Of Apple Trees and Elections

June 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

If I were to tell you that an apple tree and a car accident are the same kind of thing, insist that they both are mere collisions of matter responding to the fundamental laws of physics, and obstinately deny that there was any legitimate and basic difference between them, you would probably correctly suspect me of being a Richard Dawkins style materialist.

When people tell me that a vote by a quorum of a corporate board of directors is the same kind of thing as a national election for President, they sound very much to me like a different sort of reductionist.

In both cases it seems to me that reductionism – while it can be very useful when applied with wisdom and care in certain circumstances and for certain purposes – makes a very poor substitute for an understanding of reality.

Especially if what we are trying to do is grow some apples.

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