04/20/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 5 of 15)

0026 The unsettling end to the prior blog shows where Jeff Hardin’s discussion can go.

Hardin poses one question.  A second question mirrors the first.  The transit from one question to the other turns everything backwards.  One question reflects phenomena onto their noumenon.  The other reflects a noumenon onto its phenomena.

Scientists study phenomena.  Their data makes sleepiness great.

Humans pay attention to noumena.  Our attentiveness is likely innate.

0027 We want to hear a narrative about the thing itself.  Forget about the empirio-schematic judgments about its phenomena.

Evolution, as a forensic science, offers a data-driven narrative.  But, it’s really a projection of models onto the thing itself.  So, the story from phenomena inherently violates the dyad of what is in the Positivist’s judgment.

So, it will never satisfy.  It will never offer me a way to appreciate who I am.

0028 I am a tarnished image of God.

The Bible offers a narrative, which many call “special revelation”.  Special revelation captures our attention.  Reading the words bring us into awareness of the thing itself.

0029 Hardin offers the following picture.

Hardin argues that the narratives of the evolutionary sciences provide constraints on interpretations of what it is to be human from Genesis.

0030 The following is a particularly important application.

0031 In the next blog, I will look at the same argument in the mirror within the heart of Hardin’s essay.

04/19/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 4 of 15)

0017 The distinction between a noumenon and its phenomena is valuable because it allows scientists to study phenomena, while ignoring the metaphysics associated with their noumenon.

So, while many inquirers ask noumenal questions, “Where did we humans come from?  What went wrong? What is the cure?”, the scientific answers are based on clues concerning what would be the observable and measurable facets of hominin evolution as witnessed by a disinterested observer

0018 Here is an association between modern versions of theological & biological anthropology and what is for the Positivist’s judgment.

0019 What do scientists look for?

Evolutionary scientists look for clues.  Then, they analyze those clues with specific models built by empirical scientists and geneticists.  The clues turn into observable and measurable features of the evolutionary record that may be then analyzed according to models proposed by biologists and natural historians.  The result is a narrative of hominin evolution.

The evolutionary record is a product of scientific inquiry.  It is expressed as a narrative.

0020 This conclusion is implicit in Hardin’s treatment of human natural history.  He presents a narrative.

What does this imply?

Human evolutionary sciences are forensic sciences.  They rely on theories by the empirical and natural sciences.  They are devoted to producing a narrative describing what happened, in accordance with the positivist rule.

0021 The empirical sciences have it easy.  They assume that the subject of inquiry is real, because they encounter the things themselves.

Empiricists know that the thing itself cannot be reduced to its observable and measurable facets.

0022 The forensic scientists have a more difficult time.  They assume that the subject of inquiry ought to be real, but the thing itself is no longer present.  They must construct a narrative about what the subject of inquiry must have been, as if it could be observed by a disinterested observer.  Clues are studied in order to ascertain the phenomena that would have been observed.  Then, these forensic-built phenomena are subject to an empirio-schematic judgment.

Hardin addresses this construction in a section on science and human origins.

0023 The rational mind must wonder, “Is human evolution nothing more than a narrative that scientists build from phenomena rigorously constructed from various clues?”

If that is true, then the noumenon of human evolution can be objectified by its phenomena, violating the structure of the Positivist’s what is.

0024 Is this rather disorienting?

Obviously, we cannot appreciate human evolution as a noumenon, because the thing itself is no longer present for direct examination.

So, the evolutionary sciences formulate what the phenomena of human evolution must be.

They end up providing a narrative.

Yet, this scientific narrative cannot give us an appreciation of what it is to be an evolved human, even though our sense of what is it to be human evolved.

0025 Even worse, what if humans evolved to pay attention to noumena?

Such a proposal explains why classicists and believers come up with hylomorphic descriptions of things and people in the first place.

Such a proposal accounts for why a narrative is relevant.

Narratives are stories about thing themselves.

04/16/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 3 of 15)

0012 Centuries ago, the scholastic hylomorphe, matter [substantiates] form, occupies the slot of what is for a rational intellect.  

The positivist rule dissolves this hylomorphe and precipitates another dyad, a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena.

The noumenon is the thing itself.

Phenomena are observable and measurable facets of the noumenon.

The original hylomorphe gets shuffled into the noumenon.

Why?

The positivist intellect has a rule.

0013 Here is a picture.

0014 I ask, “What is it to be a human being?”

Obviously, the relevant answer points to the noumenon.

So, I should look to metaphysics.

