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Darwin-L Message Log 26: 39–67 — October 1995

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during October 1995. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 26: 39-67 -- OCTOBER 1995
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DARWIN-L
A Network Discussion Group on the
History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu is an international network discussion group on
the history and theory of the historical sciences.  Darwin-L was established
in September 1993 to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of
which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present,
and to encourage communication among academic professionals in these fields.
Darwin-L is not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles
Darwin but instead addresses the entire range of historical sciences from an
interdisciplinary perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical
linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology,
systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical
anthropology, historical geography, and related "palaetiological" fields.

This log contains public messages posted to Darwin-L during October 1995.
It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease
of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been
reformatted, and some administrative messages and personal messages posted to
the group as a whole have been deleted.  No genuine editorial changes have been
made to the content of any of the posts.  This log is provided for personal
reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein
should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.
The master copy of this log is maintained in the archives of Darwin-L by
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, and is also available on the Darwin-L Web Server
at http://rjohara.uncg.edu.  For instructions on how to retrieve copies of this
and other log files, and for additional information about Darwin-L, send the
e-mail message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or connect to
the Darwin-L Web Server.

Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu), Center for
Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology, University of
North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A., and it
is supported by the Center for Critical Inquiry, University of North Carolina
at Greensboro, and the Department of History and the Academic Computing Center,
University of Kansas.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:39>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Fri Oct 13 09:12:35 1995

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 10:12:46 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

John A. Giacobbe (catalinus@aol.com) suggests a definition of fitness:

>A trait or character displays fitness when, in a given set of environmental
>circumstances (I use environment in the broadest sense, to be defined
>by ecological, cultural, and temporal factors), the expression of that
>behavior allows the efficient interaction of the life form with its
>environment.  The results of fitness could include, but are not limited to,
>reproductive success, adaptive radiation, ecosystem dominance,
>population increase, temporal duration of form, and even individual
>perceptions of well being.

        Hugo Bouckaert (bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au) criticizes this
definition for (1) being so broad that it is impossible to operationalize,
(2) suggesting that fitness is a behaviour, (3) that its results are at
many levels of organization, and (4) that natural selection is not
explicitly stated.

        I suspect that John was collapsing his notion of selection into the
'term' fitness.  But I will let him defend himself.  Rather I want to
highlight (and warn against) the temptation to make a list of "results"
that we would like to explain and then call 'fitness' identically that
thing which gives us these results (natural selection was supposed to take
the wind out of teleological thinking).  I know that no one (!) ever makes
this move. :-)

___

John Wilkins (wilkins@wehi.edu.au) writes:

>I'm interested to hear what you and any others make of the claim by
>Sober that fitness is a supervenient property that explains but does
>not cause differential survival. If fitness is supervenient, then what
>about natural selection itself?

        Sober is attracted to supervenience because he needs a way to talk
about a theoretical term "fitness". This term applies to many different
kinds of things (note the use of selectionist thinking from genes to
epistemology).  Supervenience is meant to let us use the same theoretical
terms when talking about zebras, corn & memes.  John Wilkins reminds us
that, "Supervenient properties are those which *may* be shared by
physically distinct systems but which *must* be shared by physically
identical ones."  To connect this thread with another recent discussion on
Darwin-L; this same desire to cast the net widely is what drives Dennett to
suggest that algorithms are independent of the things that they operate on.

        One way to understand 'fitness' has been to define it
retroactively.  This retrospective approach (who does leave the most
offspring?) has been (appropriately) criticized.  Looking back at previous
success is embedded in an intuitive exercise.

        So lets go through a typical imaginary (!) exercise.  We might
imagine taking a cohort of organisms and then duplicating it many times.
We then let each cohort live their lives.  From this we could generate some
good statistics about which forms do better.  We could then look at what
features were "responsible" for this success.  Now we might be able to
measure those features and predict what having a particular state of a
trait would result in on average, assigning fitness this way.

        We don't do these experiments.  But there is a general belief that
nature does.  Given many generations with generous population sizes all of
the vagaries will average out.  To this extent (and only to this extent)
are retrospective (success based) fitness measurements good surrogates for
understanding prospective fitness.

