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==Proposition== Bottom-up (Darwinian) causation obviates Top-Down causation (the Great Chain of Being). The Converse: Newton's Third Law is falsely restrictive, mind can unilaterally act on matter, and evolution is accomplished Top-Down by a First Cause.

===Argument 1.=== Causality presumes that one thing leads to another. ===Argument 2.=== The “great chain of being” was a postulated top-down causal chain. ===Argument 3.=== “Illumined by Newtonian law, ‘intent,’ in Nature, lost its awe.” ===Argument 4.=== Random causality does not presuppose any element of purpose and intent. ===Argument 5.=== Sequential causality may superficially suggest purpose and intent. ===Argument 6.=== Consciousness is no demonstration of top-down causation. ===Argument 7.=== Darwin saw that bottom-up random variation succeeding on its merits would explain evolution.


  1. Causality [[1]] presumes that one thing leads to another.
    1. Causality deals with whether, why, and how one thing makes another happen.
    2. The prerequisite is events, objects, variables, or states of affairs; something existing [[2]] and happening, rather than nothing.
    3. Causality is presumed to be lawful:
      1. Incident and antecedent are individually recognizable, usually from their resemblance to past occurrences.
      2. Incident and antecedent could be unrelated, a happenstance “coincidence” [[3]] in time and place.
      3. The (tentative) law is that one chronologically follows the other.
      4. Incident and antecedent are logically related in terms of simpler or more fundamental things (reductionism)[[4]].
      5. Upon occurrence of the cause the effect probably will follow.
      6. Repetition of the sequence merits increased confidence in the law.
      7. Eventually it is assumed that the antecedent not only reliably precedes the indident but makes it happen; by the nature of things, the effect is caused.
  2. The “great chain of being” [[5]] was a medieval top-down causal chain.
    1. According to the “principle of sufficient causation,” [[6]]something cannot arise from nothing.
      1. Descartes used this argument to “prove” God, as a concept of perfection which could not have arisen from nothing.
      2. Fallacy: Questionable Cause. The fallacy is that what can be conceived must have existed.
    2. Medieval “science” argued similarly that only complexity begets complexity, so there must be a great chain of being: top-down causality.
      1. The problem is, traced ever upward, where does this lead? Can the chain be infinitely long?
      2. If not, why stop? Must we not inquire as to the cause of the First Cause?
      3. Awe is no excuse for cessation of inquiry. One good inquiry deserves another!
      4. Fallacy: Questionable Cause.
        1. One fallacy is inconsistent use of method.
        2. Another is presumption of large and rapid changes.
        3. Another is category error, in postulating mind over matter, as in Cartesian dualism.
    3. Top-down causation, with or without intermediate hierarchy, is still the basic argument for God, or the Prime Mover.
  3. “Illumined by Newtonian law, ‘intent,’ in Nature, lost its awe.”
    1. This addendum to Pope’s epitaph [[7]] expresses the Newtonian paradigm of causality.
    2. Isaac Newton [[8]], cutting through medieval superstition, hypothesized [[9]] that in the lawful universe nothing is happening but interactions between bits of matter.
    3. We can reason for ourselves that a bump from one body on the other must be mutually the same as the bump from the other on the first (Newton’s Third Law) [[10]]. Inequality between action and reaction is impossible.
    4. Integration over distance gives conservation of momentum[[11]] over time, of energy [[12]].
    5. Any contention to the contrary must pragmatically argue both inequality of the forces between masses and nonconservation of the integrals.
    6. Quantum mechanics, [[13]] is a more fundamental theory than Newtonian mechanics and classical electromagnetism, in the sense that it provides accurate and precise descriptions for many phenomena. Still, the kinds of possible events are quite constrained, and whatever the force, action still equals reaction.
    7. Acceptance of the supernatural [[14]] paradigm, or mind over matter, or “intent in nature,”
      1. Presumes the power of the mental over the physical (mind over matter), as in top-down causation.
      2. Which requires rejection of Newton’s Third Law and its corollaries.
      3. Each paradigm explicitly denies the other.
      4. Those denying the plausibility of the supernatural typically claim that the only events which cannot be studied scientifically are those which cannot be perceived by any means. If an event claimed to be supernatural really has happened, it can therefore be studied scientifically and is not supernatural.
    8. Prior to Darwin, only the great chain of being could account for nature, requiring contra-Newtonian faith in intent in nature.
  4. Random [[15]] causality does not presuppose any element of purpose and intent.
