Nick -


Thanks for allowing me to sling irresponsible insults at you with impunity. It has been VERY helpful to my recovery. You might consider opening a clinic.

One of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahnuik, wrote a protaganist who visits his mother in a dementia/alzheimer's ward every day where the other women there constantly mistake him for some male in their life who wronged them early in their lives. At first he argued with them and tried to convince them that he wasn't "THAT funny uncle", etc. Eventually he discovered it was easier for him to just give over to them and accept whatever identity they "needed" him to have and then began to embrace the roles they caste him into, acknowledging whatever perceived harm his character had leveled on them and then apologizing for that action profusely. It was cathartic for them and he realized he was making their day. Of course, he had to repeat it every visit "groundhog day" style. Palahnuik (who wrote Fight Club also) writes fascinatingly obtuse characters.

I considered calling “quantum randomness” “notional”, but I wasn’t sure WTF I meant by that. There’s a dimension here I am groping to express. Quantum randomness and natural selection and gene are way out on that dimension as things we believe in the concreteness of, yet they are far from our concrete experience. We experience them as foundations of our thought, yet we never see them. I guess the best I can say at this point is that something about that makes me uneasy.

I share your uneasiness, but mine may penetrate deeper (shallower?) into the less esoteric models. I mentioned my own strong intuitive preference for a "flat earth" and "earth-centric" celestial system, even if my *intellect* believes it could recognize the anomalies those models exhibit and resolve "the facts" more better with the "new and improved" models.

I want to push back on “evolution just is”. Evolution is a way, and not other ways. Evolution is more directly presented to experience than is natural selection. Natural selection is the very abstract idea that resolves problems and paradoxes raised in Darwin’s imagination by his “experience” of evolution. Just as “gene” is a “pseudo-concrete” idea that resolves paradoxes and problems raised in Mendel’s pea-patch.

I have to agree with this. I don't mean to say "I know without any doubt that evolution just is" but rather, "if evolution IS, then it JUST is", rather perhaps than "it's nature needs/affords to be belabored". Maybe a more fundamental article of faith than "natural selection" or "gene" or "metabolic pathway" are. I'm not sure evolution is directly observable, but the artifacts we find CAN perceive directly seem more directly mapped to it as a model than for example, "natural selection"? I suspect for another group of "true believers", THEIR fundamental models (e.g. omnipotent patriarchal creator/punisher/forgiver/mystery-maker) are just as fundamental? "God/Goddess just is"?

I too am awaiting Dave’s summary. I have ordered the book from the library. I wish I were there to take Dave’s course.

I imagine you to return to SFe in September each year, do I have my calendar wrong?

- Steve
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