• TheMadFool
    10k
    This has been repeated so often that I actually don't need to say it but I'll do it here anyway just in case not mentioning it might sidetrack the reader. What I'm referring to is how evolution is considered as a game of chance - random mutations being the engine that drives adaptation, a necessity if organisms are to survive in an environment that's mercurial.

    For my money, given the fact that the environment is dynamic in terms of factors that affect survival, the best "strategy" for life is precisely what it does with such dexterity - random mutation. Sheer numbers (fielding as many different life forms as possible) is a rather ingenious technique when one's up against a foe that fights no-holds-barred.

    Notice the word, "strategy" above vis-à-vis evolution. If anything, it implies that were there a being as intelligent as us behind the "creation" of life, that being (some call it god/creator) would do exactly what evolution does right now.

    In other words, and here's where it gets interesting, mindless evolution through random mutation is exactly what a mind which is as intelligent as us would do given the way things were, are, will probably be.

    Mind (creator) = Mindless (evolution). The Mind-No Mind Equivalency Paradox
  • j0e
    443
    In other words, and here's where it gets interesting, mindless evolution through random mutation is exactly what a mind which is as intelligent as us would do given the way things were, are, will probably be.TheMadFool

    That's a nice thought. Have you looked into GAs by chance? They can work when other methods don't.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    That's a nice thought. Have you looked into GAs by chance? They can work when other methods don't.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm
    j0e

    :ok:
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Notice the word, "strategy" above vis-à-vis evolution. If anything, it implies that were there a being as intelligent as us behind the "creation" of life, that being (some call it god/creator) would do exactly what evolution does right now.TheMadFool
    If I understand what you are implying, I must whole-heartedly agree. In my own theory of Creation via Evolution, our world has grown from a tiny fetus (Singularity) to the most complex system in the known universe, by implementing a simple algorithm : Chance + Choice = Progress. Random variations provide novelty from which the most adaptive forms are Naturally Selected to pass on into the next generation. That is indeed the "strategy" of the Genetic Algorithm.

    The very fact that the natural world is currently & automatically implementing such a concise algorithm implies the necessary existence of a Strategic Mind to invent the procedure (logical plan of action) and a set of rules (natural laws) that will progress toward a pre-defined ultimate goal (teleology). In light of modern Science, this kind of creation makes a lot more sense than the "let-there-be-light" method of Old Testament Creation. That wishing-makes-it-so method fits the ancient notion of God as a super-human Wizard wielding weird powers. But, the concept of G*D as a Programmer fits our modern understanding of how things get done in the real world.

    Lacking a direct divine revelation though, I must admit that I don't know what the implicit ultimate goal of ongoing creation is. But I can recognize the clear pattern of Cause - Effect Intention in the workings of Nature. And it seems to require ever-increasing Complexity & Consciousness. Several years ago, based such observations and inferences, I wrote a little essay to briefly introduce a thesis that I called Intelligent Evolution, to serve as an alternative to the then popular notion of Intelligent Design. The primary difference is that my notion of creation is an on-going billion year process, instead of an instant fait accompli (a done deal). So, I must agree that an intelligent designer wouldn't create a world as imperfect as ours, but might possibly create a world that could mature toward a more perfect state in the future. :cool:


    Strategic : relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

    Algorithm : An algorithm is a set of instructions designed to perform a specific task.

    Genetic Algorithm :
    A genetic algorithm is a search heuristic that is inspired by Charles Darwin's theory of natural evolution. This algorithm reflects the process of natural selection where the fittest individuals are selected for reproduction in order to produce offspring of the next generation.
    https://towardsdatascience.com/introduction-to-genetic-algorithms-including-example-code-e396e98d8bf3

    Evolutionary Programming :
    Special computer algorithms inspired by biological Natural Selection. It is similar to Genetic Programming in that it relies on internal competition between random alternative solutions to weed-out inferior results, and to pass-on superior answers to the next generation of algorithms. By means of such optimizing feedback loops, evolution is able to make progress toward the best possible solution – limited only by local restraints – to the original programmer’s goal or purpose. In Enformationism theory the Prime Programmer is portrayed as a creative deity, who uses bottom-up mechanisms, rather than top-down miracles, to produce a world with both freedom & determinism, order & meaning. ---https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_programming---
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page13.html

