Re: [asa] Nudging Evolution

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Mon Sep 14 2009 - 18:08:16 EDT

Hi Bill,

“I don't really think this is much different from what we all thought of
front loading without "nudging." Can you be more specific?”

Very good. So we are all clear that front-loading is not about determinism.
It’s not about endowing a single-celled organism with all the genes for
tigers, roses, and butterflies because natural processes cannot create those
genes. It’s about setting up a ‘choice architecture’ that would function to
nudge evolution into one trajectory vs. another. So the next place to get
specific is to focus on the very things I have been focused on for years –
where are the nudges? It would be best to begin modestly, so we might
imagine where we might find the nudges inside a unicellular cell plan that
would preadapt life such that multicellular life would be likely to emerge.


----- Original Message -----
From: "wjp" <>
To: "Nucacids" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2009 11:58 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Nudging Evolution

> Mike:
> As I understand your suggestion, we must consider conditional
> probabilities. So that P(E|C1) may be much greater than P(E|C2).
> Establishing a condition C1 would be considered a nudge, in that it moves
> one closer to a given outcome relative to another, or perhaps to all other
> possible conditions at the time.
> Since we are speaking here, not, as I understand it, of continual or
> frequent interventions by God, but of a front loading, where it seems that
> God only gets one chance, then what nudging appears to entail is that God
> established initial conditions such that certain events are more likely,
> if not much more likely, than others. In this way, e.g., we can say that
> God nudged the universe toward life, and even man.
> I don't really think this is much different from what we all thought of
> front loading without "nudging." Can you be more specific?
> Thanks,
> bill
> On Sun, 13 Sep 2009 20:21:06 -0400, "Nucacids" <>
> wrote:
>> As I have been arguing for the hypothesis of front-loading evolution over
>> the years, not too long ago, it has occurred to me that the term
>> "front-load" has the ability to mislead people into thinking I have
>> argued
>> that evolution is a deterministic process, such that everything we
>> currently see around us was programmed to be as it is as a consequence of
>> the originally front-loaded state. This misperception then causes people
>> to think front-loading is an old, discredited view of evolution. But
>> that
>> is not the case.
>> To demonstrate this, I have just run across a design approach that is
>> very, very similar to the approach I talk about and have labeled as
>> "front-loading." It's a social engineering approach that is becoming
>> increasingly popular known as "nudging."
>> I outline some of the similarities between nudging human behavior and
>> front-loading evolution here:
>> Mike


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Received on Mon Sep 14 18:09:06 2009

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