        There is another component of fitness which is that it is realized
in a particular context.  When Darwin analogizes natural selection with
breeding programs he presumes that nature offers a coherent selectionist
agenda (as the breeders do).  So if you knew (or guessed) that agenda you
might also be able to predict which character states would confer greater
fitness.  (This approach is rife with problems - there are many unfilled
niches; Lewontin offers, I think, the example of grass eating snakes).

        So we are left with 1) an assumption about using large numbers and
time to simulate a "fair" experiment and 2) a difficult project about
guessing the demands of an environment.  The result of this is the uneasy
acceptance of survival and reproductive success as indicators of fitness.
This dance requires deep honesty on the part of practitioners.  It is
possible (easy) to imagine that every extant character has its story of
"high" fitness.  But because we can tell that story doesn't mean we should.

        To return to supervenience.  Another goal of this language is to
explain the way that natural selection and fitness are resistant to
reduction without leaving any wiggle room for vitalism.  It gets this from
the second half of the definition, "Supervenient properties ... *must* be
shared by physically identical ones."  This should expand into a discussion
about measuring identity.  Note also that this definition has implicit in
it the kind of imaginary experiment that I mentioned of identical cohorts.

        I will end by suggesting that supervenience and the attendant
resistance to reductionism happens when we want to talk simultaneously
about groups that are different enough (e.g. corn & zebras).  But when we
are looking at a specific population we could talk in terms of stalk
length, seed characteristics, etc...  and if you are a fan of Dawkins look
at the genes within those groups.

        phew!  And I didn't even get to write about the evolution of the
human hand. :-)

        There must have been a more compact way to say this.  If you want
to pursue this there take a look at (Kim,Rosenberg, & Callebaut).

        cheers,

        Jeremy

_______

Callebaut, Werner (1993) "Taking the naturalistic turn, or, How real
philosophy of science is done : conversations with William Bechtel ... [et
al.] / organized and moderated by Werner Callebaut" Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.  (LOC Q175.3 .T35 1993)  This strange and wonderful
conversation with a cast of philosophers of science has a section (short)
on supervenience, and many many many other things.  Have you all read this.
What did you think?

Kim, J. (1978) "Supervenience and nomological incommensurables" American
Philosophical Quarterly v15 p149-156

Rosenberg, A. (1978) "Supervenience of biological concepts" Philosophy of
Science v45 p368-386.  reprinted in Sober (1984) Conceptual Issues in
Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:40>From Catalinus@aol.com Fri Oct 13 13:21:56 1995

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 14:21:47 -0400
From: Catalinus@aol.com
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

Hello Darwin listers!

Recently Mr Bouckaert mentioned several points of contention with
regard to my definition of fitness, and I would like to address them here
(no offense taken!)

[>>my original post]
>> A trait or character displays fitness when, in a given set of
>> environmental circumstances (I use environment in the broadest
>> sense, to be defined by ecological, cultural, and temporal factors), the
>> expression of that behavior allows the efficient interaction of the life
>> form with its environment.  The results of fitness could include, but
>> are not limited to, reproductive success, adaptive radiation,
>> ecosystem dominance,  population increase, temporal duration of
>> form, and even individual perceptions of well being.

[>Mr Bouckaerts' response]
> First of all environment: how do you demarcate one selective
> environment from the next? Secondly, fitness is not a behavior,
> although certain behaviors may carry a fitness value. Thirdly, when
> you talk about the results of fitness, in each case different entities are
> involved: individuals, taxa, populations. Individual perceptions of well
> being I would definitely count out as having anything to do with fitness.