    Evolutionary (Genetic) Programming :
    The program does not specify the final outcome. But it does define a “fitness function”, which sets the criteria for acceptable solutions. With-out those limits, the process could go on indefinitely.
    We can see that natural evolution is circling around some future state, like a moth to a light. The ultimate-fitness-point functions like a Strange Attractor to “pull” the present toward that future state.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page13.html

    Intelligent Evolution : A 21st Century Creation Myth
    http://gnomon.enformationism.info/Essays/Intelligent%20Evolution%20Essay_Prego_120106.pdf
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    So, I must agree that an intelligent designer wouldn't create a world as imperfect as ours, but might possibly create a world that could mature toward a more perfect state in the future.Gnomon

    Transhumanist Theodicy

    where the fittest individuals are selected for reproduction in order to produce offspring of the next generation.Gnomon

    I changed my mind about the Darwinian apothegm, "survival of the fittest". You're in the know about how randomness is what evolution is all about - it's the lifeblood of evolution - and given the unpredictable nature of the environment to which organisms must adapt to, there's an element of chance involved. This means that those who survive major upheavals in the environment aren't actually the fittest life-forms around; it's just that a particular set of traits help them ride out the storm.

    To illustrate, sickle cell anemia is a dangerous genetic disroder that makes life painful and short i.e. it definitely isn't a physician's idea of physical fitness but the sickle cell trait is found in unusually high numbers in malaria-stricken regions of Africa where it confers a survival advantage to those who have the sickle cell gene (it makes malaria less lethal). This is a good example of evolution but it also casts doubt on whether evolution is really about survival of the "fittest." I prefer "survival of the luckiest", acknowledging the chance factor.

    In Enformationism theory the Prime Programmer is portrayed as a creative deity, who uses bottom-up mechanisms, rather than top-down miracles, to produce a world with both freedom & determinism, order & meaning.Gnomon

    :up:

    We can see that natural evolution is circling around some future state, like a moth to a light.Gnomon

    Well said!
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    So, I must agree that an intelligent designer wouldn't create a world as imperfect as ours, but might possibly create a world that could mature toward a more perfect state in the future. — Gnomon
    Transhumanist Theodicy
    TheMadFool
    Are you suggesting that humans can do what the bible-god couldn't : create a system that gradually evolves toward a more perfect world? I'm not a card-carrying Transhumanist, but I see evidence that evolution is progressing upward, and that the rate-of-progress accelerated after rational creatures emerged. Of course, the glitch in that rosy scenario is the resistance of irrational creatures to change. :nerd:

    Cosmic Progression Graph :
    http://bothandblog3.enformationism.info/page28.html

    This means that those who survive major upheavals in the environment aren't actually the fittest life-forms around; it's just that a particular set of traits help them ride out the storm.TheMadFool
    Yes. The traits that survive are the fittest available for the local conditions at that place & time. The apex dinosaurs had traits that were quite fit for their place & time, but the asteroid impact changed the conditions of the environment, and the rules of the fitness game. So little furry creatures -- and dinosaurs with feathers -- were more fit for the new milieu, than the old dominant species with cold blood and/or scaly skin. Was it just the luck of the draw, that creatures had already evolved with the necessary traits for the next phase of evolution? :chin:

    We can see that natural evolution is circling around some future state, like a moth to a light. — Gnomon
    Well said!
    TheMadFool
    That was a reference to the "Power of Absence" mentioned in the Anthropic Principle thread.
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/10941/anthropic-principle-meets-consciousness

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  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Natural selection, like other chaotic systems, is not random.

    "Survival of the fittest" applies to species broadly and population groups narrowly, and is never applicable to individuals. Re: eu-social neo-darwinism (i.e. Piotr Kropotkin + E.O. Wilson + Stephen Jay Gould/Richard Dawkins).

    An "anthropic principle" is a self-serving, self-flattering cognitive bias that anthropocentrically, and without sufficient warrant, violates the mediocrity principle.

