How evolution works

Malcolm McMahon cuhes at csv.warwick.ac.uk
Mon Jun 27 04:06:49 EST 1994


In article <2ukgc6$1sh at nwfocus.wa.com>,
	venezia at zgi.com (Domenick Venezia) writes:
>
>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.  
>

Well, to some extent we're arguing semantics and perhaps common usage would
associate "purpose" only with conscious entities like animals. But although
I don't ascribe consciousness to Gaea or to evolution (though I wouldn't rule
it out) certainly I thing any problem solving system can fairly be described
as "goal seeking" and when such systems are highly complex they are more
usefully analysed in those terms. To attempt to analys evolutionary process
in purely mechanistic terms seems to me rather like trying to understand
creative writing in terms of neurophysics.

Malcolm




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