Evolutionary Epistemology. By Gene Callahan “This [is] an objection to evolutionary epistemology in all of its forms—that there is no reason whatever for supposing that the web of belief which has emerged via natural and cultural evolution mirrors nature or tracks reality.
It will do so, according to evolutionary theory itself, only in so far as such mirroring or tracking enhances survival chances. There is, in fact, nothing a priori to tell against the possibility that false belief systems may sometimes give their holders a competitive edge in survival stakes, if unreasonable optimism, or false religious or other hopes are useful in sustaining them in adversity.” – John Gray, Liberalisms, 248. It seems to me that Gray’s point is indisputable: the mere fact that, say, our brains or our scientific enterprises evolved as “spontaneous orders” gives them, contra Hayek, no warrant of epistemological reliability whatsoever.
(Gray, in fact, specifically notes Hayek as someone committing the error he is criticizing.) Wellcometrust's Channel. Biblical fever = influenza. You're kidding me, right? : Aetiology. Via Bob O’H and Cath Ennis comes this truly bizarre article from the Virology Journal: “Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time”.
Now, regular readers will know that I normally love this type of thing; digging back through history to look at Lincoln’s smallpox; Cholera in Victorian London; potential causes of the Plague of Athens, the origin of syphilis, or whether Yersinia pestis really caused the Black Plague. I’ve even written a bit about the history of influenza. So analysis of a 2000-year old potential flu case? Bring it on. But. The Bible describes the case of a woman with high fever cured by our Lord Jesus Christ. (more after the jump…) OK, so they set up their premise. The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (9780195079517): Stuart A. Kauffman:… Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence. Covering technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing.
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