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Evolution recast as “survival of the friendliest”

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From Jag Bhalla at BigThink:

1. Life’s games are not all “red in tooth and claw” fights. And you need no brain to see that a “war of all against all” might not be the best way. Even single-celled bacteria “know” that.

Stop, wait. Single-celled bacteria do not “know” anything and never will. The reason that they do not behave according to the survival of the fittest is that because the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong. Better theory can explain how they behave co-operatively without attributing minds to them.

To “know”what is going on in Bhalla’s sense is to have a mind like a human being.

2. In “Survival of the Friendliest” Kelly Clancy describes the evolutionary logic of relationships beyond rivalry (e.g, “friendships” deep enough to defend common interests, sometimes a “snuggle for survival”).

3. For instance, ~98% of bacterial species don’t thrive outside mixed-species colonies.More.

It is not even clear that the Darwin-dependent concept of “species” is useful in describing bacteria. Getting past that may shed light on some key questions. It is a good thing that Bhalla is raising these issues.

See also: Nothing says “Darwin snob” like indifference to the mess that the entire concept of speciation is in

and

Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?

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13 Replies to “Evolution recast as “survival of the friendliest”

  1. 1
    goodusername says:

    What is “the Darwin-dependent concept of ‘species'”?

  2. 2
    gpuccio says:

    News:

    “This is a case of what Daniel Dennett calls “free-floating rationales” ”

    “Evolution is itself a free-floating logic pattern”

    “enacting “competence without comprehension” ”

    “Evolution creates code-like “algorithms in motion” (Vikram Chandra). Logic that changes the world.”

    “Evolution’s logic is like geometry’s”

    “Unnamed natural laws (free-floating patterns) likely constrain evolution (imposing kinetic logic limits like: negative telos, Turing-inspired universal survivor, cooperation-preserving Golden Punishment Rule, and needism).”

    Wow! And I thought I had seen it all!

    Darwinists are even better than I expected… 🙂

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,

    One thing that has impressed me about the Darwinian folks is their prolific imagination.

    They could be bestselling authors in a blink.

    🙂

  4. 4
    Origenes says:

    What is this ‘will to survive’ that drives evolution? What is its physical composition? And what exactly is it that survives? Are fermions and bosons surviving? If not, what is it that wants to survive? The ‘selfish gene’ perhaps?

  5. 5

    “Nothing says ‘Darwin snob’ like indifference to the mess that the entire concept of speciation is in.”

    Nothing but the truth, my friend. Well said.

  6. 6
    LocalMinimum says:

    “free-floating rationales”: logic patterns that are inherent in situations but aren’t contained in (or “known” to) the elements or players involved (they’re free-floating, distributed, relational, systemic).

    An emergent system, perhaps?

    11. Evolution is itself a free-floating logic pattern (for discovering other, ever more effective logic patterns, and enacting “competence without comprehension”).

    13. Evolution creates code-like “algorithms in motion” (Vikram Chandra). Logic that changes the world.

    Evolution is self-hosting, self-editing, software building software. Noted.

    12. Evolution’s logic is like geometry’s: in both relevant patterns and results arise from the intrinsic logic of the elements involved. In geometry, it’s lines, planes, etc. In evolution it’s kinetic functions like survival, varying replication, and adaptation.

    Kinetic functions like survival, varying replication, and adaptation can be reduced to precise definitions which can be used to derive the mathematical theorems that comprise evolution. Excellent!

    Interesting proposal. Very ambitious! I eagerly await the white paper.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Stop, wait. Single-celled bacteria do not “know” anything and never will.

    As far as we can tell, that’s true. Neither is there any need for them to “know” anything for evolution to occur.

    The reason that they do not behave according to the survival of the fittest is that because the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong.

    The Darwinian theory of natural selection or “survival of the fittest” is good, as far as it goes, but it is no longer regarded as the whole story.

