Friday, February 26, 2010

Evolution and Identism

The Real Metaphysics of Evolution:
The Primacy of Identity




This writing was inspired by the articles “The Metaphysics of Evolution” and “Evolutionary Psychology, Sort Of” by Fred Reed. It is also to some degree a response to those critiques. It is written with some amount of humor. Nonetheless, the profound seriousness of the axiom, to what it refers, and its importance to any claim to knowledge or even justified opinion, can not be over stated.

The purpose of this article is not to present the claim that the primacy of identity is the metaphysical ground of evolution. It is to state the claim that it should be. At present evolution and all science has no foundation. The present state of philosophy has left it without a first philosophy leaving it in a state of metaphysical and epistemological confusion. It is this environment that is breeding corruption, and is degenerating science into mysticism, dogma and belief.

This brief presentation of the primacy thesis will begin as it should with the modest, but yet, profoundly powerful assertion that sends mystics into convulsions. It is a statement that refers to the thing to which we owe all existence and yet it is the most hated thing in the world. It is a statement that asserts something that many spend the majority of there life’s energy in a pathetic attempt to deny and evade. It is the supreme law of existence.

All A is A!

Knowledge begins when the axiom is formulated, acknowledged as immutable and also recognized that it refers to something in reality, self-sameness. If one does not acknowledge that all A is A, then one has relinquish the claim of any knowledge. Even first hand perception becomes ambiguous when the axiom is not acknowledged as certain and all embracing. Furthermore, it is not just knowledge in the absolute sense that will fall. Any claim of likelihood will sink into this bog of uncertainty. What this describes is precisely the state of the human intellectual condition. The failure to acknowledge that the axiom is ontological, not just a principle of reason, is also indispensable to its role as the foundation of knowledge. The postmodern nihilist mystic is fully aware of this when reason is described as “the weighing of notions against imaginary ideas”. This is an attack on human knowledge of deadly sophistication aimed at the very heart of reason.

The metaphysical implications of the existence of identity, nonetheless is the main focus of this article because its recognition leads unavoidably to the primacy of self-sameness, a provable solution to philosophy’s first question and a explicit and incontrovertible foundation for science.

There are an incalculable number of ways of expressing identity, but there is one basic axiom, the law of identity. Axioms are assertions of identity, of self-sameness. All true axioms and indeed all logical truths assert identity; this is the monistic view of axioms. The shallow notion that axioms are somehow true but meaningless, stating nothing about existence, is false and contradictory. The statement “A is A” states nothing of “A” which can distinguish it from anything else because that which it states of “A” is true of all things. The axiom describes, asserts and proves the existence of self-sameness. In and of itself, all that axioms assert is the existence of self-sameness and self-sameness is the only thing for which it accounts. Identity is the thing which exists from axiomatic necessity; it cannot not exist. Everything must possess identity; it is uniquely basic. Self-sameness is the thing to which all things can, in principle, be reduced. It is the only given, the only first cause and prerequisite for the existence of all else. Everything else that exists is derived from identity. To try to postulate anything else as primary is to assert that thing as not possessing identity and to violate the axiom. Not water, not air, not gods, not consciousness, not matter, identity is the absolute ground of existence, causeless first cause and the distilled essence of everything. Self-sameness is causeless, but exists only as a part and indeed, is only conceivable as a part of something else. Everything else that exists owes its existence to the fact that identity is reliant on the existence of a multifaceted universe.

As certainly as the fact of identity and its primacy provide an irrefutable ground for science, it also provides a monumental challenge. The fact of identity’s primacy proves that Einstein’s ambitious goal of an ultimate natural philosophy that not only describes, but explains why the essential attributes of the physical universe are such as they are, is a reasonable goal of science. It also provides a powerful foundation for the theory of evolution and the quest for a natural explanation of the presence of life. (More on this thesis can be found at: www.identism.blogspot.com/2005/07/primacy-of-identity.html )

Although not completely accurate, the best argument for evolution is handed to us by creationist themselves when they proclaim that creation is the only alterative to evolution. There is however, also the alterative provided by the old steady state cosmology which holds that the universe and life such as it is today was always here and always will be. Nonetheless, the infinite regression that this implies can not be reconciled with fact of identity. While the impossibility of infinity is an important matter which science needs to come to acknowledge, as an explanation of life there remain very few steady state proponents. (Finality is actually synonymous with identity. Finality is self-sameness acknowledged as a part of quantity. Quantity is existence acknowledged as being multifaceted.)

It may never be proven conclusively that life on earth started in a prehistoric ocean, but the principle of natural selection is a logical truth that refers to an observable fact. This logical truth is simple and can be reduced to an assertion of identity. (i.e., an axiom) For this reason it has been condemned as being “just tautology.” Only in a world and age dominated by belief and nihilism, the two sides of the same mystic coin, could a principle be condemned for being simple logic. It is precisely this atmosphere that is turning scientist into dogmatic believers. Darwinian natural selection is actually a reflection of a more basic cosmic principle, the natural evolution of stability. They can both be reduced to the same axiom; that which endures over time, endures over time.

If Hillary Clinton were to ask old Bill why he cheated on her and he responded by saying “a guys got to do what a guys got to do” this might be described as “just tautology,” although a more meaningful answer might be crueler. In the case of natural selection, however, is there not empirical evidence that some things remain over time and some things do not? Is there not empirical evidence that changes in the environment they are in may alter there chances of remaining over time? Certainly there is such evidence that we all can see.

