On 10/5/2012 9:04 PM, Jason Resch wrote:


On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 10:12 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto: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
    <mailto: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
        <mailto: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 
<mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com>>

                 Alberto G. Corona <agocor...@gmail.com 
<mailto: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=10.1.1.100.4146

    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.

There were minds enough to try to avoid suffering and dying. Are really going to try to stretch this analogy to say that our ideas 'compete and suffer and die' and this is just as wasteful and cruel as the Darwinian struggle for existence?

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,

Exactly my point.

but it is an improvement natural selection (not we) made.

Do you realize you've just anthropomorphized natural selection in order to attribute agency to it in order to argue that it's better than agency? It doesn't matter where reason came from, the question is whether it is inferior to Darwinian evolution in the designs it produces.

Biological evolution is now largely inconsequential compared to the evolution of technology and ideas. But the trends in technology and ideas are still evolutionary.

But not Darwinian evolution. That's what I find objectionable. Using the word 'evolutionary' like a pun because it means both gradual change and the Darwinian process.


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.

All metaphorically.


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.

General rules? That no designer can start over? That you can't borrow and combine ideas from wildly different species or even from non-biological examples. You're just fuzzing up definitions to make apples the same as oranges because they're both fruit.


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,

Most theories of the origins of life suppose that DNA became the code for reproduction because it was *more* stable than RNA. The pace of evolution is itself subject to natural selection.

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.

But by reason, not by Darwinian evolution. If GM randomly changed the design of each car as it came down the production line it would be in even more trouble.

Brent

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