Re: Web Page Nonlinear dynamics
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 05:40:06 -0500 (EST)


You wrote on Feb. 21, "I understand what you are saying, but I see no
difference between what my program does and what natural selection does. The
goal does not select anything."

Right. The goal does not select anything. It does, however, set the
standard of what will be selected. It is the selection criterion It is a
distant standard, one toward which selection works. You as a human being
outside the system set the goal. You programmed it so the forms could be
selected that approximated the goal. That's what makes the selection
artificial. Natural selection, however, has no such distant goal or
standard. It selects only the phenotypes that can survive in the immediate,
here-and-now environment, with no thought to something out there in the

You wrote, "Who chooses the goal is irrelevant. The Ebola virus is about to
choose a goal for mankind that it is good to have immunity to it."

Wrong. Who chooses the goal is the crux of the matter. When humans choose a
goal for a system to attain they are doing so *intentionally* with a purpose
in mind. That's artifical selection. That's what you so with your computer
program. You are playing with words when you say, "Ebola virus is about to
*choose* a goal for mankind." There is no intentionality or purpose in what
a virus does.

You wrote, "And yes, adaptability is compared to the distant goal of this
immunity." Where did this statement come from? I'd like to see a reference
for it if you have one. Adaptability is compared to the *immediate*
standard of survivabilty in the *immediate* environment, not some distant
goal of human immunity.

You wrote, "I fail to see how you remove the "goal" from natural selection.
An animal that lives in the desert has the "goal" of an ability to retain
water, to recycle their water, and to survive body temperature rises."
Right. I do not remove the goal in natural selection. The goal is
immediate, moment-by-moment, day-by-day survival and adaptation to the
environment. The environment selects those animals whose mutations in their
DNA program them to retain their water, etc. Those who do this best survive.

You continued, "I understand what you are saying, but I see no difference
between what my program does and what natural selection does. The goal does
not select anything. The selection inside the program is fitness to the
local environment. The program can never find the best fit to the form among
all genomes. Only the local form is used in the selection because the
program does not know the global form."

I feel like I'm repeating myself, so why don't we call a halt to this

Finally, you commented, "Is it deistic to believe that God created the laws
of Gravitation and lets those laws now govern the movement of the planets?
Or must a theist believe
that god Himself pushes the planets in a circle? God created the pathways in
the phase space of the genomes and this represents a considerable amount of
control on what will happen." George Murphy answered your question in his
post of Feb. 21.

It was good exchanging views with you, Glenn. I enjoyed the exchanges. I'm
ready to go on to something else. How about you? If, however, you wish to
respond to what I wrote, feel free.

Peace and good will,