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  Topic: The Skeptical Zone, with Lizzie< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2012,14:35   

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 26 2012,06:19)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ April 26 2012,03:49)
Over at Joe's thread they are still trying to explain to WJM that the use of "natural" and "artificial" selection was just Darwin's shorthand for "made by a breeder" versus "not man-made" selection - even Joe seems to have grasped that basically it's the same thing.

I'm wondering if the boundary between "artifical" and "natural" isn't actually quite blurry: For instance, global warming is man-made; so in a changing climate we might find some species die off, others thrive, others develop new features. Would you call this process "natural" or "artificial"?

We wrangled with this question last week in my senior seminar on hybridization. It's kind of sticky, but bears on things like conservation policy.

Near as I can tell, in a Venn diagram of artificial and natural, the former lies in some sense entirely within the latter. The distinction itself is completely artificial (ha! see what I did there?), and arbitrary. It's context-dependent. To me it seems that the boundary lies wherever you choose to place it in a given discussion, but where you place it should be very clear to everyone involved in that particular discussion to facilitate clear communication.

My tuppence, worth exactly what you just paid for it.

My major paper on how evolutionary theory can articulate archival theory dealt with just this question, too. Human society is a subset of nature, a creation of nature, and to label everything that we do (like create records) as artificial, while labeling constructions such as birds' nests as natural, is fallacious, the product of our dualistic thinking. Ironically, this also gets to the very core of ID, as its adherents cannot conceive of the natural. They use the word (as many others do) to mean "morally right" or "in balance," etc. Being also rigidly black and white thinkers, they fail to grasp the concept of a continuum.

Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible. -John Bartlet

(Which does not mean I'm in any hurry to participate in the naturalness of illness or death, now, does it? ) ;)

Avian Architecture

Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

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"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  1008 replies since Aug. 15 2011,22:52 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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