    The OP's "paradox" is merely an artifact of inadequate, or false, premises.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Are you suggesting that humans can do what the bible-god couldn'tGnomon

    Not exactly. God achieves faer aims through humans, us. To cut to the chase, we are the means with which God achieves his ends - we're essentially tools for God with which, if all goes well, god can create paradise/heaven (transhumanism).

    Yes. The traits that survive are the fittest available for the local conditions at that place & time. The apex dinosaurs had traits that were quite fit for their place & time, but the asteroid impact changed the conditions of the environment, and the rules of the fitness game. So little furry creatures -- and dinosaurs with feathers -- were more fit for the new milieu, than the old dominant species with cold blood and/or scaly skin. Was it just the luck of the draw, that creatures had already evolved with the necessary traits for the next phase of evolution?Gnomon

    My thoughts exactly. By your logic, the definition of fit/unfit depends on the environment. If the sickle cell trait can be fit at one time in a certain region and unfit at another time, in a different location, fit/unfit are the wrong concepts to use since the same thing (here the sickle cell trait) can be both fit and unfit depending on time and place. This would cause unnecessary confusion. Thus my insistence that evolution should be viewed as "survival of the fittest luckiest".

    Natural selection, like other chaotic systems, is not random.180 Proof

    This is a myth. There are no discernible patterns in genetic mutation i.e. DNA events are random. If so, even if natrual selection is, in a way, a phenotypic pattern brought about by a constant selection pressure as exerted by a stable environment, the genotype phenomena that makes this possible is all chance.

    "Survival of the fittest" applies to species broadly and population groups narrowly, and is never applicable to individuals. Re: eu-social neo-darwinism (i.e. E.O. Wilson & Richard Dawkins).

    An "anthropic principle" is a self-serving, self-flattering cognitive bias that anthropocentrically, and without sufficient warrant, violates the mediocrity principle.

    The OP's "paradox" is merely an artifact of inadequate, or false, premises.
    180 Proof

    All I'm saying is if we believe we have intelligence, as evidenced by our ability to strategize, evolution too must be treated as a product of a mind since it too is a strategy, a good one at that. Either that or insist there's no mind behind evolution and concede the possibility that our minds could be an illusion.

    I don't see where the anthropic principle comes into play in my argument. I neither affirmed or denied that consciousness had to emerge in the universe.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    This is a myth. There are no discernible patterns in genetic mutation i.e. DNA events are random.TheMadFool
    This is ignorance. Random events are not repeatable, yet DNA is a discernible pattern of repeatable nucleic events.

    All I'm saying is if we believe we have intelligence, as evidenced by our ability to strategize, evolution too must be treated as a product of a mind since it too is a strategy, a good one at that.
    Hasty generalization. Cite evidence that evolution "strategizes" (i.e. is purposeful or has goals). Finalism aka "teleology" is demonstrably false and pseudo-scientific (like e.g "Intelligent Design"). And why do you (seemingly) equate "intelligence" with "mind"?

    Either that or insist there's no mind behind evolution and concede the possibility that our minds could be an illusion.
    There's no need to "concede" anything, Fool. False dichotomy. Another plausible (highly probable) option is, for instance, "no mind behind evolution" and our minds are products of natural selection (yet opaque to themselves since minds were evolved to adapt to external environments and N O T to the internal environment of brain-CNS) .
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    This is ignorance. Random events are not repeatable, yet DNA is a discernible pattern of repeatable nucleic events.180 Proof

    References? Somehow I don't believe you.

    Hasty generalization. Cite evidence that evolution "strategizes" (i.e. is purposeful or has goals). Finalism aka "teleology" is demonstrably false and pseudo-scientific (like e.g "Intelligent Design"). And why do you (seemingly) equate "intelligence" with "mind"?180 Proof

    Is random mutation not a good way to handle extremely variable environments if the purpose is to perpetuate life? I'm not making a teleological argument here. All I'm saying is random mutation is a very ingenious gameplan given how unpredictable the environment can be.

