On 28 February 2010 17:38, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> 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.

I can say
(a) I ate the sandwich because I was hungry; or
(b) I ate the sandwich because signals from my hypothalamus acted on
my motor cortex which then caused the muscles in my arms and jaws to
contract in a certain coordinated way; or
(c) I ate the sandwich because of the initial state of the universe
plus the laws of physics.

All these are valid explanations for why I ate the sandwich. The first
two are explanations at a higher level of description than the last.

Stathis Papaioannou

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