       First, I would say that the selective environment must be
determined on a case by case basis, partially defined by the character to
be ascribed a level of fitness.  In example, perhaps we are attempting to
determine the level of fitness of a behavior such as a subsistence
strategy  (albeit, perhaps this is more properly called a suite of
behaviors, or a behavioral pattern, but lets run with it for a moment).
The fitness a subsistence strategy offers to a group would of course be
dependant on the local environment, including things such as soils,
weather patterns, altitude and such, but would also include such things
as the technological level of the group using the subsistence pattern, the
personal willingness of the groups individuals to adopt such a
subsistence pattern, and the individuals' perception of the benefits of
such a behavioral pattern.  While this is admittedly fraught with aspects
difficult if not impossible to quantify, I would argue that they do play a
part in determining the pragmatic fitness of a behavioral pattern.
       Secondly, while I see your point concerning the definitions of fitness
and behavior, I think we could utilize the terms as I have done in the last
paragraph, and just remember that other types of characters, besides
behavioral ones, have a fitness value.  Not to get to far into this now, but
clearly biological characters not resulting in specific behaviors would not
completely fall within this definition of fitness.  I do not believe the jury
is
quite in yet with a clear-cut determination of what is the actual unit of
selection, and I think we may be able to allow for varying units to be
referred to, as long as we define everything beforehand

[>Mr Bouckaerts' response]
> But I'm afraid my most severe criticism comes from the fact that there
> is no link between fitness and natural selection. Fitness is a concept
> that plays a role in natural selection, and, at least theoretically, in
> species selection.

This is a good point, and one that still needs a bit of work.  But, I would
offer the suggestion that we could expand the concept to include other
forms of selection, as well as natural selection, and further state that that
link was implicit in the definition of fitness.  I believe that the actual
judgment of a characters fitness is determined by the application of
selective forces.

Well, I hope I have addressed some of the things Mr. Bouckaert
mentioned, and I would encourage further comments.  This is obviously
a work under construction, and I could use some help!

Thanks for your time

John A. Giacobbe
Western Archaeological Services, Inc.
catalinus@aol.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:41>From bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au Sat Oct 14 00:30:47 1995

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 13:28:09 +0800 (WST)
From: Hugo Bouckaert <bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection: Skull Sutures

Tom Schoenemann had some interesting things to say about the
possibilities that are open to adaptationist and non-adaptationist claims
in respect to their testability - no quarrel there. However, I would like to
say a few things about his claim that the underlying bauplane of a phylum
has to be necessarily adaptive. First of all: mutations do accumulate,
but there is no necessary tendency for them to "dissolve everything into a
morass of variability". Mutations are sieved on their adaptive value, and
that adaptive value depends on adaptive trade-offs in the whole body of
the organism in question. Such a trade-off system may be very hard to
break, as the  overall result must be that the organism is better
adapted, and this includes minimising possible negative correlations
between changes in different features. Such a trade off system in
respect to physiology, anatomy, behaviour and the life history is likely
to be represented in the bauplane, but this does not mean that
the underlying bodyplan is an aptation - if anything the word adaptedness
is more appropriate to such an underlying structure - with the proviso
that this adaptedness is regarded as the historical result of phylogenetic
development - and therefore may not be the best that can be achieved.
The bauplane then is a historical feature, that is likely to represent
adaptive trade-offs. These adaptive trade-offs may incorporate further
aptations, but also constrain further aptations. In that sense they - and
the bodyplan that represents them - cannot be treated in the same conceptual
way that aptations are: aptations are generally thought of as having a
specific functional link with the environment, and underlying body plans
represent - within a historical context - the compromises necessary between
these functional links so that an organism can carry out a variety of
functions.

Hugo Bouckaert
Bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:42>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Sat Oct 14 21:11:12 1995

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 21:13:01 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Bauplaene are not adaptive?

[from Gary Cziko <g-cziko@uiuc.edu]

In response to Tom Schoenemann, Hugo Bouckaert wrote:

>The bauplane [sic] then is a historical
>feature, that is likely to represent adaptive trade-offs. These adaptive
>trade-offs may incorporate further aptations, but also constrain further
>aptations. In that sense they - and the bodyplan that represents them -
>cannot be treated in the same conceptual way that aptations are:
>aptations are generally thought of as having a specific functional link
>with the environment, and underlying body plans represent - within a
>historical context - the compromises necessary between these functional
>links so that an organism can carry out a variety of functions.

So a bauplan appears to be designed in such a way that the various systems
of an organism can work together effectively.

