Lisa's post on evolution -Reply

Howie Chodos howie at
Thu Aug 3 14:07:12 MDT 1995

>Some processes in the natural world are characterised by phase
>changes, boiling is one of them. But such changes are sufficiently
>out of the ordinary to cause great excitement when a new
>phenomenon is shown to be characterised by phase changes -
>for example phase changes have recently been demonstrated in
>constraint satisfaction problems of a certain complexity.
>But one should not assume that all changes are phase changes.
>There is little evidence for the idea being relevant for
>considering the difference between us and other apes.

Does this mean that in your view there are no qualitative differences
between us and the great apes? Despite the relatively minor genetic
differemces that separate us from our nearest cousins, we do constitute a
different species. And however one chooses to understand speciation, it
seems to me that it implies some type of qualitative difference. I also
suggested that one such difference involves the human capacity for
second-order, reflexive cognition. That is really all I was trying to get at.

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