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Veritas

Law of Identity and Evolution

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If the law of identity states that a thing is what is, referring to all the charactacteristics that make it what it is in particular, how then is evolution possible? 

Is evolution not change over time? Is evolution simply a change in the code or is a change in identity via speciation?

Is my understanding of identity incorrect or my understanding of evolution?

 

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10 hours ago, Veritas said:

Is my understanding of identity incorrect or my understanding of evolution?

Maybe the problem has to do with your understanding of change. Do you understand what causes all things to change, even non-living things? There are natural forces which act upon things and cause them to change--to move and interact with one another. And so the law of identity must recognize this fact: that the identity of a thing includes the fact that it reacts to natural forces in a particular way. Evolution is a recognition of how natural forces affect reproductive organisms.

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11 hours ago, Veritas said:

Is my understanding of identity incorrect or my understanding of evolution?

Perhaps your understanding is not so incorrect as your thinking about it has not been deep enough.

Recall, in the process of reproduction the DNA of the offspring is not exactly a match to that of parents, even in asexual reproduction genetic mutations occur, and the identity, nature, structure and function of the living offspring therefore are different from that of their parents.

The fitness of the offspring to the environment, and their consequential ability for themselves to reproduce, determine which sorts of mutations are amplified in the population and which ones are attenuated.

Evolution is not a counterexample, but serves as another example of identity;  when one is careful to identify its mechanisms with enough scrutiny.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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The argument here (identity precludes change) first showed up in Parmenides ca 500 BC. From the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology:

On the former path [i.e. of reason] we convince ourselves that the existent neither has come into being, nor is perishable, and is entirely of one sort, without change and limit, neither past nor future, entirely included in the present. For it is as impossible that it can become and grow out of the existent, as that it could do so out of the non-existent; since the latter, non-existence, is absolutely inconceivable, and the former cannot precede itself; and every coming into existence presupposes a non-existence.

His writings give us the first example of an explicit premise-and-conclusion argument. Much of Aristotle's metaphysics amounts to an explanation of what's wrong with that argument.

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On 3/12/2019 at 10:16 AM, MisterSwig said:

Maybe the problem has to do with your understanding of change. Do you understand what causes all things to change, even non-living things? There are natural forces which act upon things and cause them to change--to move and interact with one another. And so the law of identity must recognize this fact: that the identity of a thing includes the fact that it reacts to natural forces in a particular way. Evolution is a recognition of how natural forces affect reproductive organisms.

But, isn't causation a result of identity as opposed to forces acting on the outside of the object?

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On 3/12/2019 at 10:34 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

Perhaps your understanding is not so incorrect as your thinking about it has not been deep enough.

Recall, in the process of reproduction the DNA of the offspring is not exactly a match to that of parents, even in asexual reproduction genetic mutations occur, and the identity, nature, structure and function of the living offspring therefore are different from that of their parents.

The fitness of the offspring to the environment, and their consequential ability for themselves to reproduce, determine which sorts of mutations are amplified in the population and which ones are attenuated.

Evolution is not a counterexample, but serves as another example of identity;  when one is careful to identify its mechanisms with enough scrutiny.

If it is not exactly a match then doens't this  ontradict A = A and mean that in your example above that identity would be more like A = Ab?

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5 hours ago, Veritas said:

If it is not exactly a match then doens't this  ontradict A = A and mean that in your example above that identity would be more like A = Ab?

I said no such thing.

Evolution is perfectly consistent with the concept of identity.  It is easy to see if you keep in mind what evolution actually IS.

 

Read my post carefully again.

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7 hours ago, Veritas said:

But, isn't causation a result of identity as opposed to forces acting on the outside of the object?

Objects produce natural forces. It's part of their identity. Where do you think gravity comes from?

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On 3/18/2019 at 5:20 PM, MisterSwig said:

Objects produce natural forces. It's part of their identity. Where do you think gravity comes from?

This is just wrong for a massive number of reasons.

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2 hours ago, EC said:

This is just wrong for a massive number of reasons.

Maybe you could provide one or two of them. I'm not a mind reader.

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