    Where have you found intelligence without a mind? :chin:

    There's no need to "concede" anything, Fool. False dichotomy. Another plausible (highly probable) option is, for instance, "no mind behind evolution" and our minds are products of natural selection (yet opaque to themselves since minds were evolved to adapt to external environments and N O T to the internal environment of brain-CNS) .180 Proof

    I fear you haven't understood me. I'm firmly behind you on the "no mind behind evolution" standpoint. However, imagine yourself as being given a world full of random chance events and then you're asked to come up with a good plan for life, the goal being life has to survive everything chance throws at it. If I were you, I'd design life to randomly mutate at the level of DNA if only because that's the only option I have so that, in essence, I introduce a wide variety of life-forms each with its own set of steengths and weaknesses so that even if not all make it, a few will. Mind (you and I, our intelligence/mind) = No Mind (behind evolution).
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Clearly, you don't have an adequate conception of 'random' (or randomness).

    Somehow I don't believe you.TheMadFool
    Big whup. "Somehow" is not grounds for doubting what I've said. "Your "references?"

    Where have you found intelligence without[/u] a mind? :chin:
    Beaver dams & beehives. Viruses & neural nets (e.g. AlphaGo Zero). DNA & cellular automata ...
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Clearly, you don't have an adequate conception of 'random' (or randomness).180 Proof

    Educate me! What is randomness to you? For me randomness is a state of a system consisting of a set of possibilities in which each is as likely as any other.

    Big whup. "Somehow" is not grounds for doubting what I've said. "Your "references?"180 Proof

    I don't doubt your erudition and powers of reasoning. It's just that while "to forgive is divine", "to err is human." You are human, no?

    Where have you found intelligence without[/u] a mind? :chin:
    Beaver dams & beehives. Viruses & neural nets (e.g. AlphaGo Zero). DNA & cellular automata ...
    180 Proof

    My question was a genuine inquiry i.e. I, at the moment I asked it I truly believed intelligence without a mind was not possible.

    As you correctly pointed out, intelligence sans mind is possible, not only that, it's actual and that takes us back to what I've been trying my best to convey - insofar as intelligence is concerned, one can't tell the difference between mind and no mind. In other words, that evolution displays intelligence, as inferred from the way it deals with the unpredictable nature of the environment (random mutation), could mean either that there's no mind behind it or that its the work of a mind. The latter possibility, by token of your own reasoning, can't be excluded.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Not exactly. God achieves faer aims through humans, us. To cut to the chase, we are the means with which God achieves his ends - we're essentially tools for God with which, if all goes well, god can create paradise/heaven (transhumanism).TheMadFool
    The main problem with my thesis of an intentionally created universe is this : why? And why leave us, the apex creatures, in the dark about where & why the world is evolving as it does. Toward what end?

    Ancient sages also pondered that question, and came up with a variety of solutions. As you noted, the fatalistic Greeks, among others, concluded that humans are slaves or "tools" of the gods, who do things the gods can't, or won't, do for themselves. So, it was common for those slaves to believe that they were doing "god's work", when they offered sacrifices of food, incense, and sometimes, human blood. They assumed that the gods needed those things, but without physical bodies, had to rely on semi-autonomous humans to do the actual laborious & messy work.

    But, today, that notion -- which ruled for thousands of years -- sounds like nonsense to those of us in a post-slavery society. So, another, more modern, theory has emerged. It assumes that G*D, or the gods, are trying to create a perfect race of robots. So, without giving explicit instructions, they nudge and prod their automatons via emotions or brain-probes to create better & better social systems and technologies : the better to serve their Matrix masters. Although I am aware that humans have very limited freewill, I don't like to think of myself as a robot, controlled by some sinister central command.

    So, my preferred scenario is similar to Teilhard deChardin's Omega Point theory. It assumes that God is reproducing him/herself. And the ultimate fate of the world is to become godlike ; perhaps, the son of God. Physicist & Cosmologist, Frank Tipler, believes that our illusory material world is actually composed of something like mathematical information (spirit), and concludes, like deChardin, that it is evolving toward a spiritual Singularity, directed by the mathematical laws of Nature. Some Transhumanists are less mathematically or spiritually-inclined, and assume that humans evolved by accident to the role of top ape, and are merely using their superior intellectual tools to create a technological Utopia -- no need for a higher power to intervene -- or to serve.

