the child, it is not certain that these two humans would be identical. The environment is thought to play an important role in whether genes are expressed in a certain way. The phenotype could vary from the genotype even when the offspring is a clone, at least when we are considering humans. Conceivably, the clone of a schizophrenic parent could manage to avoid being afflicted with the disease. The field of epigenetics--how the environment modifies the genetic heritage--is an interesting one.



Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:47 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4239
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1169
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post 
DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
The issue is that human life depends strongly on reasoning, so the conflicting selective pressures (reason and instinct) have their corresponding genes. Older parts of the human brain are common to all vertebrates, so instinctive action based on activity in these parts of our brain is what your question describes as genetic.

I would differ from you, Robert, in not terming reason and instinct as 'selective pressures.' A selective pressure to my understanding has to be exerted by the environment. Reason and the adaptive responses of instinct developed as a result of environmental challenges to survival. Putting it the way you have makes it seem as though reason has an evolutionary mandate of its own, and I can't see how this could be the case.
Good point Bill, I should have said selective pressures impacting on reasoned and instinctive responses.

I find this a really interesting question, in that our modern global circumstances have in some real sense departed from the old purely natural context of evolution where the sort of ‘machine response’ that Dawkins describes is clearly no longer sufficient. We can describe instinct, (and so perhaps all animal life?), as a mechanistic response determined by genetic programming, but rationality is qualitatively different. The difference is not just a matter of free choice, as Dawkins demonstrates that animals display freedom in the way they are unpredictable as to whether for example they will run or fight when confronted. Descartes argued that animals are machines without spirit, but that seems to be an unfair disparagement. It seems clear that animals display rational freedom too.

One thing here is that the term 'instinct' seems to have fallen out of favour. I'm not sure why.



Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:54 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4964
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1090
Thanked: 1061 times in 829 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Robert Tulip wrote:
I find this a really interesting question, in that our modern global circumstances have in some real sense departed from the old purely natural context of evolution where the sort of ‘machine response’ that Dawkins describes is clearly no longer sufficient. We can describe instinct, (and so perhaps all animal life?), as a mechanistic response determined by genetic programming, but rationality is qualitatively different. The difference is not just a matter of free choice, as Dawkins demonstrates that animals display freedom in the way they are unpredictable as to whether for example they will run or fight when confronted. Descartes argued that animals are machines without spirit, but that seems to be an unfair disparagement. It seems clear that animals display rational freedom too.

One thing here is that the term 'instinct' seems to have fallen out of
favour. I'm not sure why.

I agree, Robert, that we don't naturally evolve, at least not at a rate that we would be able to notice, but we do 'evolve' in a more general sense, that is culturally. I think Dawkins also believes that our rationality or consciousness has set us on a different track from the other animals. He attributes to culture, and not to natural forces, our ideas that that enable us to be to an extent independent from nature. I think the void that is left for him prompted him to fill it with a quasi-naturalistic theory of memes. I'm not with him on this, though, feeling that it adds nothing to our ability to understand the hows and whys of culture change.

I think you might be right about instinct being passe. I don't know why this is. On the rationality of animals, one of the philosophers in the de Waal book we read termed animals as 'wantons,' meaning that they are more or less at the mercy of their genetic programming as we view them in action. This does seem very close to instinct, doesn't it? At least one of the other philosophers agreed with this idea of wantonness. I can see some truth in this view as I consider the dog I've been living with for the past ten years. No offense, Hazel.



Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:07 am
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

Recent Posts 
Info on Reading Habits

Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:35 am

indepence

Why Do So Many Have Trouble Believing In Evolution?

Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:33 am

lehelvandor

Introduction

Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:35 am

Robert Tulip

7 + 5 = 12

Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:11 am

Suzanne

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes

Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:02 am

Suzanne

Do you have a quote to share? Funny? Positive? Thought Provoking?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:59 pm

Jokermagician

Flowers for Algernon; short story

Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:57 pm

Suzanne

Dawkins/Harris - Anti-theists, Not Atheists

Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:48 pm

DWill

Negotiating with terrorists for the release of hostages?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:43 pm

Alan Stroe

If you were God, would you give humanity moral free will?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:39 pm

Interbane

How important is the news?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:15 pm

danimorg62

Ironbound Strength Ebook

Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:15 pm

StoyanV

New book set in Scotland from mid-1600s to mid-1800s

Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:32 pm

ScotsNews

Why is there something and not nothing?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:56 pm

David Rain

Is God the epitome of both good and evil?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:11 pm

danimorg62

Trevor

Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:06 pm

Nigel Phibes

Murder Mystery series with a bit of a difference

Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:24 pm

annabelausten

Faith closes the mind. It is pure idol worship.

Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:08 am

lehelvandor

Writing is the light of imagination playing over shadow of thoughts

Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:05 am

khaled Talib

Origins of the Dreamweaver - Free Nov. 26 and 27!

Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:21 am

Jokermagician


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Poll

Yes  66%  [2]
No  33%  [1]
Total votes: 3

Books by New Authors

Visual Help for Getting Started


Top Posters

Of all time: Chris OConnor (14185), Interbane (5598), DWill (4964), stahrwe (4610), Robert Tulip (4239), Mr. Pessimistic (3542), johnson1010 (3326), geo (3269), ant (3105), Penelope (2969), Saffron (2859), Suzanne (2484), Frank 013 (2021), Dissident Heart (1796), bleachededen (1680), President Camacho (1614), Ophelia (1543), Dexter (1453), tat tvam asi (1298), youkrst (1287)

Of the last 24 hrs: ant (9), Interbane (8), Flann 5 (7), Gnostic Bishop (6), danimorg62 (6), Movie Nerd (3), Suzanne (3), lehelvandor (3), Cattleman (3), Crystalline (2), Alan Stroe (1), DK Mok (1), annabelausten (1), Jokermagician (1), JJ_Co (1), David Rain (1), indepence (1), StoyanV (1), Robert Tulip (1), ScotsNews (1)




BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart - by Lex Bayer and John FigdorSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank