16 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2023
    1. If old-school Social Darwinists like Herbert Spencer viewed nature as a marketplace, albeit an unusually cutthroat one, the new version was outright capitalist. The neo-Darwinists assumed not just a struggle for survival, but a universe of rational calculation driven by an apparently irrational imperative to unlimited growth.
    2. the neo-Darwinists were practically driven to their conclusions by their initial assumption: that science demands a rational explanation, that this means attributing rational motives to all behavior, and that a truly rational motivation can only be one that, if observed in humans, would normally be described as selfishness or greed.
    3. We all know the eventual answer, which the discovery of genes made possible. Animals were simply trying to maximize the propagation of their own genetic codes. Curiously, this view—which eventually came to be referred to as neo-Darwinian—was developed largely by figures who considered themselves radicals of one sort or another.

      Neo-Darwinism: a modern version of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, incorporating the findings of genetics.

    4. Mutual Aid grew from a series of essays written in response to Thomas Henry Huxley, a well-known Social Darwinist, and summarized the Russian understanding of the day, which was that while competition was undoubtedly one factor driving both natural and social evolution, the role of cooperation was ultimately decisive.
    5. An alternative school of Darwinism emerged in Russia emphasizing cooperation, not competition, as the driver of evolutionary change. In 1902 this approach found a voice in a popular book, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, by naturalist and revolutionary anarchist pamphleteer Peter Kropotkin.

      Was this referenced in the Selfish Gene?

      Things working at the level of the gene vs. species...

  2. Mar 2020
    1. Will this process yield interesting products? Will we get different looking beasts, living different kinds of lives? My guess is yes. Dembski's is no. And that is, I suppose, fine. He's entitled to his guess. But don't let him tell you that it follows ineluctably from some mathematical theorem because it doesn't.

      So I suppose no one should let darwinists tell you that darwinism is absolutely indisputably true?

    2. If, as he oddly continues to claim, the NFL theorems pose a problem for Darwinism, why don't they pose a problem for a little Darwinism? The NFL theorems don't say anything about scale. To say then, as Dembski does, that a little bit of Darwinism is okay (despite NFL) but a lot is bad (because of NFL) is to say something odd.

      Because the fitting function is different in the case of small darwinism -- and the environment isn't random. I don't know.

    3. The reason is this history starts at zero complexity. On average it can only go up (where we cannot see the descendants of lineages that crashed and burned back into zero complexity). There are also good reasons for thinking that organisms get stuck at higher levels of complexity.

      Now this guy is begging the question. Dembski would say the history of life must be that way because of intelligent design, not due to small darwinism.

    4. The problem with all this is so simple that I hate to bring it up. But here goes: Darwinism isn't trying to reach a prespecified target. Darwinism, I regret to report, is sheer cold demographics. Darwinism says that my sequence has more kids than your sequence and so my sequence gets common and yours gets rare.

      So this guy concedes the "no free lunch" argument entirely, and his assumption now only relies on saying that the specified complexity has no meaning at all -- because there's no goal.

      The specified complexity claim, however, says there is indeed a goal -- or at least a goal that was reached, and that it has meaning.

    5. Plenty of scientists have, after all, been attracted to the notion that natural laws reflect (in some way that's necessarily poorly articulated) an intelligence or aesthetic sensibility. This is the religion of Einstein, who spoke of "the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence" and of the scientist's "religious feeling [that] takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law." (This or something like it is also the religion of the young Chesterton with whom I began this essay.) This mild mysticism is fairly common among scientists, especially physicists and mathematicians. What's attractive about this view—which is of course thoroughly religious, not scientific—is that it at least requires no violation of methodological naturalism. The miraculous is not some alleged departure from natural law but the law itself.

      Isn't this the same as saying that the environment and the fitting function are intelligently designed? The author seems to be fine with this "reason incarnate in existence", but it is basically the same thing Dembski was saying above when talking about no-free-lunch. The "natural law" is the design.

  3. Feb 2019
    1. Yet, Lysenkoism is first of all a method of inserting ideology into scientific discussions. This is true for historical Lysenkoism, which appealed to Marxism-Leninism to prove Mendelian genetics wrong.

      Isn't it true also for Neo-Darwinists who disguise themselves with a fake objectivity while providing a full support for the existing world-order, and not acknowledging any potential bias they (may) have? If it's the pigheadedness that's criticized there, why isn't it framed as such? Propaganda side of biology cannot be dismissed that easily as in, say, physics, simply because biology deals with higher-level constructs that are more familiar and hence, more relevant for day-to-day life of an ordinary human being. ==> see Biology as ideology by Richard Lewontin

    2. Despite the fact that some environmentally induced changes are heritable, these effects are not stable [30Becker C. Weigel D. Epigenetic variation: origin and transgenerational inheritance.Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 2012; 15: 562-567Crossref PubMed Scopus (62) Google Scholar]. Specifically, it has been shown that in large populations of Arabidopsis most ‘epi-mutations’ are labile — after only a few generations, these base-pair methylations revert to their original state. Hence, epigenetic modifications in plants are of very limited significance for evolutionary processes. Accordingly, neo-Lamarckian (including Lysenkoist) concepts have been experimentally refuted by these trans-generational epigenetic analyses [30Becker C. Weigel D. Epigenetic variation: origin and transgenerational inheritance.Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 2012; 15: 562-567Crossref PubMed Scopus (62) Google Scholar].

      Just one citation and that to an opinion article? Interesting...

  4. Feb 2018
    1. The fact that not being able to discern exactly when the FPS began shows how the whole question of genre is about feel. It's about the point when a body of similar works has mapped out the boundaries of what they're interested in - what they are and what they aren't - and when there's no clear leader any more.
    2. Most genres bubble up outside the mainstream industry, built by modders and tinkerers, amateurs and enthusiasts. In these 'folk games' it's sometimes hard to find a single originator or author, instead groups of people feeding from each other, freely copying, rearranging and rebuilding to develop and refine a core concept. The best ones find audiences and rapidly grow, even as they're still evolving
    3. The point is that the general concept of the battle royale has grown almost naturally from wider culture, the evolving nature of online tech and modding scenes
    4. That transformation, in which a new genre has originated, is a fascinating mirror of the wonderful way ideas merge and evolve, spread and multiply, skating through inspiration and invention, copying and stealing.