Re: Books on rationality

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jun 06 2002 - 19:43:57 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> You should read the book "Evolution without Selection" by A. Lima de Faria
> (who is not a scientific creationist).
> He makes a good case for the plausibility of the origin of species as a
> purely self-organization-driven phenomenon, with no fitness-based selection.

Speciation at least partially caused by genetic drift within isolated demes
is already a known phenomenon in evolutionary theory. Please bear in mind
that in modern culture - including modern scientific culture - there seem to
be an amazing number of people, including the late Stephen J. Gould, who
make their living attacking strawman versions of evolutionary theory.

> Wolfram, in the chapter on evolution in his recent book, makes a much weaker
> argument in the same direction.
> I tend to think Lima de Faria and Wolfram both overstate the case (and that
> both self-organization and natural selection play huge roles), BUT, Lima de
> Faria's careful analysis of evidence definitely contradicts your assertion
> that observed species and fossils bear a "unique design signature" of
> evolution. Self-organization would have about the same design signature,
> unlike Lamarckian evolution or intelligent design.

I am talking about design signatures such as a complex design necessarily
having an incremental pathway of useful intermediates leading up to it.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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