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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Favorite Tautology
    #631786 - 05/15/02 03:25 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

There are so many to choose from, but my fave is:

"The Bible is the Word of God. How do I know? Because it tells me so!"



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The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleClark
Bar RoomSuperman

Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 179
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Swami]
    #631831 - 05/15/02 03:51 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

"I yam what I yam."
Even a silver-tongued devil like Popeye has his off days.


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
illusion

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Clark]
    #631881 - 05/15/02 04:24 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

"we hold these truths to be self evident"


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: infidelGOD]
    #632260 - 05/15/02 09:06 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

...or it's cousin "It goes without saying."


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OfflineEpignostic
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Registered: 05/14/02
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Swami]
    #632770 - 05/16/02 09:33 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

"a tautology is a tautology" and

"survival of the fittest"


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Simple cries pleasantly plea for a friendly follower as wisely whispers request to reveal the water's wandering


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Epignostic]
    #632993 - 05/16/02 12:01 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Actually my true fave is: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." It is a fave because a really good tautology, like "survival of the fittest", actually appears to contain wisdom until closely examined.


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Swami]
    #633005 - 05/16/02 12:12 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Actually, in a course on evolution I took, the professor went on a 15 minute rant as to why "survival of the fittest" isn't really a tautology. If I can find my notes, I'll post his argument. I don't know the details offhand, but I do remember his argument being damn convincing (for what it's worth).


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Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Sclorch]
    #633111 - 05/16/02 01:39 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I would like to see those notes. As the saying seems to have zero predictive ability, it looks like a tautology.

Is the fittest the:

fastest? cheetahs and eagles are nearing extinction.

largest? elephants and whales are nearing extinction.

most prolific? cod were once the most abundant fish and are now nearing extinction.

largest cranium? some anthropologists now believe that Neanderthals had a larger brain than homo-sapiens, but were more docile.

fiercest predator? lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), etc. are all rapidly decreasing in numbers.


What about within a single species?

Sometimes the largest, requires the greatest supply of food and can die off first in times of shortages.

The fiercest alpha male? Seems that some alphas expend more energy defending their turf rather than mating. The bravos often mate more frequently.

In modern human society the opposite appears to be occurring. The best educated, most successful, physically fittest people have fewer children than the poor and uneducated and unhealthy.

On and on...


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Invisiblemr crisper
.

Registered: 07/25/00
Posts: 928
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Swami]
    #633133 - 05/16/02 01:49 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

o swamswams
why do i think you are trying to catch a fish with this thread?
how about - 'the fish takes the bait, thinking it has found food. but, the fisherman is the enjoyer of the meal.'
ive read 'when the student is....' in so many books and at this point, i take it to mean that the information i need will come to me when the time is right, somehow.
yes, its called faith. for myself, i have yet to form a definite opinion on this statement.
surely you don't interpret it to mean a guru, or swami, will come to instruct the struggling initiate?


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Swami]
    #633218 - 05/16/02 02:56 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Found [part of] them.

As the saying seems to have zero predictive ability, it looks like a tautology.
Well, fitness from an evolutionary perspective is often misused... you did it in this post right here:
Is the fittest the:
fastest? cheetahs and eagles are nearing extinction.
largest? elephants and whales are nearing extinction.
most prolific? cod were once the most abundant fish and are now nearing extinction.
largest cranium? some anthropologists now believe that Neanderthals had a larger brain than homo-sapiens, but were more docile.
fiercest predator? lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), etc. are all rapidly decreasing in numbers.


Darwinian fitness is only RELATIVE to others in the population (the phrase "survival of the fittest" implies Darwinian fitness).

What about within a single species?
Sometimes the largest, requires the greatest supply of food and can die off first in times of shortages. The fiercest alpha male? Seems that some alphas expend more energy defending their turf rather than mating. The bravos often mate more frequently.


This is a bit closer, since single species COULD represent a single population (oftentimes, populations/ecosystems are hard to define).

DARWINIAN FITNESS IS BACKWARDS-LOOKING.
"Darwin referred to the individuals who win this competition (it is rarely an actual head-to-head contest), and whose offspring make up a greater percentage of the population in the next generation, as more fit. In doing so he gave the everyday English words "fit" and "fitness" a new meaning. Darwinian fitness is the ability of an individual to survive and reproduce in its environment." (pg. 48, see *)

*Freeman, Scott, and Jon C. Herron. "Evolutionary Analysis," 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Darwinian fitness is a correlation, and is therefore NOT tautological (circular).
-prof. notes

hmm....


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Sclorch]
    #633226 - 05/16/02 03:02 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

A preemptive note for the anti-Swaminists:

Remember that Swami never claimed to be infallible...
Basically what I am saying is: don't be an idiot and post inflammatory crap just to make yourself feel better.


