Thursday, December 10, 2009

ISBN 0738710776 - The Nonscientific Status of Vitalism - Forciea 2007:

recently, I added the following citation to my appendix titled "The Scientific Rejection of Vitalism".  The author admits that vitalism thoroughly lacks scientific support [see 001., below], but then promotes an analogous figmentation that to me resembles science-fiction and science-illiteracy [see 002., below].  Then, I quote from Richard Dawkins [see 003., below] and the National Center for Science Education [see 004., below]:

001. the newest appendix addition:
Forciea, B. (DC Parker) states:
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[in "Unlocking the Healing Code: Discover the 7 Keys to Unlimited Healing Power"(2007)]
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[Note: a woo-proponent's argument for sCAM]
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"in the philosophical camp called vitalism, vitalists believed in a vital force, a life force that permeated all living beings.  The vital force is what kept things alive, but no one was ever able to measure this mysterious force [p.013...] believers in vitalism believe [!!!] in a vital force that permeates all life.  Some call it chi, others prana, still others energy.  The presence of the vital force is what separates the living from nonliving.  Alternative systems of healing work to support the vital force [e.g., naturopathy].  Science has a problem with vitalismScience has never been able to measure the vital force or even a vital energy […] this energy is not in any form known to science [yet energy, by definition in terms of science, is quantifiable!!!].  Scientists have yet to measure a vital force […] science's view of life is founded on a different philosophy [!!!] than vitalism.  At the core of science and medicine is mechanistic materialism [!!!].  In this view life emerged from matter.  There is no hidden vital force, no living energy.  Life is seen as a self-sustaining process that produces complex structures [p.003]";
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(ISBN 0738710776)
 Note: I'm highly enjoying the verbiage "believers in vitalism believe".  Vitalism is, after all, nonfactual.  It is also quite a strain to state that 'how science collectively explains its factual collection is merely a philosophy', as if all ideas / ideations / views are of equal epistemic status.

002. the author's leap into science-fiction and -illiteracy:

"science does have an answer to the mystery of the vital force […there's] a ubiquitous field of information […] the zero-point field […] a sea of subatomic particles popping into and out of existence [(i.e. dark matter) p.003...so] the essence of the vital force is [this] information […] information is the link between mechanistic materialism and vitalism [p.004...whereby] living beings actually thwart the immutable law of entropy [p.013].”

Note: so, 'the vital force figmentation' is claimed to be essentially "information" which is comprised of dark matter, and life is claimed as able to defy nature's physical laws.  I've often gotten the impression that nebulousities like vitalism, when not able to claim tangible evidence in direct support of their supposed existence, then veil themselves in another nebulousity / mysticism layer.  Dark matter is that new veil, here.  Also, like creationists who want to supernaturalize biology, vitalists often claim that life defies physical laws and therefore vitalists are minimally indirectly categorizing life as a supernatural event / phenomena.  The vital force is about as mysterious as the Tooth Fairy, or fairies under the garden.

003. regarding vitalism and information in terms of the life science / biology, biologist Richard Dawkins states [coincidentally on that same appendix page I've linked to above]:

[in "The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing"(2008)]
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"what neither Mendel nor anyone else before 1953 knew was that genes themselves are digital, within themselves [...] life is the execution of programs written using a small digital alphabet in a single, universal machine language. This realization was the hammer blow that knocked the last nail in the coffin of vitalism and, by extension, of dualism. The hammer was wielded, with undisguised youthful relish, by James Watson and Francis Crick [p.030...] for me, the greatest achievement of Watson and Crick was to turn genetics from a branch of wet and squishy physiology into a branch of information technology, in the process slaying, as I suggested above, the ghost of vitalism [p.226]";
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(ISBN 0199216800)
Note: true information, in the sense of biology and its phenomena, is genetic.  And that is biochemical.

004. and regarding misconceptions surrounding life and thermodynamic law, the National Center for Science Education has this interesting explanation here:

"if the earth were a closed system, then every living organism on earth would be defying entropy on a daily basis. But, the earth is not a closed system; thus, respiration, growth, reproduction, and evolution happen on earth on a daily basis without violating the second law of thermodynamics."

Note: when looked upon as a whole, in terms of our solar system, life does not defy physical law.
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