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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: Douglas Dix in his article "On Becoming Self-Conscious: A Meditation" [1, p. 543] does not take into account that "the maze which we call reality" could be infinite, infinite in extent, duration, and/or complexity. For instance, many cosmologists assume diat the universe is of infinite age. Many properties of the universe are known with great precision; still, those values are only approximations . While future work will improve these approximations asymptotically, it seems unlikely that finite human effort will ever give us the "absolutely correct" value of, let us say, the mass of a proton. I think that these considerations make an infinite reality more attractive than the finite reality of constant or changing size proposed by Dix. To fully describe an infinite reality, an infinite number of objective observations, produced by an infinite number of man-hours, are required . Progress toward a goal, as suggested by Dix, tends to disappear in an infinite reality. Dix does not consider that the systematic search for objective observations is of very recent origin. Thus, most of human history certainly cannot be described as progress toward a goal. It is by no means clear that the collection of objective observations can be equated by "progress," diat is, ajourney through successive states of improved conditions. Some would argue diat our objective observations are the Trojan horse which signals our doom. The goals of increasing objectivity and empathy, described by Dix, can conceivably be achieved (asymptotically) without recourse to a finite reality, as described in die Eastern literature cited by Dix and also in more recent Western literature. Ernst Kallenbach Department ofAnatomy, University ofFlorida Gainesville, Florida 32610 REFERENCE 1. Dix, Douglas. On becoming self-conscious: a meditation. Perspect. Biol. Med. 24:543546 , 1981. Permissionto reprintaletter printedin this section maybe obtainedonly from die author. Perspectives in Biology and Mediane, 26, 1 ยท Autumn 1982 | 169 Dear Sir: If die maze which we call reality is infinite or expanding at a rate which exceeds our rate of progress, we are not approaching a goal in our journey through the maze. But a goal is simply the point beyond which further progress is impossible. The absence ofa goal does not diminish the possibility of progress. In the objective method, thoughts have survival advantage in proportion as they are more true. Since objective truth is invariant with time and personality, the entropy of thought decreases with each discovery of truth. The decrease in entropy is progress whether or not zero entropy is achievable. Progress began with the first appearance of life on earth. Organisms prevailed in proportion to their ability to obtain nutrients and avoid predators. The acquisition of such ability is "the systematic search for objective observations" which we call natural selection. Humans have survival advantage because intelligence is more efficient than mutation at discovering and preserving objective observations. Douglas Dix Department ofBiology and Health Science, University ofHarford West Hartford, Connecticut 06117 Errata In "Theobald Smiui (1859-1934), Pioneer American Microbiologist" by Claude E. Dolman (Spring 1982), page 425, line 14, read sible sources of error in Ehrlich's efforts toward accurate titrations offor cern for detail, technical inventiveness, and indomitable persistence" [12]. In "DNAToday" by Francis Crick (Summer 1982), page 512, line 5, read Adenine pairing only with Thyminefor Aenine pairing only with Thymine. In "Perspectives, Surgery" by Francis D. Moore (Summer 1982), page 718, line 27, read some of the remaining terrors of surgical sepsis will be abused. Whetherfor some prolonged patient/surgeon contacts almost reminiscent of primary. 170 I Letters to the Editor ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 169-170
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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