Now if the types of possible bauplaene were serverly limited by some
physical laws of form or development, then I might be able to see how
organisms might just have to put up with what it got and design the rest of
its systems around its bauplan.  But this hardly seems the case when I
consider the staggering variety of life forms both living and exctinct.  So
I am having some difficulty understanding why a bauplan is not an
adaptation.  I suppose it might not be an "aptation" as argued above, but
then I do not quite understand what an "aptation" is and how it differs
form an "adaptation."

--Gary Cziko

P.S.  I am still waiting for someone to provide a mechanism other than
blind variation and selection that can generate adapted complexity.  That
is actually where this particular thread began before drifting off to
interesting topics related to exaptation and bauplaene.  I would like to
find an alternative, since then I could write another book to correct my
radically selectionist arguments in _Without Miracles_

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:43>From dasher@netcom.com Sun Oct 15 02:20:45 1995

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 00:19:46 -0700
From: dasher@netcom.com (Anton Sherwood)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, extropians@extropy.org
Subject: fwd: new sociobiology list

[relayed without comment from NEW-LIST]

SOCIOBIO ON LISTSERV@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU - Social Behaviour Evolution
                                         Discussions

   SOCIOBIO is a moderated discussion list dealing with
   the biological bases of the social behaviour of animals, such
   as aggression, territoriality, social systems, and mate
   selection. Sociobiology seeks to extend the concept of
   natural selection to social systems and social behaviour
   of animals, including humans.

   Although the term sociobiology is of recent coinage,
   the problems the discipline seeks to resolve have been
   recognized for many years. Indeed, in the 19th century
   the main founder of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin,
   had already attempted to deal with the question of altruism.
   The first major advance in understanding altruism came around
   1960 when British biologist W. D. Hamilton developed the
   concept of kin selection.

   The SOCIOBIO mailing list for discussions  on the
   evolution of social behaviour welcomes contributions
   from scholars currently engaged in any kind of research
   project linked with the issues of socialization, altruism,
   and animal cooperation; as it has often been stressed that
   altruism often occurs in the absence of close genetic
   relatedness; that is, it can involve other than direct kin.
   As, for instance Trivers' concept of reciprocal altruism.
   Moreover, J. Maynard Smith has shown how reciprocal altruism can
   evolve in a species that is completely selfish at the
   outset, and that such altruism can lead to higher
   reproductive success. These various theories and
   supporting data were brought together by the American
   biologist E. O. Wilson in Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,
   a book that has become the cornerstone of sociobiology as a
   distinct field of study.

   To subscribe to SOCIOBIO, send the following command to
   Listserv@sjuvm.stjohns.edu in the BODY of e-mail:

      SUBSCRIBE SOCIOBIO yourfirstname yourlastname

   For example: SUBSCRIBE SOCIOBIO Max Doe

   Owner:  Juan C. Garelli  garelli@attach.edu.ar

   ---------------------------------------------------------------------
   DISCLAIMER: NEW-LIST announcements are edited from information
   provided by the original submitter.  We do NOT verify the technical
   accuracy nor any claims made in the announcements nor do we
   necessarily agree with them.  We do not warranty or guarantee any
   services which might be announced - use at your own risk.  For more
   information send e-mail to LISTSERV@VM1.NoDak.EDU with the command
   GET NEW-LIST README  in the body.  mgh

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:44>From dsamorim@usp.br Mon Oct 16 11:14:48 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 14:14:17 -0500 (CDT)
From: Dalton de Souza Amorim <dsamorim@usp.br>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

	I am not sure how this subject has been address on the net, but I
would like to emphasize some few points. Fitness, as well as
adaptability, implies to concept of time and "movement" between
conditions. If the new condition is the adapted one, what is the
previous, pre-existing condition? Unadapted? If it was unadapted, how
could all the ancestral species survive. Obviously adaptation, hence,
cannot be an absolute predicate of a character but at most a predicate of
a character given a particular environment at a given moment. This is a
strong and necessary restriction, usually not consider by selectionists.
Moreover, even on the same environment at the same time, the pre-existing
condition, maintained on closely related, sympatrid species, can survive
parallel to new "more adapted" conditions. This argument could be driven
forward, but the condition seems clear: there is no "movement" toward
adaptability, but rather only changes from one adapted condition to
another. Natural selection, from a genetic-mathematical point of view, only
applies when you have two or more alleles for the same locus at the same
time in a particular population and one of them has a rate of
reproduction higher than the other; the eventually eliminated allele does
not need to be unadapted to be eliminated. The concepts of adaptation and
fitness should be strongly reviewed, maybe substituted for something that
more precisely describe the context in which it can be applied without
equivocation.

