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Nonsensical question "Cheating genetics" is a nonsensical concept. Genetics is not a game, nor does genetics impose any kind of ethical or morals rules that anyone is bound to follow. You cannot "cheat" when there are no rules to cheat against. The assumption that "natural" means "good" — and therefore in complement that "not natural" is "not good" — is ...


21

One has to keep apart different layers: a) abiogenesis (the emergence of life) vs. evolution (the development of existing life over generations) and b) the incompatibility of biblical accounts of the origin of species with evolution vs. the incompatibility of the belief in God being the creator of life with evolution. I will first answer the title question ...


13

Natural selection applies just as much to your choices as to your appearance, in so far as your genes are concerned. If you make choices that alter your appearance and "win" accordingly (assuming "win" means able to successfully mate and pass on your genes), then any genes that had a role to play in forming your brain and thus influenced your mental ...


9

Biology is hardly unique in having conceptual theories which may be expressed without formal mathematics. Physics, for instance, has them; its just that these can also be further elaborated by mathematics. Some examples: Reductionism — the principle that not only can he behaviour of compound objects be reduced to that of its contituent parts, but in ...


8

The thought experiment is known as Chrysippus’s Dog and goes back to the named ancient Stoic. It was discussed by many modern philosophers, including Dennett, see Chrysippus’s Dog as a Case Study in Non-Linguistic Cognition by Rescorla for a survey. Here is the description of Chrysippus's dog given by Sextus Empiricus: "[Chrysippus] declares that the ...


7

Different subject matters Note: Philip Klöcking answers the title question, this answers the question in the body. The original work of Darwin was named "On the origin of species by means of natural selection", and not "On the origin of life". Evolution takes place after Abiogenesis. So asking someone trusts that evolution by natural selection is an ...


6

My friend, evolution IS ALL ABOUT CHEATING! Life evolves to cheat the environment in which it’s found and the environment changes in kind. Cosmetic surgery is just another tool in the homo sapien’s arsenal. We can alter our appearance using technology. Women can alter their ability to have children using the pill. The fundamental difference in cheating ...


5

Most of the recent discussion of this question is in Philosophy of Biology, the subfield of Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of biology asks and tries to answer a wide range of philosophical questions — questions arising from all areas of philosophical inquiry — as they concern living things and the study of living things. The broad form of the question ...


4

First note that the phrase "selfish gene" is just a metaphor for the gene-centered view of evolution. The "selfish gene" view is not a pop culture scientific explanation (and definitely not Sci-Fi) at all. It is a view that attempts to explain the facts of evolutionary biology (it has other proponents in the field beside Dawkins, and it actually makes a lot ...


3

There are two formulations of the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). The one outlined in the cited notes (NOTES) uses the earlier, pre-2008, version where naturalism is described through the relationship between belief and behavior. The more recent formulation in Where the Conflict Really Lies (WTCFL) describes naturalism with materialism "...


3

The "need to survive" may be nothing more than a sampling bias. Consider that of all the mass on the earth, only 0.00000001% of that mass is living things. Thus most of the mass of the earth could be said to "not survive." One major question that must always arise when discussing necessities of life is "what defines life anyway?" That's known to be a ...


3

I concur with Eliran H, so I'll answer mostly the second part of the question. First, I don't understand the pairing of Dawkins' "selfish gene" and Dennett's "consciousness explained". I am not aware of any collaboration between the two on either of these works. I know they did not coauthor the books, but I'm talking about collaboration for the concepts ...


3

Helmuth Plessner in his Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch. Einführung in die Philosophische Anthropologie from 1928 (!) [The Levels of the Organic and Man, Introduction to Philosophical Anthropology (unpublished as english translation).] proposes a philosophy of nature where the basic category of life (in phenomenological terms) is transcending its ...


3

I can't say categorically, but at least in his main works, Descartes did not seem to write anything of substance (pun intended) on the origin of biological species. Humans do occupy a special role in Descartes's philosophy, but, as a rule, it is humans as rational beings, not humans as biological beings. Here are two places where he briefly comes close to (...


3

The definition of life is one of the most famously difficult definitions in all of philosophy. There are many definitions. For example, science has a descriptive definition for life: Homeostasis: regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature Organization: being structurally composed of one ...


3

There is a distinction between being alive and being sentient and both categories have their own criteria. Modern philosophers, particularly in the analytic and Continental traditions of philosophy rely on these scientific definitions. Whether or not a robot is alive is really not very controversial, because robots as traditionally conceived fail a number of ...


3

My first impression is that Dawkins is equating genetic code with personal identity. His first statement: "The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton." seems ...


3

Answer Cheating and plastic surgery are cultural artefacts, genetics and looks are physical nature. You imply that the change of physical nature through culture was against human nature, that physical givenness (genetics, looks pre-surgery) is human nature. This is not the case. The change of their physical nature (natural givenness) is an expression of ...


2

(I am sorry if Niel's answer should entail mine. I was not able to decide.) First off, "does not need mathematical support" is not the same as "cannot be supported by mathematical formulations" or "can there be science without mathematical formulas" (the latter is only loosely quoted from the question). Whatever your stance on "what science is" is, it will ...


2

The idea that there are mental constructs that (a) get transferred from one individual to another at different rates that depend both on there content and the environment in which they are embodies, and (b) are subject to (effectively) random modification over the course of their propagation is not, in itself, incoherent. Whether memetic theory exists is ...


2

First of all not all living thing strifes to survive. There are several animals who would sacrifice their life to defend their hive, group, young or territory. Humans (and in some rare cases also animals) can commit suicide. So for humans the will to survive is not "hard-coded", which makes the questions "Why" and "Where" obsolete. As for animals: They will ...


2

Living things evolve in such a way as to pass on their genes. They only have to survive for long enough to do that. For example, many Pacific salmon die after their first spawning. Genes are molecules that can be copied but are not always copied perfectly. As a result of mistakes in copying there are variants on a particular gene at any given time. Some of ...


2

These are some interesting questions. I'll start with the third one: Can an abstract construct such as a species even have rights of itself, like a right to survive (as a species)? Here you're importing a pretty strong assertion in the "abstract construct" language. There's a lot of different ways of parsing what a species is. On the one hand, it's a ...


2

The question invokes Husserl, for whom intentionality means something very different from the colloquial sense of the word; if we are using his definition, the following answer applies. Husserl's "intentionality" is, roughly speaking, the capacity to represent. Saying that consciousness is intentional, therefore, only says that consciousness cannot be ...


2

You have things backwards. Nothing evolves because it 'needs to survive'. It 'needs to survive' because that's how it evolved. If it evolved in a way that it didn't need to survive, it wouldn't be here. No need to be a 'rational being,' as you point out. The concept even applies to things like stars and planets. Look around the universe. It is filled with ...


2

I think this claim is false: the line is important since it is a problem that interests many philosophers. Perhaps the author means that when doing philosophy on a specific subject (here biology) we can ignore this problem. Even then I don't agree. For example one could think philosophers should refrain from making scientific speculations because it's not ...


2

Both science and philosophy try to understand the world around us. Both accept that knowledge must be justified, or it is not truly knowledge (philosophy also explores other definitions of knowledge, but permit me to narrow it's scope to make the wording simpler). From philosophy's perspective, the path towards science is just an increasing level of ...


2

Plantinga is playing a semantic trick in his last step by switching R (reliability) with N (naturalism) which destroys his reliance on Bayes' theorem. He concludes that our belief forming mechanisms are unreliable and therefore our belief in naturalism is unreliable, so it is unlikely to be true under naturalism, if we assume naturalism. This is false. If we ...


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