    To be clear, I don't take the Omega Point theory as gospel. It's simply serves as a modern allegory, to update or replace the outdated religious myths of the past. AFAIK, this hopeful narrative is not a revelation from G*D, but merely an imaginary construct of the human mind, as it grapples with the otherwise pointless situation we find ourselves "thrown into", as babes in the wood, a mysterious world without any direct divine supervision : Heideggar's "Thrownness". Myths of the past typically implied that the "truth" was revealed to some wise or pious person long ago. But, I think those prophets merely made-up hortatory stories to suit the times.

    However, for those who can believe, they gain a feeling of knowing the meaning of life, and the purpose of the world. That may be a Placebo Effect, but it seems to work quite well. Unfortunately, I have a problem with faith, so my belief is partial and provisional, pending more & better information, from which to fabricate a story that is a closer approximation to the Truth. :cool:

    Omega Point :
    Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, . . . ... "if this book is to be properly understood, it must be read not as a work on metaphysics, still less as a sort of theological essay, but purely and simply as a scientific treatise". . . . Teilhard's theory was a personal attempt in creating a new Christianity in which science and theology coexist. . . . When the earth reaches its Omega Point, everything that exists will become one with divinity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point

    Intelligent Evolution : a modern myth
    http://gnomon.enformationism.info/Essays/Intelligent%20Evolution%20Essay_Prego_120106.pdf
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Educate me!TheMadFool
    Stop being so lazy! That's what Google, wiki & SEP are for. Pro tip, Fool: search "random" "chance" "chaos" "natural selection" "intelligence" & "mind" so that you can correct or entirely rewrite your pseudo-whatever OP.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Stop being so lazy! That's what Google, wiki & SEP are for. Pro tip, Fool: search "random" "chance" "chaos" "natural selection" "intelligence" & "mind" so that you can correct or entirely rewrite your pseudo-whatever OP.180 Proof

    Are Mutations Random?

    The statement that mutations are random is both profoundly true and profoundly untrue at the same time. The true aspect of this statement stems from the fact that, to the best of our knowledge, the consequences of a mutation have no influence whatsoever on the probability that this mutation will or will not occur. In other words, mutations occur randomly with respect to whether their effects are useful. Thus, beneficial DNA changes do not happen more often simply because an organism could benefit from them. Moreover, even if an organism has acquired a beneficial mutation during its lifetime, the corresponding information will not flow back into the DNA in the organism's germline. This is a fundamental insight that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck got wrong and Charles Darwin got right.

    However, the idea that mutations are random can be regarded as untrue if one considers the fact that not all types of mutations occur with equal probability. Rather, some occur more frequently than others because they are favored by low-level biochemical reactions. These reactions are also the main reason why mutations are an inescapable property of any system that is capable of reproduction in the real world. Mutation rates are usually very low, and biological systems go to extraordinary lengths to keep them as low as possible, mostly because many mutational effects are harmful. Nonetheless, mutation rates never reach zero, even despite both low-level protective mechanisms, like DNA repair or proofreading during DNA replication, and high-level mechanisms, like melanin deposition in skin cells to reduce radiation damage. Beyond a certain point, avoiding mutation simply becomes too costly to cells. Thus, mutation will always be present as a powerful force in evolution.
    — www.nature.com

    Nature

    As you can see, there's no recognizable pattern in mutations that are either beneficial/harmful to an organism in the sense beneficial mutations aren't favored over harmful ones - both are equiprobable. Put differently, that aspect of genetic mutation that matters to this discussion (good/bad for the organism) mutations do occur randomly.

    That part where the excerpt above refers to nonrandom genetic mutations can be safely ignored as it's basically talking about certain segments of the genome where mutations are more/less frequent. Though such regions in the genome do exist, as pointed out above, whether the mutations in them favor/disfavor the organism is, I'm afraid, random and that's what matters if survival is the main concern, no?

