Wishing in the cornfield

Joe wrote:


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In the classic Twilight Zone episode - perhaps the most surreal offering in TV history, Anthony, a kid from a rural Ohio community, dominates its day to day activities. "Reality" is dependent on his wishing events to occur. With his mind alone, Anthony creates violent TV shows, makes it snow in summer, permanently shuts off the electricity, engineers 3 headed gophers, etc. At a birthday party, a neighbor gets boozed up, exhorting the adults to kill Anthony for the disruptions he caused to the community. To punish his neighbor, Anthony turns him into a jack-in-the-box. In siloutte, the man's head bobs up and down on a spring. Horrified, Anthony's father begs him to "Please wish it into the cornfield, son! Wish it into the cornfield, please!". The "cornfield" is non-existence (the void) - where the man-in-the-box eerily goes.

Now, I begin to understand Khuno's, Jerry's, Norton's and JoshingThySelf's science-hate as a minor symptom of a major metaphysical gaffe. In this cult, the existence of a mind-independent reality is exactly what has been "wished into the cornfield". Redefining what science deals with (the real) elicits very Anthony-like consequences.

Jerry has achieved the exalted position that 400 years worth of Physics is rubbish. He pronounced the constants of Physics: "c", "G", "h", etc. to be variables, so once the constants of Physics are sent into the "cornfield" - only inconstants prevail in the universe.

Khuno, Norton and JoshingThySelf have decided - peremptorily - that insects have no mate preferences (despite insects having been shown in experiments for over 140 years to have them), so the 400+ million year evolutionary history (in which preferences for ornaments pushed evolution in insect species) silently goes into the "cornfield", winking-out of reality.

The type-specimen of this occult mind-rot is as follows:

Khuno wrote:
And the final insult is your block headed insistance that any term a biologist uses is defacto a biologist's term. Now preference is a biologist's term according to you. They aren't using helpful metaphorical devices to relate the mating behavior of scorpionflies to you.

Khuno might have been mature enough, stating this up front: "I exclude the possibility of recognizing that mate preferences have been observed on the part of non-human organisms in scientific research. I refuse to yield to empirical evidence (i.e. reality).". This decision would have saved him a lot of energy in jiggering-up the redefinition of the bio-term "preference". He shifted the goal posts so far out of range that nothing observable about non-human organisms could satisfy his narrowed redefinition of a biological preference.

Declaring sexual (or natural) selection terms to be "metaphorical devices" is a botched metaphysical commitment. Biology ceased to be an empirical concern for Khuno from the moment he redefined it into drivel - much as the resurrection of Christ is not an empirical concern to Christian Fundamentalists. He confuses the reasons in his mind with the causes playing-out in the world. If mate preferences can be redefined to not appear in non-human organisms, then mate preferences can also be redefined to not appear in humans. He would - then - have arrived at the same conclusion that mate preferences are not to be had - even by humans. However, science offers a very sparse menu: either you accept it or you reject it.

Here's an SS experiment, conducted by a scientific wizard named Scott Sakaluk. He isolated nuptial gifts from males of a gift-giving cricket species, then - during mating trials, he fed them to females of a non-gift giving cricket species. These females showed strong mate preferences towards the gifts. However, the females of the males' own gift-giving cricket species do not have preferences for the gift - as they've built-up "resistances" to them via a "counter-adaptation". From what I understand from the posters here - since preferences on the part of female insects for nuptial gifts do not exist, Sakaluk's brilliant experiment never occurred. Below, I suspect what may have happened:

Rob L Norton, Jerry and JoshingThySelf, chanting in unison: "Please, wish it into the cornfield, Khuno! Wish it into the cornfield, please!"