Malcolm McMahon at University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
>Those wretched behaviourists have certainly created quite a climate of
>"political correctness" haven't they where scientists are so embarrassed
>to talk about things like purpose? No, evolution does not "thrash about
>blindly" while reason goes straight to the answer. Both search solution
>spaces feeling for "warm" and "cold" paths.
Wait a minute. Are you saying evolution is goal oriented? That it has
some target in mind? I understand that natural selection could be
considered a monte carlo search of a space with local minima (is there
a global minima?) with a fitness function of, well, fitness, but to
ascribe a purposefullness to this search smacks to me of theology.
Also I don't think I said "reason goes straight to the answer". Mine
certainly doesn't - I do a helluva lot of thrashing. And what does that
have to do with the discussion anyway? Did I miss some posts?
And finally I'm not afraid to speak of things like purpose. I believe
that little yeasties and other critters have the personal purpose of
survival and reproduction and that their behaviors can be interpreted
thusly. But I don't think that reactants in a chemical reaction have
any personal purpose. Viruses on the otherhand are a bit stickier. They
look to me like a combination of anima and inanima - but I digress. I
will not believe in a Gaia-like theology of "purpose" to large diffuse
systems like evolution until I see some evidence. Belief without evidence
is at best wishfull thinking, and at worst, religion.
venezia at zgi.com