On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM, Stathis Papaioannou
<stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 28 February 2010 05:33, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>> I'm not sure what you're saying here. Is it that peoples' beliefs
>>> could not be other than what they actually are given initial
>>> conditions and physical laws?  I suppose that is true, but even in a
>>> deterministic single universe we generally use the term "physically
>>> possible" to mean that something could have been the case if initial
>>> conditions had been different, while in a multiverse "physically
>>> possible" means that it occurs in at least one universe. In either of
>>> these two senses, it is physically possible that a person believes
>>> that he lives for only a day.
>>
>> How do you know?  Perhaps the physical brain state that this belief
>> WOULD supervene on is not actually possible in our universe due to the
>> fact that assuming that state would violate the Pauli exclusion
>> principle?
>>
>> Or perhaps it wouldn't violate the violate any physical law, BUT all
>> paths by which you could reach that state WOULD violate some physical
>> law.  So the only universe that could contain a person holding that
>> belief would have to have this person appear as part of the initial
>> conditions of that universe.
>>
>> Note that I am not arguing that this particular belief is an
>> impossible belief.  What I'm arguing is that evolution doesn't help
>> you one way or the other in deciding...because evolution is just a
>> mental tool, a way of thinking by analogy.  Lacking any sort of causal
>> mechanism, it doesn't explain the way things are.  It's just a story
>> that helps us think about the way things are.  Right?
>
> People believe and do all sorts of crazy things, as I'm sure you know.
> The psychological capacity for just about any possible behaviour is
> there, but the very maladaptive behaviours are rare. It's not that
> it's difficult to make an animal that does not feel hungry, it's just
> that these animals don't pass on their genes. Is that not a causal
> mechanism for evolution?

Isn't there already a complete causal account at the level of quarks
and electrons and the fundamental forces that govern their
interactions, stretching back to the first instant of the universe,
for the existence and demise of any specific animal that doesn't feel
hunger?

If this physics-based account is complete, then what does this extra
causal mechanism of evolution that you are proposing actually do?
Either evolution "really" does something - or it's just an imaginary
device that we've made up...a descriptive metaphorical narrative that
is broadly compatible with a Victorian conception of how the world is,
but which in itself doesn't actually explain anything.

Rex

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