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Open Letter to Book Talk 
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Post Open Letter to Book Talk
A few days ago, I committed to Chris that I would definitely be in the chat with Dr. Bloom. I've finished The Lucifer Principle and am not sure my attendance is such a good idea. To put it bluntly, The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain are teleological garbage.

We



Thu Nov 28, 2002 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
I haven't finished the book yet, but it sounds like you MUST be part of the chat as long as you have specific objections. I'm sure Bloom has heard them before, it would be interesting to see how he handles them.




Fri Nov 29, 2002 10:55 am
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
Jeremy

As I said to you in an email I do hope you attend the chat with Howard Bloom. I have to assume he is used to his ideas being challenged, and provided they are challenged in a very friendly and professional and courteous manner I see no problem with it.

I would not be very happy if anyone came to the chat and did anything to interupt the flow or order of it all. And I know this isn't something you would ever do, so please make an effort to be there. Science is all about opening yourself up to criticism, so there is nothing to be gained by censorship.

As we approach the chat date I will make some posts and send some emails with a basic format for the chat session. I'm still thinking about this. I'm not sure if we will have anyone pop in attempting to cause problems or not. You never know in the world of Internet anonymity.

Chris

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 4:10 pm



Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:07 am
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
I'm only halfway through the book and admittedly, I do not have the background in evolution as some of our more prominent members, but as a critical thinker, I have am not sure I follow your criticisms of Bloom's thesis.

The growth of complexity in a closed system, such as we suspect the universe to be, does not contradict the laws of thermodynamics so long as increased complexity corresponds to increased entropy. In fact, there are several theories regarding the growth of complexity and the direction of evolution and they are not just the musing of crackpots and mysticists. S. J. Gould for one, was responsible in part for the idea of increasing complexity.

Also check this link out for additional information and references. It would seem to me that Bloom has a descent scientific backing for at least the the direction of evolution.




Fri Dec 13, 2002 10:41 pm
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
Tim....that link really doesn't say much, save that an organism able to grow in more than one location or under more than one set of conditions is more fit than another. I wouldn't say this is an increase in complexity, so much as an increase in adaptivity. It's an increase in complexity of function, not necessarily an increase in complexity of gross structure.




Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:45 am
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
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The growth of complexity in a closed system, such as we suspect the universe to be, does not contradict the laws of thermodynamics so long as increased complexity corresponds to increased entropy.
Of course it doesn't. Bloom is the one asserting that the laws of thermodynamics are wrong.

Under some circumstances, organisms, replicators, move from less complex to more complex. They also move from more complex to less complex. This is not controversial. What Dr. Bloom is asserting, that "more complex" is a direction that life is moving toward, is a different kettle of fish entirely. It is called teleology, and is considered a fallacy because there is no mechanism available for it to occur.

An example. Lets say we are observing an anthill. One of the facts we notice about the anthill is that it is getting higher. It has a direction: up. Now I may say (as I did in another post), that this particular direction is a result of the drunkard's walk; the Santa Fe institute may say that there is an up-building aspect of anthills, the laws of which we would very much like to learn. But no responsible biologist says, "well of course, the ants are "trying" to get higher up so they can look in your window".

How do ants know to look in a window? How does Life know it "wants" to be more complex? They don't. Bloom says they do. He is wrong.




Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:09 am
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Post Re: Open Letter to Book Talk
Jeremy, I understand your point and emphatically agree in the case of biology. However, Bloom is primarilly talking about sociology, and there is definitely a strong teleological aspect to the changes that occur in that mileau. For example, the framers of the Constitution had a very definite idea of which direction they wanted society to move toward, and they acted in ways aimed specifically and consciously at achieving the goal. It is in that goal oriented quality that Bloom places the real power of memes to change society; and I don't necessarilly have a problem with that in general terms. What I get bent about is the way Bloom tries to equate social change to biological evolution in a Darwinian sense, and the equivalence simply is not there.




Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:45 pm
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