Re: Singularity awareness

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Jun 04 2006 - 10:59:01 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> In evolutionary biology more generally, if you look at books like
> Augros and Stanciu's "The New Biology" (not such a new book anymore)
> or A. Lima de Faria's "Evolution Without Selection" (he overstates his
> case, but still has some good points), not to mention some of Stephen
> Jay Gould's writings, you will find plenty of strong arguments for the
> role of self-organization and emergence in evolution.

I haven't heard of any of these people except Stephen Jay Gould, but I
definitely know that Gould is not respected in mainstream evolutionary
biology. To quote John Maynard Smith - a *very* eminent and respected
mainstream biologist - evolutionary biologists tend to see Gould "as a
man whose ideas are so confused as to hardly be worth bothering with,
but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least
on our side against the creationists". Having looked over some of
Gould's ramblings, I concur with the first half of this statement.

The "narrow" viewpoint of "selection-focused" evolutionary biology is,
as far as I know, mainstream science. Non-mainstream evolutionary
theories regularly decry the focus on selection rather than their own
favorite hypothetical forces - but it is well to remember that they are
not mainstream.

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

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