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Reply #32: Then explain the title of Jacques Monod's "Chance and Necessity" [View All]

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Then explain the title of Jacques Monod's "Chance and Necessity"
Full title "Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology." Published in 1970, it provides an epitomal example of the mid-20th century belief that evolution could be explained by a combination of random mutation and inexorable natural forces and that any impression of purpose was merely an illusion created by natural selection choosing certain solutions over others. (See more extensive description quoted below.)

It's true that after the adaptation of the modern synthesis in the late 30's-early 40's, science became somewhat less enamored of the idea of pure chance than it had been in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of genetic mutation at the start of the 20th century. But the modern synthesis was never able to do without the element of random mutation to provide the raw material for later selection -- or explain how randomly kicking the shit out of a well-functioning system could provide the starting point for achieving a better-functioning system with anything like the efficiency displayed by actual evolutionary processes.

Remember -- the people who arrived at the modern synthesis had no actual examples of evolution to study. Genuine evolution is normally an infrequent process, and it's only now, after years of patient bacteria-watching, that we're finally seeing documented cases of it. The modern synthesis described certain processes very well, but it never provided a satisfactory explanation of how evolutionary leaps could arise, and it's starting to appear increasingly unlikely that it can ever be tweaked to do so.

From a review of <i>Chance and Necessity</i> at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Chance-Necessity-Natural-Philosop...

Jacques Monod, the Nobel Prize winning biochemist, allies himself, in the title of this admirable treatise, to the atomist Democritus, who held that the whole universe is but the fruit of two qualities, chance and necessity. Interpreting the laws of natural selection along purely naturalistic lines, he succeeds in presenting a powerful case that takes into account the ethical, political and philosophical undercurrents of the synthesis in modern biology. Above all, he stresses that science must commit itself to the postulate of objectivity by casting aside delusive ideological and moral props, even though he enjoins, at the same time, that the postulate of objectivity itself is a moral injunction. He launches a bitter polemic against metaphysical and scientific vitalisms, dismissing them as obscurantist, as well as the animist projection in history and evolution, as represented by Teilhard de Chardin and, especially, the Marxist doctrine of dialectical materialism. He refutes teleological explanations of nature as being contrary to the postulate of objectivity, drawing attention to self-constructing proteins as teleonomic agents, followed by an explanation of the role of nucleic acids, reproduction and invariance. This leads him to dismiss Judaeo-Christian religiosity, which accords man a significant role as being created in God's image, as a nauseating and false pietism and he even goes so far as to recommend eugenic reform.


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  -Altenberg 16: An Expos Of The Evolution Industry - Investigative Science Report By Suzan Mazur althecat  Jul-12-08 04:30 PM   #0 
  - Shhh...don't tell people how easy it is to get rich  wtmusic   Jul-12-08 04:38 PM   #1 
  - I do hope the rest of this e-tome has more substance than the  Sinistrous   Jul-12-08 04:44 PM   #2 
  - That's the hook... it is redolent in substantive content.... a veritable treasure chest  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:52 PM   #4 
     - Your hook is "ad-hominems, half-truths, and misstatements"? Wow  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:06 PM   #9 
        - Not my hook and not my representation of it.....  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #11 
           - Ah, I thought you were claiming the rest of the e-book was what was substantial  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:17 PM   #14 
              - .... snap...  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:20 PM   #16 
  - I still don't see where it matters that much  angrycarpenter   Jul-12-08 04:51 PM   #3 
  - The sharp point of this argument is survival of the fittest...  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:55 PM   #5 
  - My thoughts on th esubject would be that  truedelphi   Jul-13-08 12:21 AM   #24 
  - For scientists, the origin of life is indeed important  Alcibiades   Jul-12-08 09:55 PM   #23 
  - Well the introduction is clearly a load of  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:02 PM   #6 
  - The rest of the article consists mainly of conversations with eminent scientists  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #7 
  - From one of the web's most prominent biology bloggers:  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:08 PM   #10 
     - Thanks - I knew I'd seen something about Mazur a few months ago  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #12 
        - I do not know what PZ Meyers beef is - probably professional jealousy  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:18 PM   #15 
           - PZ Myers beef is the way very powerful and useful theory  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:44 PM   #18 
           - There are lots of strong viewpoints juxtaposed in this article  althecat   Jul-12-08 06:03 PM   #19 
              - You're correct in saying that a simple "selfish gene" principle  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:59 PM   #31 
           - I saw the article in Science yesterday...  arendt   Jul-12-08 06:44 PM   #21 
              - Thanks for a thoughtful response...  althecat   Jul-13-08 12:38 AM   #25 
                 - Thanks for an interesting topic.  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:13 AM   #27 
                    - My pleasure.... n/t  althecat   Jul-13-08 04:03 PM   #33 
  - exactly. the same person was trying to peddle this b.s. in another forum  RainDog   Jul-13-08 05:24 PM   #35 
  - If you want to live in the Stone Age, unplug your computer and go live in a cave. n/t  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #8 
  - This is not a about creationism. It is about cutting edge physics mathematics and biologgy.  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #13 
  - Will the REAL Christianity please stand up?  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:35 PM   #17 
  - The sole interest in Truth of the Selection-by-Nature, scientismificist hirelings  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-12-08 06:14 PM   #20 
  - Well , I got it directly from a REAL expert about the Universe  dixiegrrrrl   Jul-12-08 07:58 PM   #22 
  - Evolution definitely needs to get out of a couple of jam-ups  starroute   Jul-13-08 01:53 AM   #26 
  - Yes. This "long view" fills in around the "short view" I gave in #21  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:24 AM   #28 
  - "But that just means science still has a lot to learn -- it doesn't mean  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-13-08 11:22 AM   #29 
  - I'm sorry, I really don't want to come across as insulting  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:37 PM   #30 
     - Then explain the title of Jacques Monod's "Chance and Necessity"  starroute   Jul-13-08 02:18 PM   #32 
     - The modern synthesis is exceptionally good at  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 04:50 PM   #34 
     - I don't really want to come across as insulting, but...  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:11 PM   #36 
        - Biology is not reducible to chemistry, but it is constrained by chemistry  eridani   Jul-14-08 03:02 AM   #38 
        - Arendt,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 03:12 AM   #39 
        - Yeah, I was cranky too. Just got done mixing and pouring a ton of concrete, tired...  arendt   Jul-14-08 07:58 AM   #41 
        - Here's some more from Myers,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 05:26 AM   #40 
  - Science, properly practiced, is not concerned with philosophical/ideological  struggle4progress   Jul-14-08 12:15 AM   #37 
 

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