Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Teleonomy: Demonic Sophistry

Teleology claims at the very least that there is a such thing as τέλος.

Though this conceited writer has found much sophistry in claims, he recognizes that teleology's encapsulates an intuition sufficiently pure of mortal contamination to be judiciously designated as true.  The intuition of teleology is that the end towards which a phenomenon serves is that phenomenon's ultimate purpose and, therefore, cause.  τέλος, after all, means both end and purpose!

The universe tends towards ends that are specific to its manifestation.  Every phenomenon in the mortal domain has a purpose, which is in a sense if not its end then at least the end towards which it serves, which, tender reader, is (its) τέλος.

Since anything with a beginning has an ending, τέλος is not only implied by but thoroughly bound up in theology.

Since the degradation wrought by time is inherent, as time passes man understands fundamental intuition with less perspicacity.  Man's fading grasp of intuition is a key impetus for his construction of new ideas (and corresponding words) to fill voids where his understanding once permeated with sufficient completeness to obviate any need for explication.  Indeed, man only ever constructs new words to compensate for his fading capacity to understand.  Insofar as a new word is reputed to assist in recognizing an idea, its use typically does only that - compensates for man's fading capacity to understand (generally by the implied meaning of use) - but insofar as a new word is reputed to encapsulate a new idea, its use also accelerates man's fading understanding because there is no such thing as a new idea, least of all one conjured by a mortal!

Enter teleonomy.

Teleonomy claims that the causes of the functions of living beings derive ultimately from evolution.  This sophistry denies at once man of free will and his Maker of His divine hand by which the affairs of man are in some sense regulated.  And yes, tender reader, teleology vindicates a certain sort of compatibilism.

In biology, similarly, we explain the regular formation of teeth, not by letting it be caused directly by the future act of chewing, but by using the theory of natural selection to relate past events of chewing to the organism's current genetic makeup, which physically controls the formation of the teeth.  Thus, we account for the current regularity of the teeth by referring only to past and present events, never to future events.  Such evolutionary reasoning is called "teleonomy", in contrast with teleology.

Evolution is not science, but self-fulfilling prophecy.  It is not falsifiable.

In any case, that nobody can account for anything current by referring to future events proves neither teleology false nor teleonomy true.  And while the regular formation of teeth in humans across time and place for some suffices as adequate evidence of Him, it does not so suffice for this writer for the same reason that he recognizes that no general pattern can be accounted for by any single future event that man can conceive of: he is far too confident in the nature of the reality beyond human comprehension by virtue of his faith born of the blackness of blind revelation to confuse a manifestation of His design for anything but.

Teleology is true because the universe was created by He who possesses, among other things, intelligence beyond our deepest imaginings.  As such, the purpose or end for which the universe was created is likewise beyond our deepest imaginings.  But there must be such an ultimate purpose because all that begins must end - and would end earlier given lack of purpose.  The purpose so far as mere man is concerned is the end, but the ultimate end was the purpose of His creation.  Think on these words, Eliezer.

Eliezer again:

We can see that the efficient cause is primary, not the final cause, by considering what happens when the two come into conflict.  The efficient cause of human taste buds is natural selection on past human eating habits; the final cause of human taste buds is acquiring nutrition.  From the efficient cause, we should expect human taste buds to seek out resources that were scarce in the ancestral environment, like fat and sugar.  From the final cause, we would expect human taste buds to seek out resources scarce in the current environment, like vitamins and fiber.  From the sales numbers on candy bars, we can see which wins.

Extravagant fallacies piled one on top of another!  A modern marvel!

First of all, by his own logic, Eliezer should consider it unfathomable for man's taste buds to alter their affinity for fat and sugar (that took, by his telling, thousands of years) to suddenly evolve strong preference for vitamins and fiber!

Second of all, if Eliezer wishes to understand why it is that people these days tend to exercise remarkably little restraint in their dietary habits he would do well to recall two simple realities: modern technology and the welfare state.  The former enables the development, production, and delivery of food of immense quantity and variety to poor people the world over like never before in human history.  The latter enables poor people in Western (and many non-Western) nations to do almost nothing of value and pass their genes onto the next generation (often with more proportional frequency than those who do rather more of value; this is sometimes known, Eliezer, as dysgenics).

So when there were no such things as modern technology or the welfare state, people more often had to A) work to eat and B) do things of substantial value to pass on their genes to the next generation.

Third of all, vitamins and fiber are not scarce in the current environment.  In fact, they have never been more plentiful or easily accessible.

Fourth of all, from the final cause we would expect human taste buds to do what they do, people to do what they do, and Eliezer to do what he does, which in this case is to misunderstand what is a final cause.  For instance, Eliezer's argument implies that he believes that taste buds purchase candy bars or that man lacks free will.

In a world where man fools himself in designating effects as causes, teleology reminds him in his midnight hour that purpose is drawn from effect because ultimate cause is ultimate purpose.  Theology is proper philosophy and teleology is theology applied.

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