Nick -

I am very glad to note that you are recovering and your scrappiness is properly returning!


What’s powerful about it?

Nothing more than it is such a succinct statement negating the popular fallacious apprehension of the mechanism of evolution, suggesting that there is a causal link between "selection" and "innovation"... the innovation step is in the mutation, but as the quote states clearly, said *innovation* is *preserved* (selected for) by the natural selection mechanism. I think I held this misapprehension for the longest time, in the same way I *still* think of the Sun orbiting around the earth when I have plenty of reason to believe it is the other way around.

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.

And what is the "hypothesis generator" in epigenetics? Is it stochastic or deterministic? (and what examples of epigenetics are you thinking of?) Is "plausable" the term you want, or is it more "utilitarian"?

  The randomness is largely notional.

I do think that "random" is a very loosey-goosey concept (like so many we call out on this list), but whether the variation is produced by random processes, pseudo-random processes, or merely processes with appropriately broad distribution functions,

I still think you guys are more captured by your model of evolution than by the actual facts of it.

I think we (collectively) are guilty of this all of the time, though in the spirit of "all models are wrong, some are useful" I'm not even sure I know what a "model-free" fact might be? Facts (to me) imply measurements (qualitative, quantitative) which imply a object of said measurement which in turn implies a model. There was a time, I believe when people felt they held "facts" about "the viscosity of the aether" and the "density of phlogiston". When those models were superseded, those "facts" took on entirely new implications and meaning.

- Steve

Nick

Nicholas S. Thompson

Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology

Clark University

http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/ <http://home.earthlink.net/%7Enickthompson/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
*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/>




            ============================================================

            FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv

            Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College

            to unsubscribehttp://redfish.com/mailman/listinfo/friam_redfish.com

            FRIAM-COMIChttp://friam-comic.blogspot.com/  by Dr. Strangelove





        ============================================================

        FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv

        Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College

        to unsubscribehttp://redfish.com/mailman/listinfo/friam_redfish.com

        FRIAM-COMIChttp://friam-comic.blogspot.com/  by Dr. Strangelove





    ============================================================

    FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv

    Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College

    to unsubscribehttp://redfish.com/mailman/listinfo/friam_redfish.com

    FRIAM-COMIChttp://friam-comic.blogspot.com/  by Dr. Strangelove



============================================================
FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv
Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
to unsubscribe http://redfish.com/mailman/listinfo/friam_redfish.com
FRIAM-COMIC http://friam-comic.blogspot.com/ by Dr. Strangelove

============================================================
FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv
Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
to unsubscribe http://redfish.com/mailman/listinfo/friam_redfish.com
FRIAM-COMIC http://friam-comic.blogspot.com/ by Dr. Strangelove

Reply via email to