Empedocles, father of evolution theory

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Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#1  Postby Arthur Methoxy » Aug 07, 2013 6:53 pm

Despite its ever-burgeoning technical complexity modern evolution theory still needs to play catch up with Empedocles. Darwin pays tribute to Empedocles for his theory of natural selection. Empedocles argues for reproductive fitness, random chance, and survival of the fittest. His ideas may have been helped by his contemporary (circa 450 B.C.) Xenophanes, who first announced the existence of the fossil record in ancient, terrestrial sea-beds.

However, unlike Empedocles, modern theory is still attached to the idea of successful adaptations. Empedocles rejects this odd conceptual blip. It ought not to be hard for we moderns to see why:

Modern evolution theory still regards successful parts (or adaptations), like the polar bears' foot for example, as aids to survival or "specialized for the environment in which an organism evolved, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, or EEA" (see, for example, Gaulin, Steven J. C. and Donald H. McBurney, Evolutionary Psychology. Prentice Hall. 2003, p.25-56)

Not so, for Empedocles: despite his idea of homologous functions (e.g. olive and egg) there are no innately successful adaptations in an environment. After all, we may note, a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same. Empedocles has this to say "most of these fortuitous organisms [assemblies of parts] were fragile or sterile, only the fittest structures survived...their fitness to reproduce was a matter of chance, not design" (quoted by Aristotle, Ph. 2 8.198b29). Here, Empedocles rejects the animistic (modern) idea of innate successfulness in physical forms or parts.

Despite this advantage that Empedocles' theory has over modern animistic theories of natural selection he, and others in his school, are still patronised and referred to (in terms of the lesser member of a privileged binary) as, for example, "anticipators" of modern theory.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#2  Postby Zwaarddijk » Aug 07, 2013 7:29 pm

your posts are steadily less worth reading by the day. keep going and soon, not reading your posts will make people rich.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#3  Postby Paul Almond » Aug 07, 2013 7:34 pm

This post, like all your other posts, is worthless nonsense.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Despite its ever-burgeoning technical complexity


A ridiculous way of describing modern evolutionary theory. The basic idea is not complex. The complexity is in the interactions in real evolutionary systems. The idea that with a "better" evolutionary theory all that can go away is fanciful.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Not so, for Empedocles: despite his idea of homologous functions (e.g. olive and egg) there are no innately successful adaptations in an environment. After all, we may note, a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same.


You seem to be trying to say that evolution claims that certain features of an organism are "absolutely successful" - independently of the context provided by, amongst other things, the type of organism that has them. Evolution says no such thing. You are arguing against a ridiculous straw man.

Once again, you seem to be trying to take a comically literal - and, ironically, out of context - understanding of a few words in a theory as the basis for thinking that you are going to give the new world a new idea.

Why waste your time trying to persuade us about your idea? You must know, by now, that we are all hidebound reactionaries, part of a culture of scientific inertia that is scared of progress and tries to crush innovation. By laughing at all your posts. Instead, write up your idea in a paper and publish it. Name it after yourself: in your paper, refer to your idea as "the Methoxical evolutionary synthesis". Your Nobel prize will follow soon.

Also, remember not to give up. You will get revenge for the mockery one day. In the future, when your ideas have been accepted, you can hold show trials and have all your detractors punished for holding back human progress and preventing a cure for cancer. Or something.

Also, try and put something about Tesla in it.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#4  Postby Arthur Methoxy » Aug 07, 2013 7:56 pm

I will simplify. My claim for Empedocles rests on the truth or falsity of this statement:

"a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same."

Make a reasoned argument against that, or state some flaw in it. I can see a flaw in it, but I think you will have some difficulty. Could be wrong, we'll see, or not. Try and leave out the complaints this time.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#5  Postby Scar » Aug 07, 2013 7:59 pm

Arthur Methoxy wrote:I will simplify. My claim for Empedocles rests on the truth or falsity of this statement:

"a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same."

Make a reasoned argument against that, or state some flaw in it. I can see a flaw in it, but I think you will have some difficulty. Could be wrong, we'll see, or not. Try and leave out the complaints this time.