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
illusion

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Sclorch]
    #633246 - 05/16/02 03:27 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

actually Sclorch,

using Darwin's definition of fitness, we can say that "survival of the fittest" is a tautology.

Darwinian fitness is the ability of an individual to survive and reproduce in its environment." (pg. 48, see *)

if being 'fit' means the ability to survive,
isn't that like saying "survival of those who are able to survive" or something?


DARWINIAN FITNESS IS BACKWARDS-LOOKING

"those who survive are the ones who have survived"
?

Darwinian fitness might correlate to survival, but if it becomes apparent only after the fact, it's not a useful correlation. I think there are just too many factors in evolution to predict the survivability of a species.

If you can come up with a static definition of 'fitness' and prove that it correlates to survival, it would make more sense.





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InvisibleClark
Bar RoomSuperman

Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 179
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: mr crisper]
    #633249 - 05/16/02 03:34 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase similar to "Clovis first" or "many worlds". They aren't very meaningful in thier own right, but they serve as convenient shorthand for fuller ideas. AFAIK, "Survival of the fittest" does not claim to be an assertion (at least, not a complete one). So it's status as a tautology is dubious.

Consider; "the depth of the chasm" is a very unhelpful string of words. But "the depth of the chasm is 80 feet" is a logical statement. I'll bet a logical statement can be made using the phrase "survival of the fittest" -- something along the lines of; "The survival of the fittest to reproduce in a given environment encourages hereditary adaptations to that environment." I dunno; you get the idea.

To me, tagging "survival of the fittest" as a tautology is a little like complaining that the "out of Africa" model of human expansion is grammatically unsound.


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
illusion

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Clark]
    #633267 - 05/16/02 03:52 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

sorry, didn't mean to be so anal.


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: infidelGOD]
    #633272 - 05/16/02 03:56 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

actually Sclorch,
using Darwin's definition of fitness, we can say that "survival of the fittest" is a tautology

Not true, I'll show you... you forgot a part.

Sclorch: Darwinian fitness is the ability of an individual to survive and reproduce in its environment." (pg. 48, see *)
Reproduction is the key element here.


DARWINIAN FITNESS IS BACKWARDS-LOOKING
infidel: those who survive are the ones who have survived"?


No, the term backwards looking means that fitness (Darwinian) is measured by looking at the reproductive success of the organism. Since reproductive success is not something that can be measured BEFORE reproduction occurs, we cannot measure fitness until the event has happened.

This isn't that easy to understand, as Darwinian fitness is MUCH different from the everyday definition of fitness. I'm obviously not talking out my ass (read the book I cited... it's a real book), so I must not be explaining it well enough. If you're interested in evolution and whatnot, you'll run into Darwinian fitness and then you'll understand.


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: infidelGOD]
    #633274 - 05/16/02 03:57 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

sorry, didn't mean to be so anal.

I didn't even take it that way.


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
illusion

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Sclorch]
    #633283 - 05/16/02 04:10 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

OK I believe you, I dont know too much about Darwinian fitness. But isn't surviving and reproducing the same thing at least in the statement: survival of the fittest.

I assume that statement refers to species not individuals. Don't you need to reproduce to survive as a species?



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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
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Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: infidelGOD]
    #633291 - 05/16/02 04:19 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I assume that statement refers to species not individuals.

Actually, natural selection (i.e. fitness) only acts on individuals, not groups (species).


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: Sclorch]
    #633354 - 05/16/02 05:19 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Darwinian fitness is only RELATIVE to others in the population (the phrase "survival of the fittest" implies Darwinian fitness).
You lost me here. The fact that homo-sapiens out-survived (most likely wiped out!) the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals is not a clear example of "survival of the fittest"? Species extinction certainlys play a large role in evolution.

Darwinian fitness is the ability of an individual to survive and reproduce in its environment."
My reference to the cod fish was overlooked. They have been almost wiped out because they were so prolific, that for years it was cost-effective to fish for them. Had they not reproduced as well, they would not have been fished out. Even though individuals are highly fecund, that characteristic may be fatal to the species.

In a famous article (don't ask! am pulling this from 25 years ago) a certain species of moth in England went from predominantly white to predominantly black in a very short period of time (decades?). Seems their camouflage was blown as the white moths lit on the white birch bark and were invisible to birds. The black moths got eaten up in short order. As pollution darkened the bark, the white ones became more visible and were quickly chomped up.

The fittest moth (best color match) changed in short order. The point being that there is no ultimate characteristic that guarantees survival.

Hence "survival of the fittest" is not predictive nor even correlative.





--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Favorite Tautology [Re: mr crisper]
    #633357 - 05/16/02 05:21 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

surely you don't interpret it to mean a guru, or swami, will come to instruct the struggling initiate?

You must be ready, Crispy, for I am here!


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The proof is in the pudding.


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