Re: MD SQ-SQ coherence and the Biosphere.

From: Jim Ledbury (
Date: Sat Mar 20 2004 - 06:25:01 GMT

  • Next message: Matt poot: "Re: MD SQ-SQ coherence and the Biosphere." wrote:

    > I am unsure about the quality of diversity per se. This seems to me to
    > be a justification for a lot of BritArt which I find - um - pointless.
    > Okay, in this sphere (intellectual) I dislike the art but I will defend
    > their right to produce it. I think I am supportive of diversity, but
    > with qualifications.
    > Mark 19-03-04: Hi Jim. I feel diversity can be defended in MoQ terms.
    > The position with BritArt may be a socially dominated issue? I find
    > the aesthetics of much BritArt to be lacking in intellectual Quality.
    > Diversity in biological terms means plenty of things. We need this, but
    > diversity in disease? Well this one is being played out on many diverse
    > levels: intellectual, social and biological. I'm thinking of the
    > current todo with multiple disease jabs for kids here (MMR) which is a
    > media long runner in Britain, perhaps elsewhere.
    > Mark 19-03-04: Diversity in disease may result from diversity in life
    > forms upon which disease can flourish? However, the latter is of a
    > higher evolutionary coherent state and in a better position to 'get
    > the upper hand'?
    > Disease is, by definition, an aberration of a better state? But the
    > better state got 'to be,' 'to exist' in the first place, and the MoQ
    > helps explain why.
    I suspect there is probably an optimal diversity, which would be relate
    to concepts found in self-organised chaos. In ecological terms this
    would relate to the best filling of all available ecological niches. If
    there were fewer species, then there would be gaps to exploit and
    divergent evolution/external species would fill them; if there were too
    many, then their populations would dwindle and become unviable so we
    have some form of dynamic equilibrium. I remember reading an article in
    New Scientist a couple of years back about an ecologist (scientist not
    activist sense) in Costa Rica concluding that the health of biosphere
    was indicated by it's closeness to this optimum level, and that species
    were created and became extinct all the time. Unfortunately it's one of
    those theories likely to exploited by anti-ecological social forces who
    will gleefully seize on its concept that we shouldn't get too hung up
    about extinctions out of context.

    In other levels I would think that perhaps BritArt is precisely the
    point at which diversity is becoming watered down to the point of
    non-viability. Maybe that's a cause for celebration as it could be
    taken as an indicator of a thriving intellectual ecology :-/. Maybe I
    can get out of this unwelcome (to me) apparent support for the state of
    BritArt by hypothesising that the intellectual sphere of BritArt is a
    closed system, and that it may well be healthy in its own terms but poor
    in terms of relating to a wider social/intellectual sphere which I feel
    it is one of the basic responsibilities of intellectual quality. I
    don't know. Maybe that's dangerously close to a closed intellectual
    system which refuses to allow DQ to spread. Or maybe it's a higher yet
    value system?

    In expanding on the situations where diversity is not synonymous with
    quality in a kind of reduction ad absurdam argument (perhaps a naive one
    and I'm not suggesting that this is what you meant), a simplistic
    approach to diversity == quality would suggest that in biological
    science the more animal experimentation done the better. Again, this
    can only be the case in a very closed intellectual sphere with no regard
    to the wider social feedback resulting from such experimentation. To
    suggest that "don't be such a wuss, this is expanding intellectual
    quality (aka science)" erodes many healthy social protocols regarding
    mutual respect, I would think.

    Disease of some form is fairly inevitable in a diverse ecosystem. Taken
    on a simplistic level maybe we should celebrate disease as being
    indicative of diversity! On the social level, this would be akin to
    celebrating criminality I guess. On the intellectual level: I'm not
    sure: celebrating plagiarism and scientific fraud and disputation for
    it's own sake, I guess. However rather than try to stamp out the
    diversity, higher level protocols have to be worked out. With respect
    to disease - hygeine. With respect to criminality - laws. With
    respect to intellectual abuse - professional ethics, I suppose. In each
    case there is (or should be) a celebration of diversity - that is the
    extinction of diversity should only be accomplished where the conflict
    jeopardizes survival. Which kinda brings us to the state of current
    world affairs, I suppose; but I don't want to go there today. But I
    would note that it has been hypothesised that the current increases of
    basic allergies suffered by children is due to a lack of building up
    basic immunities to to over-use of basic hygeine practices. On the
    social level this could be analogous to an over-refined set of social
    structures (Victorian) where the presence of a mild profanity might
    cause the moral equivalent of hyperallergic reaction. On the
    intellectual level I guess this would be analogous to excessive witch
    hunts and denouncements of heterodox opinions as unscientific. This
    could also be expanded to attitudes related to pornography and hate
    literature. Celebrating pornography and hate literature per se would be
    celebrating the disease as evidence of diversity. To use the law
    against them however should be used with caution. I guess this would be
    the case when the pornography involved or encouraged rape or child abuse
    (non-consensual acts), or where the hate literature consituted
    incitement to violence.

    However, a lot of this is reasoning (at least I hope it's reasoning) by
    analogy and should be used with caution. Each case should be taken on
    it's own merits. Overgeneralisation is an intellectual problem.


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