Some of us tend to care more about applied power more than the explanatory 
power.   Also as Frank suggested there are practical limits to the size of 
genomes that can be simulated.  I could imagine epigenetic / regulatory analogs 
being beneficial though.

Marcus

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 9, 2017, at 12:58 PM, Nick Thompson 
<nickthomp...@earthlink.net<mailto:nickthomp...@earthlink.net>> wrote:

Steve,

What’s powerful about it?

What is presented to the world by the epigenetic system is not mutations but 
“hypotheses” about ways to live.  And presumably epigenetic systems are shaped 
by natural selection to produce  more or less plausible hypotheses.  The 
randomness is largely notional.   I still think you guys are more captured by 
your model of evolution than by the actual facts of it.

Nick

Nicholas S. Thompson
Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
Clark University
http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/

From: Friam [mailto:friam-boun...@redfish.com] On Behalf Of Jenny Quillien
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 12:21 PM
To: friam@redfish.com<mailto:friam@redfish.com>
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] random v stochastic v indeterminate


Totally agree.

Maybe a few of us can read the Wagener book (apparently he  shows up at the 
Santa Fe institute from time to time as an external something or other) and see 
what we can do with the ideas.  I'll be in Amsterdam but can follow  e-mail 
threads to skype.   Jenny

On 8/9/2017 10:01 AM, Steven A Smith wrote:

Jenny -

What a powerful quote:

Natural selection can preserve innovations, but it cannot create them.
In my own maunderings about the (continued?) relevance of Free Markets and 
Capitalism, it has occurred to me that the value of said Free Markets may well 
be restricted to the "innovation phase" of development.  Once something becomes 
a (relative) commodity, it seems it might be counter-productive to continue the 
illusion of competitive development.  At best it is wasteful and even harmful, 
and at worst it leads to an elevation of "innovation" to marketing and 
salesmanship.  This is why we have so many near-identical products on the 
market being pushed on us through the hype of greed and fear when the "generic" 
or "store brand" version is equal or (even) superior (certainly in price, but 
also possibly in quality... lacking the colorants and odorants and other 
embellishments required to differentiate one product from the other?).

- Steve
On 8/9/17 8:56 AM, Jenny Quillien wrote:

An excellent foray into such a topic is Arrival of the Fittest: how nature 
innovates by Andreas Wagner.

From the Preface:  the power of natural selection is beyond dispute, but this 
power has limits. Natural selection can preserve innovations, but it cannot 
create them. And calling the change that creates them random is just another 
way of admitting our ignorance about it. Nature's any innovations- some 
uncannily perfect - call for natural principles that accelerate life's ability 
to innovate, its innovability.

Dave West turned me onto the book and has promised a discussion about how it is 
relevant to 'evolution' in software. It is certainly relevant to Nick's e-mail.

Jenny Quillien

On 8/9/2017 8:47 AM, Nick Thompson wrote:
Hi everybody,

Thanks for your patience as I emerge (hopefully) from post-surgical fog.

I figured I best start my own thread rather than gum up yours.

First.  I had always supposed that a stochastic process was one whose value was 
determined by two factors, a random factor AND it’s last value.  So the next 
step in a random walk is “random” but the current value (it’s present position 
on a surface, say) is “the result of a stochastic process.”  From your 
responses, and from a short rummage in Wikipedia, I still can’t tell if I am 
correct or not.

Now remember, you guys, my standard critique of your discourse is that you 
confuse your models with the facts of nature.  What is this “evolution” of 
which you speak?  Unless you tell me otherwise, I will assume you are speaking 
of the messy biological process of which we are all a result: --  The 
alteration of the design of taxa over time.   Hard to see any way in which that 
actual process is evidently random.  We have to dig deep into the theory that 
EXPLAINS evolution to find anything that corresponds to the vernacular notion 
of randomness.  There is constraint and predictability all over the place in 
the evolution I know.  Even mutations are predictable.  In other words, the 
randomness of evolution is a creation of your imaginations concerning the 
phenomenon, not an essential feature of the phenomenon, itself.

So what kind of “evolution” are you guys talking about?

Yes, and forgive me for trolling, a bit.  I am trying to wake myself up, here.

nick

Nicholas S. Thompson
Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
Clark University
http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/<http://home.earthlink.net/%7Enickthompson/naturaldesigns/>





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