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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#6  Postby Arthur Methoxy » Aug 07, 2013 8:08 pm

Try this then:

"it would not be a successful adaptation if a bacterium grew a polar bears' foot, even if the bacterium is found in the same environment as a polar-bear"

hence there are no innate successful adaptations, as modern theory states (see quote).
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#7  Postby Rumraket » Aug 07, 2013 8:09 pm

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Despite its ever-burgeoning technical complexity modern evolution theory still needs to play catch up with Empedocles. Darwin pays tribute to Empedocles for his theory of natural selection. Empedocles argues for reproductive fitness, random chance, and survival of the fittest. His ideas may have been helped by his contemporary (circa 450 B.C.) Xenophanes, who first announced the existence of the fossil record in ancient, terrestrial sea-beds.

However, unlike Empedocles, modern theory is still attached to the idea of successful adaptations. Empedocles rejects this odd conceptual blip. It ought not to be hard for we moderns to see why:

Modern evolution theory still regards successful parts (or adaptations), like the polar bears' foot for example, as aids to survival or "specialized for the environment in which an organism evolved, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, or EEA" (see, for example, Gaulin, Steven J. C. and Donald H. McBurney, Evolutionary Psychology. Prentice Hall. 2003, p.25-56)

Not so, for Empedocles: despite his idea of homologous functions (e.g. olive and egg) there are no innately successful adaptations in an environment.

After all, we may note, a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same.

That is only correct in so far as some given environment can become sufficiently complex for niche formation, in which case there is no single unambigous, fits-all-circumstances way to say that something would be an "advantage".

But, given certain preconditions, like taking the case of the polar bear and it's paws, compared to a polar bear with a slimmer foot, the polar bear's paw, given it's lifestyle and environment, simply IS superior (as in selectively advantageous).

In this way, natural selection of adaptive traits is an observed fact. The notion that because some traits aren't unambigously advantageous to all species under all circumstances doesn't change the fact that they ARE advantageous to SOME species in SOME cirumstances.

A set of gills are pretty useless to a desert snake, but a fish can't live without them. Consequently, there clearly is such a thing as selectively beneficial traits, it just depends on niche and environment.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Empedocles has this to say "most of these fortuitous organisms [assemblies of parts] were fragile or sterile, only the fittest structures survived...their fitness to reproduce was a matter of chance, not design" (quoted by Aristotle, Ph. 2 8.198b29). Here, Empedocles rejects the animistic (modern) idea of innate successfulness in physical forms or parts.

There IS no such thing as "the (modern) idea of innate successfulness in physical forms or parts). All things are niche dependent.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Despite this advantage that Empedocles' theory has over modern animistic theories of natural selection

Excuse me, but it can't be said that Empedocles theory has an "advantage" when you're presenting his notions by contrasting them to the false premise mentioned above.

The modern theory of evolution is not what you portray it to be, and there are clear and unambigous cases of advantageous traits which are advantageous exactly because of environmental niches.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:he, and others in his school, are still patronised and referred to (in terms of the lesser member of a privileged binary) as, for example, "anticipators" of modern theory.

Where? Citation needed.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#8  Postby theropod » Aug 07, 2013 8:10 pm

Scar wrote:
Arthur Methoxy wrote:I will simplify. My claim for Empedocles rests on the truth or falsity of this statement:

"a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same."

Make a reasoned argument against that, or state some flaw in it. I can see a flaw in it, but I think you will have some difficulty. Could be wrong, we'll see, or not. Try and leave out the complaints this time.


I have found a flaw! It's gibberish!


That's rather generous of you!

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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#9  Postby Rumraket » Aug 07, 2013 8:12 pm

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Try this then:

"it would not be a successful adaptation if a bacterium grew a polar bears' foot, even if the bacterium is found in the same environment as a polar-bear"

That's because the bacterium isn't a bear feeding on walrus, seal, whales and which need to dig caves and tunnels in ice and swim large distances across open arctic ocean to find food and potential mates. In so far as these criteria are satisfied, the polar bear's foot is clearly an advantageous trait compared to a "normal" bear foot or no foot at all.

