Showing posts from 2023

Debunking the Selfish Gene

In this essay, I will explain the core error in Richard Dawkins’ notion of the selfish gene, and explain how it is related to group selection theory. This is about biological purpose: what it is, and what has it. I will compare and contrast three theories of biological purpose: Phenocentric Theory: The organism (more precisely, the reproducing unit) is the locus of biological purpose. The purpose of life is to reproduce. An organism is a reproducing machine. Species-centric Theory: The species is the locus of biological purpose. The purpose of life is to perpetuate the species. An organism is a species-perpetuation machine. Genocentric Theory: The gene (nucleotide sequence) is the locus of biological purpose. The purpose of life is to perpetuate genes. An organism is a gene-perpetuation machine. The selfish gene concept is part of the genocentric theory, which is Dawkins’ view. He believes that organisms are gene-survival machines. The species-centric theory is often called

Response to my RatWiki Entry

RationalWiki, better known as “RatWiki”, is one of the more ironically named websites on the internet. Essentially, it is an advocacy site that defends secular humanist dogmas and attacks opposing views. It is full of fallacies and lies. There is nothing rational about it. Someone created an entry for me on RatWiki: Blithering Genius . This is my response. I won’t bother responding to everything, but I will respond to most of it. It’s worth mentioning that this person came to my discord server to gather information under false pretenses, once as “Electric Gecko”, and a second time as “Shieldmaiden”. I will refer to the author as Liam, because his username on RatWiki is LiamM32 . Keep in mind that wikis allow for multiple authors, and the entry could change after I write this. The quotes were pulled at the time of writing. Now let’s get to the response. TK Van Allen, known online as Blithering Genius,[1][2] is a writer, blogger, and YouTuber[3] with some alt-right characteristic

Parasites, Emotions and Identity

Image source. Sacculina is a strange parasite of crabs. It is an arthropod in the subclass Cirripedia (the barnacles). The female Sacculina larva swims around, as all barnacle larvae do. Instead of attaching itself to a rock, however, the Sacculina larva attaches itself to a crab. It then injects its soft body into the crab. The parasite grows inside the body of the crab. It sends out “roots” to various parts of the crab’s body, to absorb nutrients and to control the crab. The parasite consumes the crab’s genitalia, making it infertile. Eventually, the parasite partially emerges from the crab’s body, as a sac on the bottom of the crab. If the crab is male, the parasite secretes feminizing hormones, which cause the crab to develop female traits, including a broader abdomen and female behaviors. A male Sacculina larva (like most males) roams around seeking a mate. If it finds a mature female on the body of a crab, it deposits some of its own cells into a special pocket of t

Matthew Perry, Friends and Wasted Youth

Live life like you’re gonna die, because you’re gonna. — William Shatner, in You’ll Have Time Matthew Perry recently died, at the age of 54. Apparently, he drowned in the hot tub at his home. Full details have not been released, but it’s pretty hard to drown in a hot tub unless you are passed out from alcohol or drugs. I suppose it could have been a sudden heart attack or a stroke. By ordinary standards, Matthew Perry was one of the most successful men in the world. He was rich and famous in his 20s. He had what every guy dreams of having: the magic key that unlocks pussy. In his prime, he could have married almost any nubile young woman of his choice, settled down, and supported a family in luxury. But he died alone, a biological failure, having fathered no children. How did this happen? Matthew Perry’s life illustrates the power of opiate drugs, the problems with hedonism, and the tragedy of wasted youth. He had it all, but it wasn’t enough. Fame, fortune and

Israel, Palestine and Moral Confusion

People in the West are struggling to decide who the “bad guys” are in the Israel-Hamas war . This lack of moral clarity exposes the ad hoc nature of morality. People make moral judgments by pattern-matching. They have (subconsciously) learned a bunch of moral patterns from experience. To make a moral judgment about an event, they (subconsciously) try to fit the event to some moral pattern. In many cases, the event clearly fits a single moral pattern, and this produces a clear moral judgment. In other cases, however, the event matches multiple patterns that have different polarity. This produces moral conflict. Where do moral intuitions come from? Social cues, especially labeling. If a child is told “X is bad” on a regular basis, then the child will learn to view X as bad. Moral intuitions are knowledge about the moral judgments of others. Is this circular? Yes. So are other types of cultural knowledge, such as language. We learn language from speech, and then we use it

Knowledge and Reality

I was crossing a steep slope high in the mountains. It was a warm, sunny day in mid-September. To my left, high above, a jagged ridge was silhouetted against the blue sky. To my right, far below, a deep blue alpine lake sparkled in the sunlight. The slope between them was a mosaic of boulder fields and cliffs, with a few patches of krummholz and heather clinging to the rocks. Sweat was trickling down my forehead and into the corners of my eyes, making them sting. I licked my lips and tasted salt and rock dust. At a conveniently shaped boulder, I stopped to rest and have a drink of water. I took my backpack off. The air felt cool on my sweaty back and shoulders. I gulped water from my bottle. I wiped the sweat from my face with my sleeve. Then I sat on the boulder and gazed at the landscape. The ridge across the lake had almost no vegetation, just gray rock and white snowfields. To the east, I could see range after range of mountains, fading away into the distance. Below, the lake s