0015 But, the positivist intellect says, “No metaphysics is allowed.”

Scientists are only interested in the observable and measurable facets of matter [substantiates] form, as well as of body [substantiates] soul.  They are not concerned about the noumenon.  Their observations may be mechanically modeled.  Their measurements may be mathematically construed.  Their models rely on the lingo of specialized disciplines.

Scientists engage in empirio-schematic judgments, the what ought to be of the Positivist’s judgment.

0016 Okay, if this makes sense, then the dyad, expressing what is for the Positivist judgment, provides a way to appreciate the mirroring of the question raised by Jeff Hardin.

04/15/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 2 of 15)

0008 In order to appreciate how science and metaphysics mirror one another, I turn to Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy (available at the smashwords website under the Empirio-schematic series).

Science is successfully born at the start of the modern age, with the formulation of the Positivist’s judgment.

What is a judgment?

A judgment is a relation between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’.  When the elements are assigned to Peirce’s categories, the judgment becomes actionable.  Actionable judgments unfold into category-based nested forms.

0009 Here is a diagram of the Positivist’s judgment.

0010 The positivist intellect, the relation, insists on a rule: No metaphysics.  Surely, this is one reason why scientific inquiry into human evolution grates against theological anthropology.  

What ought to be is an empirio-schematic judgment.

Disciplinary language (relation) brings observations and measurements (what is) into relation with mathematical and mechanical models (what ought to be).

0011 What is what is?

What is has the structure of Peirce’s secondness.  The category of secondness is the realm of actuality.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.

Here, the two real elements, a noumenon and its phenomena, belong to firstness, the realm of potential.  The noumenonthe thing itself, has the potential of capturing the attention of the positivist intellect.  Its phenomena, observable and measurable facets of the thing, have the potential of activating an empirio-schematic judgment.

The contiguity is most curious.  I place the contiguity in brackets.  A noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena.

04/14/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 1 of 15)

0001 Is the current scientific consensus on human origins at odds with core theological doctrines at the heart of the evangelical faith?

You bet it is.

0002 Well, is this a blessing in disguise?

It may well be.

How so?

0003 When science clashes with key theological doctrines, such as Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, Christians may need to strive fore better theological essentials.

0004 Does the same apply to science?

Can I say, “When the theological doctrine of original sin pushes back against our current consensus on the evolutionary sciences, researchers may need to search for better scientific essentials.”?

0005 On December 11, 2019, Jeff Hardin, member of the Department of Integrative Biology at UW-Madison, publishes his essay, Biology and Theological Anthropology: Friend or Foe?, on the Biologos website.

In the introduction, he joins British neuroscientist, Donald McKay, in asking (more or less), “Does God give us Darwin, Mendel and Rawlinson in order to achieve a less improper interpretation of His Word?”

0006 At the same time, one cannot ignore a reflection.

Does God give us the Bible in order to achieve a less improper interpretation of human natural history, genetics and Near Eastern Literature?

0007 Jeff Hardin, unlike most writers on this confounding topic, does not hide the question in the mirror.

Weirdly, he invites it.

03/25/21

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution” (Part 11 of 11)

0051 Once human evolution2a is ordered by an appreciation of how our origins are potentiated by the realness of triadic relations2b, a very surprising realization occurs.

Human evolution comes with a twist.

0052 What does that mean?

Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The realization is dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall.

The implications are discussed in Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) “Aquinas, Original Sin and the Challenge of Evolution”, Comments on Five Views in the Book (2020) “Original Sin and Evolution” and Comments on James DeFrancisco’s Essay “Original Sin and Ancestral Sin”.  All are available at smashwords.

0053 At this moment, Daniel Turbon does not know.

At this moment, the journal, Scientia and Fides, does not know.

0054 There is something distinctively human in that.

Perhaps, that is what makes the comedy divine.

03/24/21

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution” (Part 10 of 11)

0044 What is the human niche1b?

This is the central claim in the masterwork, The Human Niche.

The human niche1b is the potential of triadic relations1b.

0045 Every adaptation1a detailed by Daniel Turbon exploits triadic relations1b.

Once the origin of human beings2b is appreciated in terms of signs, category-based nested forms, judgment and other triadic relations1b, then our adaptations1a appear like observable and measurable facets2a of a single noumenon, the human niche1b.

0046  Turbon’s appeal in the last sentence of his abstract receives has already been answered.

A Course on the Human Niche is available on the smashwords website.  Search the following terms on the internet: human niche course series Razie Mah smashwords.  Any reasonable browser will point the reader to the location containing A Course on the Human Niche.

0047 The course begins with a Primer on Natural Signs.  The medieval scholastic tradition ends, in the 1600s, and the philosophy of Charles Peirce begins, in the 1800s, with an inquiry into the nature of sign relations.  Signs, like all triadic relations, entangle the material world.  However, material and instrumental causalities cannot account for triadic relations.