Arthur Methoxy wrote:hence there are no innate successful adaptations, as modern theory states (see quote).

The modern theory doesn't state this. Your claim is false.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#10  Postby Scar » Aug 07, 2013 8:17 pm

So now that we are talking biology and not philosophy (where you can just make shit up), why are you discussing a topic that you are obviously not educated on, Arthur?

Or do you actually know better and chose to misrepresent what actual modern evolutionary theory states?
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#11  Postby lobawad » Aug 07, 2013 8:19 pm

Let me apologize for the rudeness of my virtual companions, Mr. Methoxy. I do not find your posts to be useless drivel. Far from it- I find that the ever-escalating conflict between gross ignorance and brute stupidity you present so eloquently in your posts makes for a kind of intellectual catharsis, or a kind of pataphysical enema, so to speak.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#12  Postby hackenslash » Aug 08, 2013 9:24 am

Arthur Methoxy wrote:I will simplify. My claim for Empedocles rests on the truth or falsity of this statement:

"a polar bears' foot would not be a successful adaptation for a bacterium growing on it despite the environment being the same."

Make a reasoned argument against that, or state some flaw in it. I can see a flaw in it, but I think you will have some difficulty. Could be wrong, we'll see, or not. Try and leave out the complaints this time.


I can easily state the flaw in this (not that Paul hasn't already done so), namely that the environment is not the same. What's that you say? It's cold?

You might make some progress when you learn precisely what 'environment' means in evolutionary theory. It comprises all the factors that impact an organism's chances of surviving to reproduction. For the bacterium, the selection pressures faced (and the resource niche occupied) are absolutely fuck all like those faced by the bear.

Further, evolutionary theory doesn't postulate adaptations as inevitable, another palsy in your fatuous understanding of evolution.

Utter fucking ignorant shit.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#13  Postby jamest » Aug 08, 2013 10:13 am

Whether a part of an organism is successful in aiding its survival obviously depends upon more than the part itself. For example, wings aren't going to be much use to an elephant; claws would be a hindrance for humans; a sunflower can do without a brain; a tortoise can do without a tail; etc.. The success of the part hinges upon the specifics of the organism it is linked to and the environment that the organism finds itself in.

I'm sure biologists know this.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#14  Postby Fenrir » Aug 08, 2013 10:26 am

So to recapitulate, if a bacterium grows on a polar bear's foot then it's adapted, if not, then it isn't. Simple really.

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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#15  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 08, 2013 10:30 am

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Try this then:

"it would not be a successful adaptation if a bacterium grew a polar bears' foot, even if the bacterium is found in the same environment as a polar-bear"

hence there are no innate successful adaptations, as modern theory states (see quote).


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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#16  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 08, 2013 4:26 pm

Arthur, if jamest can put you right, I'd worry if I were you.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#17  Postby jamest » Aug 08, 2013 5:00 pm

DavidMcC wrote:Arthur, if jamest can put you right, I'd worry if I were you.

Send him over to the philosophy forum. I'll give him some tuition.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#18  Postby Steviepinhead » Aug 09, 2013 7:35 am

I know on the internet we always be jiving, but seriously Arthur, seek help.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#19  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 09, 2013 1:17 pm

Steviepinhead wrote:I know on the internet we always be jiving, but seriously Arthur, seek help.

I wonder if he is deliberately trying to fill the gap left by the_5th_ape, who seems to have stopped posting links to obvious drivel, having been criticised for it.
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Re: Empedocles, father of evolution theory

#20  Postby MrFungus420 » Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am

Arthur Methoxy wrote:Try this then:

"it would not be a successful adaptation if a bacterium grew a polar bears' foot, even if the bacterium is found in the same environment as a polar-bear"

hence there are no innate successful adaptations, as modern theory states (see quote).


Modern theory does not state that.

A successful adaptation is one that is beneficial (i.e. helps it to survive) to the animal that has it.
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