Wishing in the cornfield

Joe wrote:


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" depends 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 disease. 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.

By declaring that 400 years worth of Physics is rubbish, Jerry has achieved an exalted position. Once he decreed that the constants of Physics: "c", "G", "h", etc. were variables, the constants of Physics were sent into the "cornfield". Now, only inconstants prevade the universe.

Khuno, Norton and JoshingThySelf decided - peremptorily - that insects have no mate preferences, despite that insects have been shown in experiments for over 140 years to have them, so the 400+ million year evolutionary history - in which preferences for ornaments directed evolution in insect species - silently went 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 the behaviors of non-human organisms could satisfy his artificially constricted redefinition of a biological mate preference to a human-level of cognitive complexity.

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 reworked SS terms 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 have - after this re-definition then - have arrived at the same conclusion that mate preferences are not to be had - even by humans. However, science offers an extremely sparse menu: Either you accept it or you reject it.

Here's an SS experiment, conducted by a scientific wizard by the name of Scott Sakaluk. He physically 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 lack a preference for the gift - as they've built-up "resistances" to the attractive sex trait via a "counter-adaptation". From what I understand from the posters here - since insect (female) preferences for insect (male) 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!"