0048 Then, the course offers commentaries on four books by modern thinkers on human evolution.  These commentaries are:

Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big

Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) Prehistory of Mind

Comments on Derek Bickerton’s Book (2014) More Than Nature Needs

Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) Why Only Us?

0049 The course wraps up with the masterwork, The Human Niche.

0050 In sum, A Course on the Human Niche, offers an approach to the alignment of philosophy and science dwelling in the heart of Turbon’s essay.

03/23/21

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution” (Part 9 of 11)

0042 In the previous blog, I considered the adaptations listed by Turbon, in addition to high-level cognition, extra-somatic culture and talk (language).

Here is the list.

Figure 12

0043 All these are adaptations.  Adaptations exploit a niche.  So, in the ongoing two level interscope, the distinctive character1b sustaining a noumenal origin of human2b in the normal context of human intuition3b, must be the human niche1b.  The human niche1b, in turn, virtually situates Turbon’s list of adaptations1a.

Here is the reconfigured interscope.

03/22/21

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution” (Part 8 of 11)

0036 Here are the adaptations proposed by Daniel Turbon in sections one and two of his paper, “The Distinctive Character of Human Being in Evolution”.

Figure 11

I continue.

0037 In Section 2.2, Turbon mentions brain reorganization and size increase, over very long periods of time.  The parietal and frontal lobes preferentially enlarge.  Encephalization increases.

There is more here than meets the eye.  The brain not only increases but reorganizes.  This is covered in Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) Prehistory of Mind.  The way hominins think changes over many, many generations.  So does the brain’s architecture.

In Section 2.3, Turbon attaches importance to the FoxP2 regulatory gene.  Mutations in the gene produce impediments to speech and writing.  Scientists link the FoxP2 gene to neuro-motor control of rapid recursive and coordinated actions.  Neanderthals and humans share identical FoxP2 gene sequences.  Turbon associates this gene to speech-alone talk.  The gene equally applies to hand talk.

0038 The dyad of the brain [adapts to] talk is covered in Comments on Derek Bickerton’s Book (2014) More Than Nature Needs.   Our brain to body ratio is large.  It’s so large as to seem to be more than necessary for survival.  But, for talking, that is a different matter.

Also, children pick up language with a paucity of clues.  More cognitive processing is needed for that.  The question is, “How to model linguistic communication, in order to account for how children bootstrap language use.”  The answer is wrestled with in Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) Why Only Us?

0039 In section 3.1 and 3.2, Turbon discusses a potential concurrent adaptation in the domestication of fire (starting around 800,000 years ago) and advances in stone tool technologies (starting around 500,000 years ago).  There seems to be a transition, here.  Why do these two extra-somatic adaptations occur in tandem?

These questions are addressed in Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big.  Increasing neocortex size correlates to larger group sizes.  Larger group sizes correlate to larger brain size.  Do I detect a feedback loop?  Does this feedback loop ramp up with the adaptations of cooking and hunting with composite wood and stone tools?

0040 In Sections 4 and 5, Turbon discusses the evolution of the family.  Increasing encephalization means bigger heads.  In order to fit through the birth canal, big-brained babies are born early.  They are helpless infants.  Infant helplessness should lead to higher mortality in the dangerous environment of the open savannah.  The family is one adaptation that decreases risk for infants and children.  So are other social circles, such as the team, the band, and finally, the community.

0041 Finally, in Section 6, Turbon discusses altruism.

03/20/21

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution” (Part 7 of 11)

0033 The last blog adds more nuance to the ongoing two-level interscope.

Figure 10

0034 Evolutionary scientists propose adaptations that solve problems in the Pleistocene environment.  Human genes somehow allow the phenotypes that carry these adaptations.

One adaptation is the use of Oldewan, then Acheulean, then more sophisticated stone tools.  This is not the only adaptation.  More on that later.

The body of Turbon’s article provides a litany of adaptations.

0035 In Section 1, hominins become smarter in general, with special intelligences mixed in.  So, a person can not only talk (which is smart) but knows a lot about something that is of interest (which is special intelligence).

Surely, both DNA and the environment of evolutionary adaptation, genetics and natural history, are relevant.  But, there is something more, as noted later in Turbon’s article, as well as in Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) Prehistory of Mind.

0035 In Section 2.1, language is an adaptation that increases adaptability.  

Here, Turbon refers to “language” as speech-alone talk.  Today, many evolutionary scientists acknowledge that it is difficult to formulate how language evolves in the milieu of speech.  However, as discussed in Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s book (2016) Why only Us?  More likely, “language”, evolves in the milieu of hand talk.I continue Turbon’s list in the next blog.