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Well, I think I understand what Ryan wants to say - perhaps not. This
could be related to what Richard Dawkins has formulated as "God's
utility function" in living nature, by which he was implying that
living beings are the means for the self-reproduction of genes and not
the other way around (see the wikipedia page:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God's_utility_function>.) Slavoj Zizek
has held a similar position with respect to the self-reproduction of
ideologies too (in his forward at Peter Hallward's book on Alain
Badiou's A Subject to Truth). In any case, this issue has a tremendous
theoretical interest and it might be a good idea if we were exploring
it in the context of emergent phenomena like social networks: For
instance, is there a "natural" purpose as an intrinsic utility
function over social conglomerations like social networks? What about
the unintended purposes/consequences (or "absent causes" in the
Althusserian/Lacanian idiom) emerging throughout such structural
aggregations? And so on..

--Moses Boudourides

On 1/3/07, Paul B. Hartzog <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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>
> On 12/22/06, Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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> >
> > Said another way, smart apes evolved because they needed to deal with
> > complex territoriality of overlapping networks-tribal rivalries versus needs
> > for broader gene pools, mating opportunities, etc.  Migrators or
> > inter-actors inevitably evolve as smarter beings that can solve which groups
> > it is smart to belong to.  Said another way still, ontologies are applied
> > when they make sense.  The ontologies that win-including science-based
> > reason-are those that are useful for surviving in complex group domains-or
> > ecosystems...
>
> I can't believe I am hearing someone seriously suggest that the
> ontology of "science and reason" is "winning" because it is "useful."
>
> The counter-arguments are too numerous to mention, but any climate
> change, global poverty, or suicide index should suffice.  The
> historical contingencies involved in the "evolution" of scientism and
> rationality are legion.
>
> -p
>
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> The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
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