Miscellany: involution, evolution, and “the experience machine”

On the twice two-fold of evolution; “casting off,” “enfolding,” ontogeny, and phylogeny: Evolution seems to be a two-fold movement: at once (1) “casting off” and also (2) “enfolding.”  The first is demonstrated in the human phylogeny in the human being having successfully “shed” all other forms of life—icthyoid, saurian, mammalian, hominoid—before finally incarnating into human…

Miscellany: “Science,” “citizens,” “consumers,” and other topics

Is science exclusively abstract and reductionistic in principle or could it also be integral and creative?  I have treated this topic much more thoroughly in my dissertation but here are a few brief remarks. Any answer will depend on our theory of science, which is itself subject to transformation. It will also depend on which branch…

Video Lecture: Science and Religion (1) Self and World

Some readers may be interested in a lecture on the relationship between religion and science as a reflection of the self-concept and world-concept. It was recorded for the sake of my students in a Critical Thinking course at Alaska Pacific University. I welcome any comments or thoughts on the subject. Warmly, Max

Mythos, Logos, and the Lamb of God: René Girard on the Scapegoat Mechanism

Introduction On another occasion, I employed Hesiod’s contradictory characterizations of Saturn in the Theogony and Works and Days to inquire into the seeming paradox of a filicidal tyrant simultaneously ruling over the fabled Golden Age of the world. Hesiod’s account served as a representative of the concurrent narratives of decadence and progress that often confront…

Miscellany: On teleology and evolutionary theory, the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, and other topics

On teleology and evolutionary theory: There is an extremely significant point to consider in respect to the premise that the genome is conserved through an individual organism’s interaction with its environment while the epigenome can undergo changes brought about directly by that organism’s action and interaction with(in). This is a straightforward and uncontroversial characterisation of…

Miscellany: on evolutionary theory, knowledge, and ethics

On evolutionary theory: Let’s take your example of the eye: you rightly pointed out that it is easily intelligible to conceive of the eye as an organ ordered to the purpose of sight. Imagine that you had to arrive at a seeing eye purely by way of chance mutations and without any “foresight,” which is…

Miscellany: questions concerning the philosophy of science

On gods as “explanations,” health, and science versus philosophy: I wonder about whether the gods and spirits that peopled the cosmology of ancient cultures were really understood to be “explanations” by them or whether this is rather merely an example of another “just-so” story offered by modern anthropologists. You wrote, “Human beings did not look…

New Publication: The Redemption of Thinking

The Redemption of Thinking: A Study in Truth, Meaning, and the Evolution of Consciousness, 2020. Truth and meaning: what is their relation? Shall ever the twain be one? This dissertation attempts to show how the ascendancy of a particular method of inquiry since the seventeenth century has forfeit meaning in the pursuit of truth. At…