What ever lesser god the creationist or intelligent design proponent may or may not have in mind, the god of the mystic is held as a contradictory being exempt from the principle of self-sameness. Identity and the principle that asserts it are given subservient status. Identity exists, if at all, at god’s whim. The law of identity is true, if true at all, only by gods command. Evolutionist may sometimes employ faulty logic as Fred Reed complains, but to call such a notion of god faulty logic is to give it a compliment it does not deserve. This is not faulty logic; it is a point black contradiction embraced as such. It is the essence of mysticism, the worshiping of non-identity. Speaking metaphorically here, what ever lesser god the primacy of identity may leave hypothetically possible, it is the God of reason, identity, which is the supreme ruler of the cosmos. To a worshiper of identity there is a measure of solace, transcendence, revenge and yet also forgiveness, in the knowledge that even identity’s little blasphemers, denying but never defying, can only be exactly what it made them.

Identity and the fact of its primacy can not prove that life on earth began in earth’s prehistoric sea nor can it show the degree to which natural selection has played a roll in crafting it. It does prove, nonetheless, that the presence of life is not the result of magic. One may speak of a house being a product of man and a mountain the product of nature, but in the ultimate metaphysical sense, man is not outside of nature and cannot be liberated from its forces and neither could some supposed god or mysterious intelligence. Identity is the ground of nature, there can be nothing outside of that nature and nothing exempt from the principle that asserts its foundation. It is the supreme law of existence, the supreme law of nature. Once the notion of the supernatural is debunked, the attempt to prove that the natural emergence of life is somehow a cosmic impossibility is as frivolous a pursuit as an attempt to prove that a flying bumble bee is a physical impossibility.

Whatever the shortcomings of evolution, what sort of alternative does intelligent design really provide? Once the primacy of self-sameness has dispensed with the notion of some god or primal consciousness somehow existing as a causeless given, the creationist mystic, or be it the rigorous intelligent design scientist, might be asked to account for this intelligence just as the evolutionist tries to account for life on earth. Except the evolutionist know that what he is trying to account for actually exists.

The notion of some disembodied intelligence existing outside the physical world, but yet able to affect it, is a horrendous idea from the start. With all the hocus pocus paranormal delusion and “flimflam” that James Randy has been debunking for years, not withstanding, all known awareness exist by virtue of some physical means. Consciousness does not exist detached from physical reality. Consciousness is the results and sum of the physics which constitute it. Consciousness is an effect; it comes late in the hierarchical structure of existence.

If it were discovered tomorrow that life on earth was planted and engineered by little green men from Planet X, it should in know way shake ones confidence that life is the result of natural forces and natural selection is an important component. Given there knowledge of genetic engineering, maybe these little green men were hired by the blue eyed devils, AKA the KKK, to try to frame O J Simpson by planting his DNA at the crime scene. Fortunately for O J the bumbling little twits left behind the wrong size gloves and even more fortunate for them that they did not dare steal his memorabilia. If this, the devious intelligent design defense, constitutes reasonable doubt, no one should ever be convicted of anything.

Nonetheless, perhaps the little green men were the intelligent design of little blue men from Andromeda, not to be mistaken with the blue eyed devils, and the little blue men were the intelligent design of little orange men from …

But this is starting to sound like steady state cosmology.

Maybe to avoid this infinite regression we could decide that we ourselves, through reverse causation, are the intelligent designers of life on earth. Perhaps life only exist by virtue of its potential to become so smart that it can build a time machine an send Arnold Schworzonegger, or a robot that looks like him, back in time to intelligently, or not so intelligently design life. If this were the case, however, one would think that we would all look like bodybuilders. On the other hand, perhaps we were supposed to look like bodybuilders but old Arnold decided to change the future to favor himself.

If intelligent design can not smuggle its way into the science class room, perhaps it can find a place in the creative writing class. However, the science classes are already filled with enough irrational notions that should not be there.

The fundamental defense of evolution should be unapologetically metaphysical, but not the dogma of a false intellectual elite. Evolution as an explanation of life on earth remains a tremendously ambitious work in progress. While Darwinian natural selection is logical and has enormous explanatory power, the theory of evolution may need to expand its theoretical base. Darwinian natural selection is one dimensional, specifically the dimension of time, but life exists in a four-dimensional universe. Life’s journey through space could be responsible for many evolutionary changes without time fitness, Darwinian natural selection, ever having to come into play. Driven by space fitness, a genetically caused capacity or behavioral proclivity for movement that can separate those with such traits from other individuals lacking such characteristics could cause such traits to become dominant in the new group. Adding space fitness as a secondary component to evolution’s theoretical base might better explain the vast diversity of life on earth, because in the case of this sort of evolution, the links in the chain of changes are not lost in the past. This would most certainly constitute a more romantic view of life, for life is not merely the result of a grime struggle to survive, but is also crafted by adventure. The fact that man is willing to risk his life and often die, to explore every inch of the earth and beyond, is sterling evidence that his most basic behavior is not the exclusive result of Darwinian evolution.

It is a time when a mythological and provably false view of anthropology has achieved the status of a state religion. It is a time when politically motivated phony “science” is being used to steal what remains of man’s freedom. It is a time when only a few search with integrity and dare to grope in a darkness, caused by the intellectual elite’s manufactured eclipse of the light of reason, and look for answers to questions that may decide human survival. One can only hope the theory of evolution, science and the very mind of man can finally discover its proper footing, the primacy of identity.

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