I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

611. More About The Fallacy Of Teleological Thinking

611.   More About The Fallacy Of Teleological Thinking 

Yesterday I got a strange email in reference to entry 610 about teleology.   The sender, according to the name probably a guy, omits to introduce himself in any way and to tell me, why he contacts me and what he expects from me.    He merely informs me of his disagreement with my considering teleology as a fallacy in entry 610.    I am puzzled, what made him assume, that the difference between knowing or not knowing, that a person with a given email address disagrees, were of any significance to me.    
There are billions of persons on this globe, who disagree with my way of thinking.  Any of them only wastes his own and my time by informing me of the disagreement.  
This blog is not written for them.   I am elaborating my thoughts for the purpose of finding my mindmate being someone, who agrees as the result of his own independent thinking prior to reading this blog.     

The following are two quotes from his email:
"I can see no good scientific application for teleology." 
"A teleological universe remains quite possible on logical grounds."

These quotes show clearly, that he has not clue, what teleology really means and that he is himself someone caught too much himself in this fallacy to be able to gain mental distance from irrational beliefs of any kind.

When someone asks questions, then this indicates a reason to explain.   But someone declaring his disagreement implicitly states his own point of view as valid as mine.    A guy, who claims his teleological fallacy as equally valid as rational and scientific thinking is a clear example of the Dunning-Kruger-effect.    While such a haphazard disagreeing guy certainly as a person is of no interest to me, his email nevertheless inspires me to write some more about teleology.      

Teleology is a logical fallacy of thinking.    No scientist, who deserves to be called one, would use it consciously and deliberately as an appropriate method to explore and explain anything.  It just is not a scientific method.  The effect described in the research presented in is the tendency of the human brain to spontaneously tend to succumb to this fallacy.   This does not make teleology any less a fallacy, it is only an indication of how careful scientists need to be to avoid it. 

The fallacy can be shown by comparing the following two statements:  

1. "Trees produce oxygen so that animals can breathe"   (From the research presented in
2. "Oxygen masks supply environmentally lacking oxygen so that people can breathe."

Superficially, both statements seem to be quite similar.    In both statements, oxygen is needed and it is supplied.   But there is a fundamental distinction between the teleological fallacy of statement one and the genuine intention in statement two.  

Oxygen masks are invented and produced by persons having knowledge and intention concerning what the masks are to be used for.   Without a known need for oxygen, such masks would not be invented and produced.   
All oxygen masks are made by humans or by human made machines.   The purpose of oxygen masks to supply oxygen when not otherwise available is the intended or expected beneficial outcome of the activity of producing it.   This is logically only possible, when there is someone performing the purposeful activity.  

There cannot be any intentional production without a producer, but things can exist and offer collateral benefits without having been produced by anybody.   

The teleological fallacy is thinking as if there were a causality, where there is none at all.   To believe that the trees have been produced by an acting entity the same way as the oxygen masks is the fallacy of simpleminded and gullible persons.   They invent a creator deity, which serves for them not only but also as an explanation for the existence of trees and more generally of anything, of which they derive benefits and which exists without having been produced intentionally by any human.      
Scientific research to look for evidence of oxygen masks which are not produced by humans is an option.   As long as such evidence has not been found, it can be considered as established, that oxygen masks are produced by persons, who can be traced.    
Any scientific attempt to find the producer of the trees is equally futile as the attempts to find evidence of the existence of any deity.    

Also the person selling oxygen masks knows, that they are produced by humans and what for.   The person planting trees to enhance the oxygen in the air knows, that trees produce oxygen.   But as a rational person he also knows, that the trees have not been produced by any person or entity for the purpose of breathing.   The rational person knows, that the existence of trees and of beings needing oxygen can either be coincidence or co-evolution, in which the evolution of beings in need of oxygen has been enabled by the evolution of the emittance of oxygen by the trees.

The teleological fallacy and the deity delusion are therefore related and reinforcing each other.   But it is difficult to know, which was first.
I doubt Pararajasingham's suggestion (, that the telos drive having been there first suffices to explains religious beliefs.    
It is at least as probable, that the gullibility to the delusion of deities has been an evolutionary advantage to the species for very different reasons.   
Those women, who accept the self-harming by accepting the biological abuse of their bodies for procreation due to expecting a reward in the afterlife, have more offspring than those, who refuse to accept self-harming.  
Those men, who harm women by making them pregnant due to displacing the responsibility for doing this to a deity, also have more offspring than the more considerate men.   
Thus the gullibility to believe in the existence of deities has been incorporated into the gene pool.   Once someone believes in the existence of a creator deity, then the conclusion of attributing the existence of any not human made phenomena and entities to be allegedly produced by such a creator is apparently and subjectively logical to such a believer.   

But neither the deity delusion nor teleological thinking is logical to rational, skeptical and apistic persons like me.