Jisa, Raul, Discussion

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Sun Apr 16 19:23:20 MDT 1995


   To   Rahul Mahajan> in discussion with Lisa Rogers

  >>>>>>>>>>>> Humans may have more variable behaviour, including
  social formation,
  >than any other species.  But evolution is not expected to
  produce an
  >infinitely malleable organism - the reason this fancy brain and
  >the other gear evolves is because it is used for evolutionary
  >survival and reproduction, mainly of the individual and its

  Again, this is a logical fallacy. You seem to be putting
  evolution in the place of God, carefully measuring and meting
  out exactly what is needed. It seems quite clear that our brain
  is an evolutionary anomaly -- this doesn't mean that it's not a
  natural object with a history and constrainst imposed by nature,
  but cavemen had no need of an instrument that could formulate
  the general theory of relativity.

  In my various readings I have found that the following is a
  scenario that seems not to require god and also does not impress
  on evolution god like qualities. On the other hand it also does
  not imply that what comes into being is necessarily a response
  to external pressures or circumstances.

  If there are present in a particular place a large number of
  different chemicals contained under certain environmental
  conditions such as temperature, pressure, lack or presence of
  oxygen, electrical disturbances, etc, then the very complexity
  of the possibilities will cause the self organisation of new
  species of molecules or whatever. This is the sort of picture
  painted by Philip Anderson, Doyne Farmer, Christopher Langton,
  Stuart Kauffman, and others. (PS I do not vouch for their
  political credentials, but they seems good scientists.) These
  new molecules either survived or dissappeared depending on

  On this sort of picture apes started to stand erect as this was
  beneficial to their evolutionary survival. Walking on two legs
  involves the use of more neurons. A bigger brain involves the
  greater rate of energy usage, thus of larger lungs, and the
  requirement of better and more nutritious food. Tis is in
  accordance with theories of which I am no expert but have
  attended a few lectures on.

  In any event this leads to larger brains with more neural
  pathways, more synapses, neurons and so on. This increased
  number of possibilities and increased complexity causes the self
  emergence of a qualitatively different structure. A brain which
  is different to that on other organisms. This increased
  self-organised complexity gave rise to consciousness,  emotions,
  etc. The complexity is increasing and may at some stage lead to
  a further level of organisation or complexity in it's turn.

  This scenario does not need the hand of god or evolution as a
  substitute god. It does not imply that the new form of
  organisation is better adapted to it's environment or not. If it
  is better adapted it will survive, if not it will become
  extinct. It did not evolve as a response to the environment but
  within an environment.

  Ron Press.

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