cause-and-effect

Sydney Shall bafa1 at central.susx.ac.uk
Mon Jun 20 07:16:09 EST 1994


Malcolm McMahon (cuhes at csv.warwick.ac.uk) wrote:
: In article <CrKCp7.9Ky at mozo.cc.purdue.edu>,
: 	barani at cc.purdue.edu (barani) writes:
: >"a cell becomes cancerous because it can lead to ageing..."
: >"certain genes are turned off or turned on because the future 
: >generation baby can be healthy..."
: >etc.
: >
: >There is an element of the authors' personal beliefs in these 
: >arguments related to cause-and-effect.

: This is a familiar cry for scientific "objectivity" of the sort that
: led to the long dark night of behaviourism in the psycholigal sciences.
: It missed the point that evolutionary processes, like mental processes
: are goal directed and can often be best analysed in terms of purpose.

: Malcolm
Unlike mental processes, evolutionary processes are NOT goal-directed. 
The current view of evolution very clearly observes that mutations
happen in cells (or organisms) and then afterwards natural selection
works against all those forms that are not able to produce the most
offspring over an extended time period.  

The evolution of mental properties are odd and unique precisely because
the ability of a brain to develop "purpose" and "objevtives".  Natural
selection has neither of these properties.

-- 
Sydney SHALL,
Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology,
Biology Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QG, ENGLAND.
Telephone: +44.273.67.83.03         FAX: +44.273.67.84.33




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