On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 10:12 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 10/5/2012 8:00 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
> On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>   On 10/5/2012 4:56 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>> On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>>  On 10/5/2012 2:04 AM, Alberto G. Corona wrote:
>>> Dear john:
>>> 2012/10/4 John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com>
>>>>  Alberto G. Corona <agocor...@gmail.com> Wrote:
>>>>   >> 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!
>>>>>  > First of all, 360 degrees rotation is present in the flagela of
>>>>> the bacteria, invented about 3800 million years ago
>>>> I know, that's why I said "macroscopic". It's easy to make if the wheel
>>>> is microscopic because nutriments can just diffuse in and waste products
>>>> diffuse out; but as parts get bigger the volume increases by the cube of
>>>> the radius but the surface area only increases by the square, so when
>>>> things get big diffusion just isn't good enough. Evolution never figured
>>>> out how to do better and make a wheel large enough to see, but people did.
>>>   I explained in a post above why evolution does not select  weels. An
>>> autonomous living being must be topologically connected, and weels are not.
>>> This is a neat consequence of the need of repairability. No autonomous
>>> robot with weels can work for long time without supoort.. This is explained
>>> in detail somewhere above.
>>>  I can imagine a design in which wheels are connected to the circulatory
>>> system just as some vehicles are built with hydraulic motors in their
>>> wheels.  Or the wheels might be separate organisms in a symbiotic
>>> relation.  Those are possible - but it's too hard to get there from here.
>>> So you make the point yourself, evolution is constrained in ways that
>>> rational design is not.
>> Do we know that imagination doesn't use an evolutionary process (behind
>> the scenes) to come up with new ideas?  Could it be that our brains use
>> evolutionary techniques, combining different things we know in random ways
>> and running internal testing and selection of those ideas, before they
>> bubble up into an Ah-Ha moment that we become conscious of?
>>  Do we have any reason to believe ideas reproduce with variation and
>> then those that reproduce most successfully rise to consciousness?  THAT
>> would be a Darwinian theory of consciousness.
> The only known implementations of artificial creativity involved genetic
> programming.  In fact, this computer used such techniques to invented
> patent-worthy designs:
> http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=
> When I try to conceive of how creativity works, it is hard for me to to
> imagine it could be anything other than random permutation and cross
> pollination of existing ideas, which must then be evaluated and the
> nonsensical ones pruned.  New (good) ideas do not fall from the sky, nor
> are they directly implied by the existing set of ideas.  It seems then that
> the process involved is to generate a bunch of new ideas (using methods
> similar to the tools of evolution works), and then apply selection criteria
> to determine which are the good ones and which are the useless ones.
> This strikes me as disingenously stretching meaning to fit an argument.
> Yes, random variation and recombination of ideas and selection according to
> some values is probably how creativity works.  But do you really think that
> shows "Evolution outshines reason"?

I was only making the point that reason may itself use the same techniques
evolution does.

> Aren't you overlooking the fact that reason does all this in imagination,
> symbolically, not by reproducing and competing for resources and suffering
> and dying?

Before there were minds to experience all the suffering and dying, you
might say that evolution was equally symbolic.  That is, the molecular
interactions in the biosphere held a similar role to the flurry of ideas in
a reasoning mind.

Being able to develop ideas quickly and without whole generations having to
suffer and die is a great improvement to the process, but it is an
improvement natural selection (not we) made.  Biological evolution is now
largely inconsequential compared to the evolution of technology and ideas.
 But the trends in technology and ideas are still evolutionary.

Reason may be able to make longer strides than was possible with mutation
of DNA molecules, but the products of reason are still very much subject to
the same evolutionary forces: ideas must reproduce (spread), and compete to
survive, or risk extinction.

I don't see that reason can be said to outshine evolution since they seem
to be inseparable.  Reason is a product and tool of evolution (just as DNA
is).  Reason itself may even use evolutionary processes.  And in the end,
everything, including the ideas and inventions created by reason are still
bound to the general rules of evolution.

As an example of my point: We might say books outshine clay tablets by far,
but we can't books outshine methods for preserving and communicating
information.  Similarly, we might say that neurology outshines DNA, but we
can't make the leap to saying neurology outshines systems for adaptation.
 Both neurology and DNA are systems for adaptation.

Therefore, I think it is more accurate to say reasoning has accelerated the
process of evolution.  Many things have similarly accelerated evolution:
RNA, DNA, sexual reproduction, increased diversity of species, neurology,
language, writing, printing processes, computers, the Internet, Google,
etc.  In the future, we can expect AI, mind uploading, super conductors,
etc. to further accelerate the rate of change.


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