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Unread August 4th, 2006, 11:48 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Selling Evolution

Carey: Good luck with your future exploits, Fred.
I’d not be too cynical Carey. (And BTW, good luck in your future exploits too). I think that we can both find at least some consolation in that in this discussion we’ve managed to more or less agree that “natural selection” can select only from what is already available; and that what is available, the so-called mutations, aren’t necessarily intrinsically “random,” but rather just seem to be unpredictable, at least currently by us humans based on our current knowledge. And additionally when you wrote, “a quick glance at the adaptive complexity of any biological entity, or the complexity of other non-biological phenomena (earth or non-earth-bound), pretty conclusively reveals that,” such things could not be the result of random or effectively random things, I am certainly inclined to agree.

So there are various things that we’ve more or less managed agree on, while our primary disagreement seems to boil down to the to ultimate circularity in the notion of Darwinian top-down “natural selection” and that such a notion ultimately doesn’t really explain or predict all that much—I think that that is a very significant factor in evaluating the validity/usefulness of “natural selection” as being a legitimate force/theory/whatever; whereas you, as you’ve stated, indicate that the “apparent circularity just isn't important at all.” (And I’d bet my left testicle that, assuming you live a full life, you’ll eventually agree with me that Darwinian top-down natural selection, as it is currently “explained”/“understood,” is indeed merely a circular notion that ultimately doesn’t really explain or predict all that much.)

Nevertheless, be that as it may, our discussion/debate, I think, was actually reasonably honest and rigorous and I think we both were reasonably consistent in how we see and explained things; certainly more so than in how Tom and MM tend to behave in their various ramblings, and certainly we weren’t so unnecessarily longwinded as Alex tends to be in some of her posts.

And finally, where one stands on these issues seems to depend on how one sees the big picture. Some of us sees things as Roger Penrose—the eminently qualified Oxford mathematician and physicist, who recently also wrote The Road to Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, 2005, “the most complete mathematical explanation of the universe yet published”—sees things: "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance." While the rest see things primarily as being random and/or “effectively random”; or perhaps blindly, mindlessly, algorithmically deterministic (essentially effectively random), as Tom claims to see things.

Everyone here should consider buying Penrose’s book—it is undoubtedly the best book on physics and a mathematical explanation of the universe ever written.
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