    As for the issue of intelligence and mind, you said that the relationship between the two isn't one of necessity - we've successfuly separated the two as in AI (intelligence sans a mind). Evolution is intelligent but, as you so kindly pointed out, that doesn't warrant us to infer a mind at the helm of evolution. FYI, that isn't my aim at all. If there's any conclusion to be drawn from the OP it's that given something (here evolution) displays intelligence, it can't be determined whether there is/there isn't a mind that had a hand in its development. Thus mind - no mind equivalency.

    Think about it. Imagine yourself interacting with something hidden from you by a curtain. It seems intelligent. Can you tell, based solely on that information (intelligence), whether what's behind the curtain is a mindless AI or an actual human who has a mind? No, of course not. Hence, mind - no mind equivalence. Put simply, evolution, if only with respect to intelligence, passes the Turing test with flying colors. I rest my case.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    I rest my case.TheMadFool
    :rofl:
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    The main problem with my thesis of an intentionally created universe is this : why? And why leave us, the apex creatures, in the dark about where & why the world is evolving as it does. Toward what end?Gnomon

    Maybe our creator is a die-hard fan of detective novels who wants us to figure it all out on our own. He must've left clues all over the place, not just on earth but throughout the universe, and we have to find them, piece them together and hey, presto!, a coherent story may emerge that'll not only prove God's existence but also give us his location. :joke:

    Ancient sages also pondered that question, and came up with a variety of solutions. As you noted, the fatalistic Greeks, among others, concluded that humans are slaves or "tools" of the gods, who do things the gods can't, or won't, do for themselves. So, it was common for those slaves to believe that they were doing "god's work", when they offered sacrifices of food, incense, and sometimes, human blood. They assumed that the gods needed those things, but without physical bodies, had to rely on semi-autonomous humans to do the actual laborious & messy work.Gnomon

    Sounds ugly! Slavery ain't something one aspires too but oddly, this entire story of the search for some kind of transcendental purpose/meaning, divinely bestowed as it were, is nothing but slave mentality of, quite literally, cosmic proportions. I suppose the fact that religious folks talk of serving God is a big clue in this regard.

    Omega PointGnomon

    Indeed, if the Omega Point becomes a reality, all that would be missing would be Jesus and if a clever person or a group of highly intelligent people play their cards right, they might just manage to pull off a convincing Jesus impression. Everything would fall into place and Christianity would be, even if fraudulently, vindicated as the one true faith.

    I rest my case.
    — TheMadFool
    :rofl:
    180 Proof

    :smile: Laughing, ok! Laughing all the way to the bank, better!
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Another plausible (highly probable) option is, for instance, "no mind behind evolution" and our minds are products of natural selection180 Proof
    So who makes the "selection" -- mindless Nature?

    A Selection is a voluntary Choice between alternatives, based on a value system. The "no mind behind evolution" assertion seems to imply that the "Selection" is just as random as the mutations. But Darwin used that term with domestic animal breeding in mind. And the breeder had a future goal in mind, which was targeted by his personal value system. So, you will have to come up with a different mechanism than Darwinism, if you want to eliminate the Mind behind the Selection. :smile:

    To Select : carefully choose as being the best or most suitable.

    PS__Accidental "sifting", as in the orderly arrangement of rocks after a flood, may not appear to be a "selection". Yet, like a fish net, the weave is deliberately sized according to the preferred size of the catch. The rocks & fish vary in size, and are selected or rejected based on their inherent characteristics, but in accordance with the pre-determined criteria.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    As for the issue of intelligence and mind, you said that the relationship between the two isn't one of necessity - we've successfuly separated the two as in AI (intelligence sans a mind).TheMadFool
    That is a common short-hand assumption, but it simply ignores the "artificial" in Artificial Intelligence. The artist, whose intelligence is imparted to the program, is the Programmer, who is seldom sans mind. And his intelligence is a product of eons of natural selection going back to the original Programmer of Nature. :smile:

    Artificial : made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally,
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    That is a common short-hand assumption, but it simply ignores the "artificial" in Artificial Intelligence. The artist, whose intelligence is imparted to the program, is the Programmer, who is seldom sans mind. And his intelligence is a product of eons of natural selection going back to the original Programmer of Nature. :smile:

    Artificial : made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally,
    Gnomon

    Thanks for alerting me to that. Completely missed it. So, yes, we have mindless AI, at least rudimentary versions of it and let's not forget the chess grandmasters who lost to them, but they were created by humans with minds. :up:
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    So who makes the "selection" -- mindless Nature?Gnomon
    Natural selection.