	That's all for now.

Dalton de Souza Amorim
Depto. de Biologia
FFCLRP-USP
Av. Bandeirantes 3900
14040-901 Ribeirao Preto SP
BRAZIL

e-mail: dsamorim@usp.br
fax: 55.16.633.5015 / 633.6361

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:45>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Mon Oct 16 11:18:06 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 11:19:55 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, csg-l@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Selection Theory Bibliography on WWW

[from Gary Cziko <g-cziko@uiuc.edu>]

As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
selection theory" which makes the claim that ALL forms of adapted
complexity--from organisms and their antibodies to scientific theories and
technological innovations--emerge from a processes involving blind
variation and selective retention.

In 1990 Don Campbell and I published:

Cziko, Gary A., & Campbell, Donald T. (1990). Comprehensive
Evolutionary Epistemology Bibliography. _The Journal of Social
and Biological Sciences_, 13(1), 41-81.

which focused on references to psychological and philosophcal works
relevant to a selectionist interpretation (both pro and con, but mostly
con).

I have now revised and "Weberized" this bibliography and call it the
"Selection Theory Bibliography."  In addition to references, I have begun
to link the references to quotes and to other resources on the Web,
including, for example the full text of some of Bill Calvin's books on the
brain as a "Darwin Machine" and Bob O'Hara's bibliography of Toulmin's
works.

I invite Darwin-L and CSG-L subscribers to stroll through the bibliography.
The address of the main page is:

http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/facstaff/g-cziko/stb/ (don't forget the final slash),

although it might be more pleasant to begin the stroll in the quotes file
which is

http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/facstaff/g-cziko/stb/quotes.html

I welcome comments on the bibliography as well as contributions in the form
of references, quotes and links to other Web resources.  Since I already
have many quotes I want to include, it may take me a while to get around to
adding any references or quotes suggested by others.  But please send them
anyway and if I like them they will eventually be added.

--Gary

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:46>From robert.richardson@UC.EDU Mon Oct 16 11:53:12 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 12:51:03 -0400
From: robert.richardson@UC.EDU (R. C. Richardson)
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Gary Cziko writes, in thinking about the adaptive significance of sutures,

>Interesting example.  But my adaptionist inclinations would lead me to
>suspect that skull sutures didn't just arise from some mysterious Bauplan,
>but rather gradually evolved via natural selection in "non-birth-canal"
>organisms for some other reason.  Perhaps someone out there can give us a
>clue as to why marsupials and reptiles have them.  Perhaps a complete skull
>requires more calcium than can be made available in the egg (interesting to
>think of the eggshell and embryo competing for calcium), so the skull
>"waits" to fully form until after hatching?

I don't think (and Darwin didn't think) that skull sutures arose "from some
mysterious Bauplan," or that they arose for no reason at all.  The
question, I thought, was how we could have adaptive structures which were
not the product of natural selection, and thus not adaptations.  The point
I was making, or, rather, the point Darwin was making addresses exactly
that point:

(1)  Skull sutures in mammals are adaptive, facilitating parturition.

(2)  Skull sutures were not shaped for this "purpose" by natural selection,
because they are ancestral, occurring in other organisms such as marsupials
and reptiles.

(3)  Skull sutures are thus adaptive, facilitating parturition, but not
adaptations for parturition.

It is not terribly hard to see how they came to be.  Skulls are themselves
adaptive (and presumably adaptations), since they serve as a brain case.
They are also structures cobbled together from other bones which serve
quite different functions in (say) fish, and sutures are the places they
are cobbled together.  So there is an explanation for skull sutures.  That
does not make them adaptations for parturation in mammals, though they are
still adaptive and still serve to facilitate live birth.  It also doesn't
leave them unexplained.

