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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Madonna on Toast? That's Nothing...

Chewbacca lives in this guy's cabinet!

Chewie's trying to send a message to the world: Please, my children! Please! No more Vader cakes! Eeeeaaaaggghhh!

The Vader-cake cult may seem like harmless fun, but it causes a great disturbance in the Force.

The next thing you know, the FAIL demon will take root in your life, causing epic FAILS even in the games you play to pass the time.

And causing you to think you can see, ahem, Russia (or someplace) from here:

Or causing all kinds of inappropriate Star Wars allusions...

(That's Jodee, not Yodee, right? Ha ha.)

...and causing a brave young ID Jedi to fall on his, er, lightsaber.

Nice job, Luke. Way to "battle the Emperor." By the way, what look are you going for? You look like the Emperor. I thought that intelligent design was "young and rebellious"?

Oh, dear. (Chuck Colson on the left; Jonathan Wells on the right.)

Well, anyway. Here's a photo of the Darwinist stormtroopers with their helmets off.

I was going somewhere with this, but now I have no idea. We'll just end it here, okay? ;-)

UPDATED: Well, even if your whimsical blog post is undirected, trust an intelligent design advocate to supply the closure. Dembski's traipsing toward another EPIC FAIL. Forward and dorkward, Mr. Isaac Newton of Information Theory. *Sheesh*.

But let’s grant that the evolutionary process, as governed by the Darwinian selection mechanism, is not goal directed, i.e., that it is not seeking targets (which, of course, leads to the question how a non-directed process is, nonetheless, finding targets in nature). In that case, it makes sense to think of Darwinian mechanism as a grammar-checker — living things must pass the grammar-checker if they get to survive and reproduce.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

No. Dembski still thinks that natural selection is a centralized force, like gravity*. It's not. Natural selection is the term we use to describe the outcome that we see arising from billions of changes and interactions in the environment. I wrote about this in my paper:

To imagine an “animal in its environment” is to imagine a static environment and an objectified animal, and by analogy an inert record in a passive archives, and consequently a Platonic view in which “true knowledge must remain fixed” (Mortensen, 1999, 6). In contrast, Moore argues for the dynamic overlap of object and context. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins argued the same when he wrote that animals and insects do not merely live in, but effect, shape, and become their environment, which in turn shapes their descendents and competitors:

It is legitimate to speak of adaptations as being “for the benefit of” something, but that something is best not seen as the individual organism. It is a smaller unit which I call the active, germ-line replicator. The most important kind of replicator is the “gene” or small genetic fragment. Replicators are not, of course, selected directly, but by proxy; they are judged by their phenotypic effects. Although for some purposes it is convenient to think of these phenotypic effects as being packaged together in discrete “vehicles” such as individual organisms, this is not fundamentally necessary. Rather, the replicator should be thought of as having extended phenotypic effects, consisting of all its effects on the world at large, not just if effects on the individual body in which it happens to be sitting [emphasis mine] (1982, 4).

Dawkins is not saying that birds and nests do not have natures; he is saying that genes replicate themselves by living in birds which, in response to finding themselves in one environment, die or develop a new strategy by building nests, thus changing that environment, thereby improving their chances of reproduction, which increases the chance of the gene’s replication. Bird, nest, behavior, gene, and environment do not collide like billiard balls, but overlap and combine. They exist as objects in themselves and also as functions and relationships across these objects. Yet both preservationists and conservationists in ecology envision “a bird” that “builds” a “nest,” and in archives, “a creator” that “creates” a “collection.” This is not exactly incorrect—it is our experience—but it is naïve, mechanistic, Newtonian. This is where [Mark] Greene et al perhaps meant to place their condemnation of “absolutes,” because given sufficient time the nature of anything changes.

Because we as human beings are accustomed to viewing our creations as artificial (even destructive) and ourselves as uniquely technology-dependent, weak and silly beside our animal cousins, we ignore how animals also change and even pollute the environment for themselves and other animals through their own constructions. Dawkins is saying, and Moore is implying, that the bird’s nest or the archives is a behavior as well as a structure, and that successive generations of birds are no less dependent on their increasingly sophisticated nests than we are upon our structures. Birds too are silly and weak without evolution’s technologies—the nest, the hard-shell egg, the beak. Beavers cut down trees to build dens, flooding a field to create a pond, chasing away some animals and inviting others, drowning plants to be replaced by others. Who, then, is polluting? What, then, is “natural?” Is a beaver’s dam natural, therefore eternal, but an archives artificial and thus infinitely plastic, and Greene seems to claim? Building nests, dams, houses, and archives are all behaviors that recreate context—is it really impossible to say, without appealing to naïve neo-Platonism, that nests, dams, houses, and archives indeed each have a nature? This author argues that they do, and that the nature of archives evolves. Archives change, but archives remain distinct from, say, orchestras, or dance performances, as traffic noise is distinct from tubas (Herbert, 1985, 135). Is it not then reasonable to say that archives are what we archive, whatever that may be and however we may go about archiving it (Kaplan, 2000), and however that may change?

This is the tragedy, that the discussion of a comprehensive and universal archival theory gets bogged down in retrograde dualism: record versus archives, natural versus artificial, and eternal first principles or naïve postmodernist relativism. It is a trap. Dualities usually are, and are worthy of suspicion if not outright avoidance because the mind so readily falls into them. In theory, Eastwood and Duranti hope for a place of stasis, of security, a Promised Land, whereas Greene and his colleagues evidently fear a reissuing of the Ten Commandments that would forcibly unite distant tribes (Greene et al, 10). Neither path leads to a legitimate theory, and all of these brilliant thinkers who each have a part of the answer tragically miss the point.

*Which, of course, is really a curvature in space-time, anyway.

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OpenID sunnyskeptic said...

I know I shouldn't, but I really want that Sarah Palin shirt... :)

March 29, 2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous BWE said...

I just want you to know that I read your posts but I never have anything super witty to say. :)
-peace and shimmy.

March 30, 2009 11:57 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I really want that Sarah Palin shirt...

I want that Chewbacca cabinet! (Don't ask me why...)

Peace and shimmy too, BWE. Sometimes I forget to read my blog, as I didn't answer right away!

April 03, 2009 7:52 PM  
Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Haha the joke is on you - that is the actual cabinet used for the sound effect in the star wars films!

Now if I could modify a bunch of these cheap Walmart cabinets to sound just like that and sell them on Ebay I be making up to 10K per month just like in the TV ads!

That Sarah Palin pic is not a t-shirt. It was airbrushed onto her bare torso.

April 05, 2009 3:57 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Psst - Rev. Barky and SunnySkeptic - it's frosting. *Cringe*

April 06, 2009 11:09 PM  
Blogger Wesley said...

Jodee Berry won a settlement with Hooters and will be able to pick out her choice of Toyota automobile.

Back in the 1960s, the game show "Concentration" used to have a major prize, some minor prizes, and some gag items. One of the gag items, though, turned into the show's highest payout, when a winner insisted that the show make good on "A Brick Wall" prize. He got a custom-made brick wall around his property.

July 18, 2009 10:09 AM  

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