Systems philosophy at its worst via Jacques Monod
PSI Blog 20161214
Astute readers know that both the Scientific Worldview and the universal mechanism of evolution is univironmental determinism, the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without. In other words, nothing in the infinite universe can exist without interacting with its environment.
You also know that the current scientific world view, which appears to be compatible with regressive physics and cosmogony, is systems philosophy. But as I have pointed out numerous times, systems philosophy is microcosmic, that is, it invariably tends to overemphasize the microcosm (the thing itself) and ignore the macrocosm (its environment). The archetype is the Big Bang Theory, which considers the entire universe to be finite, an entity unto itself, with nothing outside of it.
Now comes this radical quote from Monod based on systems philosophy, which has since been proven entirely incorrect:
“Of this the upshot is that there is no possible mechanism whereby the structure and performance of a protein could be modified, and these modifications transmitted even partially to posterity, except by an alteration of the instructions represented by a segment of DNA sequence. Conversely, there exists no conceivable mechanism whereby any instruction or piece of information could be transferred to DNA.
Hence the entire system is totally, intensely conservative, locked into itself, utterly impervious to any "hints" from the outside world. Through its properties, by the microscopic clockwork function that establishes between DNA and protein, as between organism and medium, an entirely one-way relationship, this system obviously defies any "dialectical" description. It is not Hegelian at all, but thoroughly Cartesian: the cell is indeed a machine.”
Jacques Monod, who wrote this mess, was a French Nobelist writing at the height of the Cold War when any mention of dialectics was politically taboo. This apparently made it impossible for him to conceive of the “dialectical” interaction of anything with its environment. The result was this swing of the pendulum to such an extent that molecular biology has since proven him wrong a million times over.
The title of his book “Chance and Necessity” also betrays his steadfast adoption of regressive physics and its indeterministic interpretation of causality and uncertainty. Like today’s obsolescent quantum physicists, he considered chance to be objective. Like those folks, he never would have accepted the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything). Like those folks, he uses “chance” to fill the knowledge gap instead of using the Second Assumption of Science, causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes). In an infinitely subdividable universe there is every reason to assume that all those variations listed under “chance” are produced by mechanical interactions nonetheless.
Oh, all right, maybe a cell is like a machine, but like all machines, it requires constant attention from its macrocosm. The supposition that a cell is a machine does not remove it from dialectical interplay.