First Causes

Lester Zick lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net
Tue Sep 7 10:54:12 EST 2004


On Mon, 06 Sep 2004 17:19:35 GMT, patty <pattyNO at SPAMicyberspace.net>
in comp.ai.philosophy wrote:

>Lester Zick wrote:
>>                                            First Causes
>>                                                   -----
>> 
>> There are three main streams of metaphysics in the west: the ancient,
>> the classical religious, and Darwinian branch of evolution and natural
>> selection. There are undoubtedly others, but at least these three try
>> to analyze the nature of man in scientific or quasi scientific terms.
>> 
>> The ancient branch of metaphysics was laid down by Aristotle who
>> defined metaphysics as the study of being qua being and a prime mover
>> unmoved as the first cause of everything. Classical religious dogma
>> kept the metaphysics and merely replaced the prime mover unmoved by
>> god, viewing metaphysics and science as extensions of the intentions
>> of god according to holy writ.
>> 
>> And in perhaps the penultimate chapter in the epistemological
>> revolution characterizing the post renaissance natural science,
>> Charles Darwin redefined man not according to ancient or classical
>> religious assumptions regarding animal, man, and god but according
>> to biological linkage between man and animals instead, thus relegating
>> metaphysics to the study of evolution of species and the idea of
>> evolution as a first cause.
>> 
>> What's noteworthy in all three instances, however, is that no one ever
>> proved anything regarding first causes. Aristotle's first cause, the
>> prime mover unmoved was simply an imaginary construct, as was god.
>> The ideas of a prime mover unmoved and god were merely forensic
>> devices without mechanical support.
>> 
>> Evolution, on the other hand, certainly had evidentiary mechanical
>> support in the origin of species, but nothing in the origin of species
>> says definitely what a first cause is of necessity. Evolution and
>> natural selection themselves are ideas predating Darwin's connection
>> of them to the origin of species. Biological speciation might be a
>> vehicle of natural selection. But that doesn't mean it is the only
>> possible vehicle of natural selection, evolution, or the necessary
>> first cause of everything.
>> 
>> In other words, the biological origin of species could be true without
>> proving the direct connection of man to animal in mechanical terms.
>> Evolution could just as easily provide the transition from animal to
>> man just as between plant and animal. And we would still be left with
>> the distinct and separate categories however they originated. Darwin
>> proved there was no supernatural or divine intervention needed in the
>> mechanical transition. But he did not prove there was no transition.
>> 
>> The only cause which supplies its own proof as first cause is the idea
>> of differences and cognates of differences: negation, contradiction,
>> not, etc. and that principle compounded in terms of itself. Neither
>> Aristotle's prime mover unmoved nor god is proven of itself. Nor are
>> evolution and the natural selection of species proven with respect to
>> the categories and transitions between the categories.
>> 
>> The only thing proven of itself as the source and first cause of
>> everything are differences and cognates of differences. And it is
>> in terms of these elements that the categories of being are to be
>> examined and explained in strict mechanical terms of one another.
>> 
>> Regards - Lester
>
>Oh yes, yes, yes !  "If there were no differences, well then everything 
>would be the same"

You might have some little difficulty proving this statement, patty.
The terms "everything" and "same" are clear enough, but the term
"differences" has no direct connection to them. You might be able to
get away with "Without differences, then everything defined by
differences would be the same defined by differences" or "Without
differences, everything defined by differences would be nothing
defined by differences". But the problem is that you aren't proving
the main contention that everything is differences to begin with.

You might just as well contend that "Without turtles, everything
defined by turtles would be the same". The question is what is defined
by turtles or differences or anything else for that matter? And your
statement does nothing to prove the issue one way or the other. The
best you can say is that everything defined by differences is the same
but not whether everything is defined by differences to begin with. If
you just say that "the same" represents the absence of differences,
you're left with a meaningless tautology.

It's the same problem Wolf had when he naively contended he could
prove anything by similar means and then contended the whole thing
was nothing more than a truism. A statement like "Without turtles,
everything defined by turtles would be nothing defined by turtles" is
a truism. So is "Without differences, everything would be nothing" if
you naively assume "everything" to mean "everything defined by
differences" and "nothing" to mean "nothing defined by differences".
But it isn't a truism to say "Everything is defined by differences" to
begin with because that has to be proven true through consideration of
the self contradictory nature of alternatives.

And when you go to prove your statement, please be sure to show your
work. Wolf doesn't have that problem because he doesn't save posts so
he doesn't have to contend with what he's said in the past.

>                                 ...  so simple ... so beautiful ... The First Cause 
>indeed! ... even a baby can understand it now!  Isn't it so very 
>surprising that it took three thousand years of Western Civilization 
>before Lester Zick came along and told us about it?

Not at all, patty. What you don't seem to realize is that if there
were no differences, everything wouldn't just be the same, there would
be nothing. Quite possibly the reason philosophy and science have had
such a hard time figuring this out is that, like you, civilization in
general has been having a blond moment lasting some twenty to two
hundred thousand years instead of just the three thousand years it
took you figure out that you didn't know what you were talking about.

I assume that positivists would like to have been able to prove it all
and do so in universal terms as well. The problem is that they seem to
know everything already. But unfortunately they seem to be no more
adept at tautological inference than many on the present newsgroup.

Regards - Lester



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