Re: Web Page Nonlinear dynamics

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 13:02:17 -0600

At 05:40 AM 2/23/97, wrote:
>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.

Who or how the goal is chosen does not make a difference in the mechanics of
selection. Surely all the thousands of people involved in the selection of
great milk cows, did not get together and consciously decide that they would
all chose the same traits.

Is the apparently future need for plants and animals to be able to survive
on a hotter planet earth an intentionally chosen goal or is it natural
selection? As mankind pours CO2 into the atmosphere, the animals and plants
will have to adjust to new environmental conditions. Originally, in the 17th
century when the industrial revolution began and coal began to be burned in
prodigious quantities, no one PURPOSED to alter the temperature of the
earth. But this activity did increase the temperature. In the 17th century,
the earth was at the end of the Little Ice Age. The earth was cold.
Glaciers in Switzerland were overrunning towns which had been occupied for
4,000 years.(see G.H.Denton and S.C. Porter, "Neoglaciation", Scientific
American, June 1970, circa p. 102-103) Some of these villages were still
covered in 1970. This article has a picture of a glacier on the verge of
overtaking a town in 1850 and a photo of the same site today. You can't see
the glacier.

The reason I raise this, it to ask: Is the heating of the earth an example
of natural or artificial selection? And why does purpose really make any
difference to the mechanics of selection? How do you measure the quantity
of Purpose in choosing a goal and how much purpose turns natural selection
into artificial selection?

Men had a goal (purpose) of a better life but it changed the temperature of
the planet. Animals must now adapt to a "goal" that was inadvertently chosen
for them. But it was purposeful.


Foundation, Fall and Flood