Jenny mentioned Arrival of the Fittest. I will condense a set of
notes that I am sending Jenny about the book and will post the
condensed version to the list. I think it could resolve a lot of this
'random' issue.

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017, at 12:18 PM, Nick Thompson wrote:
> Steve,


> Thanks for staying with me on this. 


> To be honest, I have never encountered anybody who believed that
> natural selection alone is capable of producing evolution, unless it
> was somebody who includes some variation-generating mechanism within
> the notion of natural selection.  I have encountered people who think
> that natural selection is not NECESSARY to evolution, attributing most
> change to random walks of various sorts.   I have never understood
> those folks, but they have had their day.>  

> The heresy I am trying to expunge is that in which evolution is
> understood as “a delta-q in the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium”, which
> amounts to saying, natural selects whatever nature selects and
> whatever nature selects is evolution.  Darwin would have been baffled
> by such a formulation.>  

> Nick


> Nicholas S. Thompson

> Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology

> Clark University



> *From:* Friam [] *On Behalf Of *Steven
> A Smith *Sent:* Friday, August 11, 2017 1:56 PM *To:* The Friday
> Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group <> *Subject:*
> Re: [FRIAM] random v stochastic v indeterminate>  

> Nick -

>> I am very glad to note that you are recovering and your scrappiness
>> is properly returning!>> **[NST==>The best cardio rehab is for you-guys to 
>> keep annoying me.
>> Thanks for that. <==nst]**> You might check with your cardiologist on this 
>> one, I'm not sure a
> rise in BP is the same as exercise-stimulated increased heart rate,
> but in any case, I'm glad we can be of service!>> 
>> 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.>> **[NST==>Wait a minute!  What is the 
>> misapprehension of which you
>> speak?   Can you put it explicitly. **> The misapprehension of which I speak 
>> is that natural selection *alone*
> gives rise to innovation.  Without mutation, all that is achieved by
> natural selection is a reduction of diversity in the
> genotype/phenotype toward some "optimum" for the selection criteria,
> or more likely a "wandering" around geno/pheno space as the selection
> pressures "wander".   I believe that this is the mechanism behind what
> is known as "island dwarfism".   There is no *innovation*, merely
> selection for a feature within the phenotypic distribution (body size)
> already in the population.
> I was NOT suggesting that YOU hold this misapprehension, just chiming
> in on the point made by Jenny with her original quote.>> **And, when you say 
> that mutations are “random”, what precisely do
>> you mean.**> I don't know that *I* have said that mutations are "random".    
>> I
> agree that "random" is notional.  But I think of a signal as being
> "random" if the receiver has no model to correlate it's structure.   A
> highly organized but encrypted message is "random" if you don't have
> the key to decode it.   Cosmic radiation knocking holes in your genome
> is "random" for all practical purposes, even if it is highly
> correlated with solar and magnetosphere activity.>> **  Unpredictable?  
> Clearly false.  We know quite a lot, I think,
>> about where DNA is vulnerable, and where mutations are likely to
>> occur. **> A "random" selection can still have a statistical distribution.   
>> When
> rolling pairs of dice, there is only one way to get a value of 2,
> (both dies == 1), 2 ways to get a value of 3 (1,2 and 2,1) and 3 ways
> to get a value of 4 (1,3 and 3,1 and 2,2), etc.   this distribution is
> defined by simple combinatorics, but any given sample is still
> "random".   Referencing above, in principle every specific set of dice
> are less than perfect and every dice-thrower might have some
> "handedness" which *might* lend a tiny bias to the distribution (e.g.
> LOADED dice).   The resulting sequences are still random, just biased
> in an unexpected way.   Flipping a coin is the same (unless it is two-
> headed of course!).
> I don't think that the DNA (or intermediate RNA?) is more vulnerable
> in some regions (or among some sequences) than others to say, "cosmic
> radiation" but I will accept that perhaps when the many potential
> causes of mutation and the various mechanism for detection/repair are
> taken into account, some parts of the sequence are more susceptible to
> "effective" mutation?   And of course, at the phenotypic level, what
> is "effective" is what the natural selection component is all about.
> I will pause beating this horse for a moment but will try to respond
> to the remainder of your response separately (perhaps even completing
> the thought you thought I failed to complete?)
> - Steve> ============================================================
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