Re: Ethics (was FAI (aka 'Reality Hacking'))

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Mon Jan 31 2005 - 11:49:07 MST

--- Phil Goetz <> wrote:

> B) See Stephen Gould's book /Full House/. The
> entire book is a debunking of the idea that
> evolution causes systems to become more complex
> over time. Gould claims, with much data to back
> him up, that evolution is a random walk, and that
> there is no tendency for species to increase in
> complexity over time. The distribution of species
> complexity may grow wider over time, but that is
> only because there is a limiting "left-wall"
> minimal level of complexity below which a species
> cannot go. This makes species complexity a
> one-dimensional random walk with a left boundary.

Oops - I forgot that Gould specifically argues
that this argument may not apply to societies,
which may in fact tend to become more complex
over time. Although I don't buy his argument.
The conclusion may be right, but his claim that
the ability to transfer skills from person to
person via language throws all the rules of
random-walk evolution out the door doesn't make
sense to me. Communicating acquired skills just
changes evolution from Darwinian to Lamarckian,
but I don't know that it would change its

- Phil

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