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Ursula Goodenough

Ed wrote: you must admit that the ultimate reducibility of biological life to mechanical systems is a faith-based belief and one of several competing theories.


I would say that the reduction of biological life to mechanical systems is not a faith-based belief but rather an already-accomplished project, where there are still many many things to learn that will further expand and deepen these understandings. Such reduced perspectives are essential to grasp how life REALLY works, which is that the relationships between these “parts” generate what many are calling emergent properties — traits like metabolism and motility and awareness. An analogy is a car engine, which can be reduced to myriad parts that are important to know about if one is to understand the properties that emerge, like acceleration and braking and temperature control and directional control. Terry Deacon and I have written a piece on this http://www.edtechpost.ca/readings/Ursula%20Goodenough-%20The%20Sacred%20Emergence%20of%20Nature.pdf where the first two pages summarize these concepts.


I’m curious to know how you regard these understandings as a faith-based belief. Perhaps your comment related to the “ultimate” modifier?