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http://forum.skeptic.za.org/science-technology-medicine/natural-selection-like-triangular-circles-can%27t-exist/5/?PHPSESSID=27b94ebd14b7a2575722742df953ea05;wap2

notes Edit

ArgumentumAdHominem (October 13, 2007, 21:40:09 PM): Hi metari1, welcome back. I am honestly pleased to see that you returned. For a moment I thought that you might be trolling but I am glad to see that you are interested in a discussion.

There are a lot of points to address so I hope that I get to answer most of them.

I see that you are sticking to the original point that "natural selection" as a term is an error introduced into English by Darwin. I think that I should reword the explanation that I provided earlier with examples which should clarify that there is no error.

Various sciences use "normal" English words and give them new meanings. When you talk to scientists working in the same paradigm, they all understand the shared alternate meaning. By way of example consider a statistician that concludes "100% of the population prefers orange juice to apple juice". And that statistician is not lying, he is being accurate. Why? Because the word "population" in a normal sense means the inhabitants of a country. But in statistics it means the group which was targeted in the study (the people who are part of the targeted population who were actually surveyed are the "sample"). In the orange juice survey the population happened to be "people who have an apple allergy".

Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM When the intent is not clear we then have what the linguists call a "structural ambiguity"


I agree. As a student of Linguistics, I find the whole area fascinating. There are actually two kinds of ambiguity; "Structural Ambiguity", as you stated, and "Lexical Ambiguity".

Now Structural Ambiguity is when the structure of the sentence (i.e. the punctuation and/or the order that the words are written in) leads to ambiguity of the meaning. There are many humorous examples from newspapers: Beating Witness Provides Names (Beating witness has provided names OR Beating the witness has provided names)P.L.O. invited to raid debates (P.L.O. invited to attend raid debates OR P.L.O. invited to raid the debates)The Sherlock Holmes example that you provided is a Structural Ambiguity, all of the rest of your examples and the premise of your argument is that Darwin committed an error, specifically a Lexical Ambiguity.

In Lexical Ambiguity the cause is when two words have two different meanings and either appears to be applicable in the sentence. More examples from newspapers: Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (ambiguity of "make")Prostitutes Appeal to Pope (ambiguity of "appeal to") Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM Let me give you another sentence: You have a green light. What does this mean? a) You are holding a green light bulb. b) You have the go ahead for your project c) You can drive your car.


I agree that the sentence above on its own is ambiguous, but context always disambiguates (BTW: there are two definitions as b and c are a shared definition). In the example of the word "selection" within the term "natural selection" there is no ambiguity because there is only one meaning of "selection" to biologists. As I said earlier; the term "selection" for biologists describes a process and has nothing to do with the normal day-to-day use of the word "selection". Much like the word "population" to statisticians.

Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM There are words for which the meaning can never change like love,hope,honor, hate, integrity and valor,choice and selection. No man can make hate suddenly mean love, not even Darwin.


Darwin is not interested in redefining the word "selection". BTW: the meanings of Love and Valour have actually changed over time. The word "love" meant a beloved person from about 1225 and didn't describe the concept of being in love until 1508. Have a look at the etymology online reference http://www.etymonline.com/index.php).

Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM Darwin for example couldn't do any algebra or higher math, he was actually quite lacking in the upstairs department


This is a personal attack on the man not the argument that he is making. It is a fallacy referred to as "Argumentum Ad Hominem". But if we go along with what you said; Darwin actually was able to do maths. He took mathematics in university and he did barely pass but at least he passed mathematics at university at a time when most people didn't have an education at all. An understanding of mathematics at a higher level than that isn't required for understanding geology, natural selection or anthropology otherwise we'd better send out a recall to all the people in the field today to go back to university until they have a masters in maths.

As for lacking in the upstairs department, I might agree, considering that he really liked the writings of William Paley on intelligent design while he was at theological university. Oops ... I'm sinking to a tit-for-tat level.  :-[

Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM and Darwin can't by his authority as Darwin redefine the meaning of choice, preference, decision or selection.


Just to reiterate: he had no such intention.

Quote from: metari1 on October 13, 2007, 17:20:09 PM Darwin was a language terrorist.


I would not agree (from the evidence above). There are more modern language terrorists around such as the people who commit tense or plurality confusion. For example ... "Our language have become undefined". It is handy to label Darwin as a terrorist so that it fits with the "War on terror" but is it valid? Bear in mind that the phrase "War on terror" is grammatically incorrect and the president who coined it can be labelled a "language terrorist".

... continued ...

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