From The First Gene, David Abel’s Chapter 2 Abstract, p. 19:

The Three Fundamental Categories of Reality

Contingency means that events could unfold in multiple ways in the midst of, and despite, cause-and-effect determinism. But there are two kinds of contingency: Chance and Choice/Selection. Chance and Necessity cannot explain a myriad of repeatedly observable phenomena. Sophisticated formal function invariably arises from choice contingency, not from chance contingency or law. Decision nodes, logic gates and configurable switch settings can theoretically be set randomly or by invariant law, but no nontrivial formal utility has ever been observed to arise as a result of either. Language, logic theory, mathematics, programming, computation, algorithmic optimization, and the scientific method itself all require purposeful choices at bona fide decision nodes. Unconstrained purposeful choices must be made in pursuit of any nontrivial potential function at the time each logic gate selection is made. Natural selection is always post-programming. Choice Contingency (Selection for potential (not yet existing) function, not just selection of the best already-existing function) must be included among the fundamental categories of reality along with Chance and Necessity.

Prezactly.

Semi OT:

I am reading that chapter too. Very interesting.

Some interesting ideas:

The definition of two different subsets of semiotic information: descriptive information and prescriptive information.

The concepts of choice contingency and choice determinism.

The concept of Material Symbol System.

And so on.

I believe that, as we go on in reading this book, we will need to discuss, and if necessary include, some of Abel’s ideas and definitions in our everyday debate. I am already trying to do that.