"optimization process"

From: Damien Broderick (thespike@satx.rr.com)
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 14:10:17 MDT

At 03:07 PM 6/3/2004 -0400, randallsquared wrote:

>Using the term "optimization process"
>doesn't predispose one's reader to imagine himself as the
>intelligence, or otherwise anthropomorphize it. In that sense,
>I think it's a far better term.

The downside is that it predisposes people to imagine some immense complex
re-entrant system as a relentlessly univocal monologist vulnerable to
flinging itself into a single appalling attractor. Like natural
selection--except that, weirdly enough, brains and memes generated via
natural selection prove to be eerily interested in all kinds of activities
(eating for pleasure, thinking, communicating with each other, writing on
email lists) that are [at least apparently] shockingly wasteful in terms of
reproducing genes. Sometimes they even set goals that *evade* passing on
genes, and yet their effects can persist by other means that are not
optimizations of anything local alleles have a stake in.

Damien Broderick
[speaking for One True and True Knowledge]

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