First Causes

paul v birke nonlinear at rogers.com
Mon Sep 6 18:33:54 EST 2004

Dear Lester

Please don't cross post to comp.ai.neural-nets.

Here we are more algorithm and number crunching persons and remain more 
serious about those endeavors than philosophical dissertations or 
notions !!!



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

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