Re: Two draft papers: AI and existential risk; heuristics and biases.

From: John K Clark (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2006 - 10:40:09 MDT

"Michael Vassar" <>

> Darwin's theory was grounded in pure logic and inspired by a
> huge general > body of pre-existing observational and
> experimental data.

Lamarckian evolution is just as logical as Darwinian evolution and perhaps
on some worlds that's the way things work, just not here. Lamarck's idea
that a Giraffe's long neck came about from generations of animals stretching
their necks to get at high leaves and passing that trait to their offspring
is not obviously wrong; but the idea is far less successful trying to
explain how a zebra's stripes came to be. Darwin could explain both.

> The same is true of Newton. Galileo's belief about equal free-fall
> velocities and his ballistics theories are basically simply assertions of
> an unappreciated null hypothesis

Things were made more complicated by the existence of an atmosphere because
at fist glance all of Galileo's and Newton's laws would seem to be wrong,
heavy objects do seem to fall faster than light ones and an object put in
motion does not stay moving forever. Intelligent creatures living underwater
would have even more difficulty discovering the basic laws of physics than
we did, and they wouldn't have the movement of the planets to help them. I
wonder how they could develop technology, just discovering fire would be
almost imposable.

  John K Clark

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