On 9/30/2012 6:54 AM, Alberto G. Corona wrote:
Whoever said that does not know what he says:
"There are great differences between evolutionary designs and rational design, rational
designs are, well, rational, but
evolutionary designs are idiotic. Mother Nature (Evolution) is a slow and stupid
tinkerer, it had over 3 billion years to work on the problem but it couldn't even come
up with a macroscopic part that could rotate in 360 degrees! Rational designers had less
difficulty coming up with the wheel. The only advantage Evolution had is that until it
managed to invent brains it was the only way complex objects could get built."
First of all, 360 degrees rotation is present in the flagela of the bacteria, invented
about 3800 million years ago under intense comet bombardement.
Did you miss the word "macroscopic"?
Try to do it yourself in the same conditions ;). If there is no weel in natural
evolution is because legs are far superior.
And if you think that weels are superior, NS invented it, because the invertor of the
weel was a product of natural selection. Even your feeling of superiority of the weel
and the very feeling of superiority of reason is a product of natural selection. The
claim of superiority of reason over nature is the last vestige of unjustified
antropocentrism in its most dangerous form: Pride and self worship.
But NS couldn't 'invent' it for macroscopic size animals traveling on hard smooth
surfaces, because it had already 'invented' legs and there was no evolutionary path from
legs to wheels.
And second, with more relaxed mood, I have to say, as I said many times here, that
evolution works simultaneously with infinite variables and problems at the same time:
log term and short term. Therefore we NEVER are sure of knowing in FULL the reasons
You mean the random events and the selection events - there are no *reasons*.
behind an evolutionary design and therefor we can not understand FULY an evolutionary
design. That gives evolutionary design an appearance of mess poor design and so on. This
is NOT the case. If evolution and reason collide, the prudent is to consider that the
reason don´t know enough.
That is because Reason work to solve a single problem, Cognitive scientist say that can
handle no more than seven variables at the same time for a single problem.
THAT is the reason WHY the human designs are made of modules with discrete interfaces.
No matter if we talk about architecture, computer science or social engineering, Each
rational design module solves a single problem and comunicate with other modules in
discrete ways. This is what is considered "good designs" ,.
Not in general. Some engineers consider it good design to make multiple uses of the same
structure, e.g. there was a German motorcycle that used the gear shift lever to also serve
as the kickstarter, more recently Ducati designed their racing motorcycles to be
'frameless', using the engine as the structural member.
BUT THESE RULES OF GOOD DESIGN ARE A CONSEQUIENCE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF REASON. Reason
does not produce optimal solutions. it produce the optimal solution that he can handle
Not limitations, but the recognition that a modular design can be easily changed to solve
problems, usually by changing one module. But with a non-modular design you may have to
start over from scratch; which is why evolution gets stuck on local maxima like legs and
no wheels. Incidentally Ducati's frameless design was a maintenance nightmare, didn't
handle well, and couldn't be modified. They went back to a conventional frame.
Natural selection takes the whole problem and produce the optimal solution without
modular limitations. Starting from scratch, evolutionary algoritms have designed
electronic circuits with a half or a third of components, that are more fast that the
equivalent rational designs. As Koza, for example has done:
These circuits designs are impossible to understand rationally. why? because they are
not modular. There is no division of the problem in smaller problems. a transistor may
be connected to more than one input or output and so on. But they are better, ligther,
faster. it seems a "Bad" design but this is a subjective perception, as a consequience
of our rational inherent limitations.
It is not a casual that genetic algoritms are used whenever 1) it is or very difficult
to break a problem in parts 2) is easy to measure how good a solution is.
I have used genetic-evolutionary algoritms for deducing the location of extinction
resources in a simulated firing. The algoritm deduced the optimal location every time.
the only problem is that we did not know WHY this was the optimal solution.
But in genetic-evolution algorithms you have the luxury of adjusting the randomness and of
starting over from different initial values.
In the same way, an human organ can perform 3 4 5 functionalities at the same time. the
capillar tubes in a tree act as pumps, conducts, architectural sustaining foundation and
may be many more that still we don´t know.
In the same way societies are subjects of evolution. A natural socio-biological
institution, like the family has many functions, far more than the social engineers
think. Its functions can not be extracted away by public institutions ruled by social
engineers without a failure of the whole society.
Some functions can, e.g. slavery, and some have unintended consequences.
That is why conservatives rely on nature where progressives rely on reason and this is
the reason why the latter fail.
Conservatives are those who find themselves on top and call it 'natural'.
But natural evolution does not start from scratch it has to modify previous designs for
new needs, while reason without the help of tradiction, operates from scratch. But this
is not a drawback but an advantage for evolution,since the problems of the past may not
happen in the present, but probably they will happen in the future.
So now you are imagining foresight in evolution. Isn't it much simpler to just recognize
it is a constraint that random variation is unlikely to change many things at once so as
to 'start over with a clean sheet'.
Evolution design not for today, but from all times to al times, taking into account
past, present and probable future events.
So that's why 99.9% of all its designs have gone extinct? Evolution doesn't design at
all, it just randomizes and nature selects. The waste is enormous, but there's no
accounting department to care.
Natural adaptation exceeds not only the capabilities of rational design but also the
rational understanding, as I have demonstrated
You've only demonstrated your own prejudice against reason. Evolution produces many
designs that are suboptimal, because natural selection only requires that a design be
Arthropods make an elastic protein, rezulin, which is much more elastic than that in
molluscs (abductin) and in vertebrates (elastin). Thus a fly can flap it's wings with less
energy loss than a horse can run or a scallop can swim.
The nerves in a mammals eye join the photoreceptor cells at the end facing the pupil. They
run across the inside surface of the retina and exit together. Where they exit they create
a 'blind spot' in our field of vision. So, first, they partly obstruct the retina and,
second, they create a blind spot.
People swallow and breathe through a shared passage. A design that results in many deaths
due to choking on food.
Oxidation of fatty acids unnecessarily reverses the handedness of methylmaloyl. In the
biosynthesis of some plant alkaloids, reticuline is formed in the S configuration and then
inverted to the R configuration; a step which could have been avoided by just using the S
form for all the alkaloids. Lysine is biosynthesized via two different parallel processes
when one would have served.
The designer of a larger and heavier vehicle on the softer surface uses more wheels to
avoid sinking into the surface. Yet among animals the small ones, arthropods, have six or
more legs; while the large animals have two or four. Why don't large heavy animals like
elephants and rhinoceri have six or more legs?
When animals with fur get cold little muscles attached to each hair folicle cause the
hairs to stand up thus thickening the fur and increasing its insulative value. Humans also
have these muscles which cause 'goosebumps' when we're cold. This increases our surface
area and increases our loss of heat.
In the human male the urinary tract passes through the center of the prostate gland; a
gland given to swelling. This stupid design causes a lot of pain and difficulty for older
'A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'
--- William Butler Yeats, "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop"
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