    Laughing, okTheMadFool
    :cry:
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Laughing, ok
    — TheMadFool
    :cry:
    180 Proof

    :grin:
  • Banno
    12.7k
    Natural selection, like other chaotic systems, is not random.180 Proof

    This is a myth.TheMadFool

    Why is this simple fact about evolution so difficult for some folk?

    It's as if, given that the Irish Lottery is decided at random, MadFool were to conclude that the entire institution of the National Lottery must have come about by chance. Web page and all.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    "Random" (like mystery) = "god did it" in the back of most thick skulls. TMF just refuses to learn how the concept is used (and differs from "chance", etc) in mathematics, computational & information theories or in the sciences more broadly. An almost religious incorrigibility.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Why is this simple fact about evolution so difficult for some folk?

    It's as if, given that the Irish Lottery is decided at random, MadFool were to conclude that the entire institution of the National Lottery must have come about by chance. Web page and all.
    Banno

    Random" (like mystery) = "god did it" in the back of most thick skulls. TMF just refuses to learn how the concept is used (and differs from "chance", etc) in mathematics, computational & information theories or in the sciences more broadly. An almost religious incorrigibility.180 Proof

    If evolution isn't inherently random, we must conclude that evolution is teleological. Pray tell, what is the ultimate goal of evolution? Now, don't respond with "the perpetuation of life" because given the unpredictable circumstances in re selection pressure, the best way to do that would be randomness but you explicitly deny that's the case.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    If evolution isn't inherently random, we must conclude that evolution is teleological.TheMadFool

    Why?
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Why?Banno

    Simple. Imagine you meet an alien from another planet. This alien's behavior isn't random i.e. given a set of possibilities, some are preferred over others in a demonstrably consistent manner. This pattern of preferences will ultimately lead to a specific endpoint and this endpoint is what teleology is all about. If the alien behaves in a random fashion each and every possible endpoint is possible i.e. the alien's teleologically neutral.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    ...preferred...TheMadFool

    Put some dirt in a jar. of water. Shake it. The smaller particles will move to the top, the larger to the bottom.

    The particles move in a "...demonstrably consistent manner. This pattern of preferences will ultimately lead to a specific endpoint and this endpoint is what teleology is all about."

    On your argument, the particles in the jar have a purpose.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Put some dirt in a jar. of water. Shake it. The smaller particles will move to the top, the larger to the bottom.

    The particles move in a "...demonstrably consistent manner. This pattern of preferences will ultimately lead to a specific endpoint and this endpoint is what teleology is all about."

    On your argument, the particles in the jar have a purpose.
    Banno

    While I hesitate to say that's correct, I'm fairly confident that's not wrong.

    Consider for the moment a normal person's behavior. Does a person not have an end in mind and doesn't that end manifest in faer actions as preferences, favoring one course of action over others, and is this not mathematically represented as non-random choices given that more than one exists and are offered.

    Compare the above with your dirt in a jar. Assuredly, the behavior of the particles of various sizes, at least with respect to the layers that form, is non-random.

    What should we make of this?

    Simple. Confining our analysis to only the non-random nature of a person's teleological behavior and the non-random quality of the dirt particles, we can't tell these two apart at all. Are we not then warranted to infer teleology in the dirt particles? After all, both a person and the dirt particles are non-random.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    Are we not then warranted to infer teleology in the dirt particles?TheMadFool

    Ok, you go for it. Dirt particles settle in a fluid how they want to.

    If that's what you need in order to make your philosophy work, you are too far up the garden path for conversation.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Conclude whatever you like, Fool, I need extraordinary evidence in order to accept as true the extraordinary claim of "teleology" in evolution (i.e. "intelligent design").
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