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Darwin-L Message Log 1:81 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<1:81>From junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu  Thu Sep  9 10:20:12 1993

Date: Thu, 09 Sep 93 11:17:57 EDT
From: junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu (Peter D. Junger)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Ordered Change

In message <01H2OL05TDIS8ZEW0F@EAGLE.WESLEYAN.EDU> Doug Charles writes:

>May I rephrase David Polly's question?  Why do the people that have commented
>on ordered change tend to assume the pattern must arise in some future
>predestination rather than via the constraints of structure and history?

I suspect that the answer has something to do with the fact that when we
see something creating order (like a bird building a nest) we tend to
perceive that it is done to accomplish a goal (like having a nice soft
place to lay eggs).  If the universe appears to be creating order, then
the universe appears to have a goal.  And once we believe that the
universe has a goal it is hard not to believe that it will reach that
goal.  And so we get predestination.

I suspect that, to use a distinction that I think was first made by
Ernst Mayr, there is going to be a lot of discussion on this list about
the distinction between "unscientific" teleological explanations and
"scientific" teleonomic explanations.

Edelman makes much of the distinction in his Neural Darwinism as I
recall?  (By the way, have I missed something?  I don't recall seeing
any references to Edelman on this list.)

Peter D. Junger

Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, OH
Internet:  JUNGER@SAMSARA.LAW.CWRU.Edu -- Bitnet:  JUNGER@CWRU

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