    1. When the antecedent to an incident is not evident, the cause is said to have been random.
    2. We often pragmatically cannot identify the cause, as being too minor (lost in noise) or too complex (lost among possible causes) to trace.
    3. Mass in motion often behaves randomly.
      1. Molecules of gas in a balloon do not “intend” to escape; they eventually do so purely by chance, due to their thermal activity.
      2. Upon escaping they are at a lower level of energy, or organization; entropy has increased.
      3. Given the pressure differential no molecules (as a practical rule) ever find their way back in by chance.
  5. Sequential causality may superficially suggest purpose and intent.
    1. Changes which induce counter-changes (negative feedback) [[16]] give the appearance of intent or purpose [[17]].
      1. Your home heating and cooling system activates according to room temperature; this gives the appearance of intent on the part of the system.
      2. At what seems to be the top, the thermostat creates a set point of temperature, departures from which instigate system responses.
      3. Still, every element in the loop acts bottom-up causally, one thing merely leading to another.
      4. The main innovation of cybernetics [[18]] was an understanding of goal-directedness or purpose, resulting from a negative feedback loop which minimizes the deviation between the perceived situation and the desired situation (goal). As mechanistic as that sounds, cybernetics has the scope and rigor to encompass the human social interactions of agreement and collaboration that, after all, require goals and feedback to attain.
      5. The “intent” of the furnace is a fanciful attribution by us, not a substantive attribute possessed by the furnace.
      6. Fallacy: Questionable Cause — Claiming that there is top-down causation. Actually, all causation is bottom-up.
    2. Living things, when examined in detail, are self-regulating systems in which changes which induce counter-changes give the appearance of intent, as seen from without.
  6. Consciousness [[19]] is no demonstration of top-down causation.
    1. The brain is a wonderfully complex result of life’s variations.
    2. Many scientists and philosophers consider consciousness to be intimately linked to the neural functioning of the brain, dictating the way by which the world is experienced.
    3. Arguably, the mind is the brain as seen from within.
      1. Like a toothache, consciousness is a brain/body activity experienced therein by means of internal stimuli and sensory paths, not others which are (as in the case of someone else’s brain) mainly external.
      2. It does not follow that consciousness is (any more than a toothache) mystical, or nonexistent, or a delusion.
      3. Nor that it differs in kind from the external universe.
      4. Nor that other things likewise differ in kind from the external universe, as Descartes argued [20]] and as many still believe.
      5. Nor that heterophenomenology (consensus science) ever can adequately explain the “hard problem” of autophenomenology (experiencing consciousness).
    4. Consciousness attests only to differing aspects of identically the same thing, not two things differing in kind.
      1. There are not two regimes, differing in kind, unaccountably interacting (dualism[[21]]).
      2. Fallacy: Questionable Cause. Dualism is a fallacy; all is one.
    5. While we do what we will, we will what we must. Free will is the deterministic operation of the brain as seen from within.
    6. “Purpose” and “intent” in self-regulating, living, and self-aware systems are convenient terms for set points from which changes induce bottom-up counter-changes.
  7. Darwin [[22]] saw that bottom-up random variation succeeding on its merits would explain evolution.
    1. New evidence [[23]] indicated the great age of the earth, hence of life forms. Progress had been slower than had been imagined.
    2. The causal sequence therefore was credibly Newtonian, from the bottom up, proceeding by trial and error from existence at its simplest.
    3. Top-down causality never worked anyway.
      1. Even in loops every element in the loop (see point 3) acts causally from the bottom up. “Command elements” are merely points of sensitivity to bottom-up disturbance.
      2. Top-down causality never could (see point 4) account for the First Cause.
    4. Bottom-up causality need presume merely existence itself, with (see point 1) mass in motion.
    5. Random causality provides variation which can succeed on its merits.
      1. No intent is needed; it just happens.
      2. “Purpose” and “intent” in evolution appear not at all in variation, which is random.
      3. “Purpose” and “intent” do appear in individual survival during natural selection.
      4. Life cascades into complexity unassisted.
    6. Darwin, shocked by his own dawning theory, said "it is like confessing to a murder“ [[24]]. Armed by Newton, Darwin did “commit a murder” — the murder of the great chain of being.

--Isac 15:44, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

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