    And this bears repetition, evolution does not require that species behave in any special way or deliberately modify their behavior to abide by any law. All that is required is that they be the subject of occasional genetic mutations which are completely random with respect to any future advantage or disadvantage. Occasionally, however, one of those mutations will actually prove to be beneficial in a given environmental context and the lucky recipient and its descendants will prosper in terms of survival and reproductive success compared to its less fortunate competitors. Basically, that is all that is required for adaptive evolution.

  8. 8
    Origenes says:

    Seversky: All that is required is that they be the subject of occasional genetic mutations which are completely random with respect to any future advantage or disadvantage. Occasionally, however, one of those mutations will actually prove to be beneficial in a given environmental context and the lucky recipient and its descendants will prosper in terms of survival and reproductive success compared to its less fortunate competitors.

    How is this narrative any different than this one:

    Suppose a DVD copy machine which produces a few random copy-errors every time it makes a copy. Suppose this machine makes 10 copies of a newly purchased functional Windows 7 DVD. Now remove the original DVD and repeat the imperfect copy process starting with functional second generation “mutated” copies (dysfunctional copies are removed from the process after testing). Next remove all second generation copies and repeat the copy process starting with functional third generation mutated copies. And so forth.

    Who of us would expect that this imperfect copy process to be anything other than the degeneration of Windows 7 eventually leading to mutated copies which are, without exception, dysfunctional? Who of us expects versions of Windows 7 with improved functionality?

    One may say that a DVD with copy errors does not want to be functional, and indeed it really doesn’t care whether it is functional or not. But what exactly is the difference with an organism under materialism? Similar to a DVD who does not want to be functional, the organism does not want to live. The fermions and bosons that are the organism don’t give a hoot about life.

  9. 9
    groovamos says:

    seversky: The Darwinian theory of natural selection or “survival of the fittest” is good, as far as it goes,

    So how far does it go? I mean if we are talking science here, surely (hee hee) “far” can be quantified right? So how far?

    Oh by the way where did the Great and Stylish scientist Darwin explain how come the fit and the fitter were not good enough for “survival” even if they were somehow extant in a sense? (otherwise how did they get excluded from the winners circle). But hold on- the “fittest” – now supposedly that’s a whole new class — the requirement, even the definition of “survival” according to the precise thinking of you guys? Really? I’m seriously in need of some brilliant edification here on this precision science of Darwinism that you guys worship.

  10. 10

    LocalMinimum @ 6: Brilliant!

  11. 11
    Eric Anderson says:

    Seversky, groovamos:

    seversky: The Darwinian theory of natural selection or “survival of the fittest” is good, as far as it goes,

    So how far does it go? I mean if we are talking science here, surely (hee hee) “far” can be quantified right? So how far?

    We have a pretty good understanding of how far it goes. It is pretty clear from the evidence that has accumulated over decades of research, billions of dollars spent, and thousands of researcher hours. And it is fully corroborated by the math.

    This is how far it goes:

    If we have the resources of a massive population size, under significant selection pressure, we can expect the Darwinian mechanism to be capable of perhaps two coordinated mutation events within the population over a reasonable period of time.

    If you have the resources of every organism that has ever lived throughout the history of the Earth you might, perhaps, if you are lucky, get three coordinated mutation events at some rare point along the line.

    That’s it. That is the edge — the extent — of what Darwinian evolution can do.

  12. 12
    groovamos says:

    E. A. , you use the term ‘coordinated’ where I would use ‘correlated’ or maybe ‘statistically interdependent’.

  13. 13
    Eric Anderson says:

    groovamos, thanks.

    I’m open to tweaking terms a bit here and there.

    I’m not sure the word “correlated” is quite sufficient, as there can be lots of correlations, even spurious ones, if we look for them in a large data set, such as genomic data. The old “correlation is not causation” problem . . .

    Also, there has to be more than just a statistical relationship, as those can exist everywhere (and, technically, we could define a statistical relationship — of some sort — between any two events, whether or not there is a practical real-world relationship).

    —–

    Brainstorming here a bit . . .

    There has to be some kind of functional tie between the two mutation events. Meaning, that together they lead to a new function, and without either one of which function would not arise.

    Maybe we could say “functionally correlated” or “functionally interdependent” or something like that?

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