We could, of course, insist that there has to be some reason rooted in
natural selection for skull sutures, and why they didn't just disappear
when they were not needed.  We could.  But why should we?  (I think, by the
way, that essentially the same issues arise in understanding the function
of feathers.  No one doubts that feathers facilitate flight, and that they
are adaptive because of this effect; but it is commonly suggested that
feathers are not adaptations for flight.  If the suffestion is correct,
that does not prevent offering an explanation for them, or preclude the
possibility that they were adaptations for, say, thermoregulation.)

Tom Schoenemann continues the line of thought in a different way:

>If they [that is, skull sutures ]are not
>exclusively an adaptation for childbirth in humans, aspects of their
>ontogeny may well be different from other organisms in subtle ways such
>that they show effects of selection for ease of childbirth.  This is a
>testable idea, but it won't be tested if we jump to the conclusion that
>they must be non-adaptations.  Let's try another analogy.  The brains of
>mammals (and vertebrates in general) show remarkable homologies.  Does
>this fact license us to conclude that natural selection had no role in
>the evolution of the human brain?  It is often the differences between
>species that are of the most evolutionary interest.

It is true that there may be important aspects in which the ontogeny of
skulls differ, and some of these might even be relevant to the way sutures
facilitate live birth.  I don't know.  If there are, though, those
differences might even be adaptations; they would be if they were in fact
shaped by natural selection.  That would not make skull sutures adaptations
for live birth.  (Likewise, there are differences in the structure of
feathers which make Ducks different from Pigeons, and those might be
adaptations; but that would not tell us the function of feathers per se.)

I think Schoenemann is right, though, that it is often the differences
between species (or between populations, or between individuals) that are
of evolutionary interest.  Some of the most interesting and important work
has focused on just these sorts of differences.  This reflection raises the
intriguing suggestion that some of the differences between adaptationist
and nonadaptationist is one of a difference between focusing on differences
as opposed to continuities.

Robert C. Richardson                           email: Robert.Richardson@uc.edu
Professor of Philosophy                        office phone: 513-556-6327
University of Cincinnati                       dept. fax:  513-556-2939

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:47>From BIOL-WAJ@nich-nsunet.nich.edu Mon Oct 16 12:29:43 1995

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: "Bill Johnson"  <BIOL-WAJ@nich-nsunet.nich.edu>
Organization: Nicholls State University
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 12:38:39 CST
Subject: Adaptation-my two cents worth

This is an interesting discussion, however, some of my students have been
somewhat confused by it all. Lest we forget, whatever the source of a
structure, function, behavior, "whatever", the only way we have of determining
whether said structure, function, behavior, "whatever" is adaptive or not, is
by noting the impact of natural selection on the "whatever." If the "whatever"
confers enhanced survival and reproductive success on the population, then it
is adaptive, if not, it is not adaptive. It therefore seems to me that the
"whatever" is only an adaptation after  natural selection has deemed the
"whatever" to be an adaptation.

I'm not sure this really contributes anything to the discussion, but perhaps we
can at least determine whether we are arguing apples and oranges or apples and
apples.

Like Gary C., I to am waiting for a mechanism other than "blind variation and
selection that can generate adapted complexity," I have serious doubts.

-Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson
Department of Biological Sciences
Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, Lousiana  70310
biol-waj@nich-nsunet.nich.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:48>From rroizen@ix.netcom.com Mon Oct 16 14:04:05 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 12:03:56 -0700
From: rroizen@ix.netcom.com (Ron Roizen )
Subject: Re: Selection Theory Bibliography on WWW
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Gary Cziko wrote:

>As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
>selection theory" which makes the claim that ALL forms of adapted
>complexity--from organisms and their antibodies to scientific theories
>and technological innovations--emerge from a processes involving blind
>variation and selective retention.  <snip>

Hi Gary...

I wonder if you'd be interested to know about the Darwinian side of
"the discovery of alcoholism" in post-Repeal America?  An impressive
collection of U.S. scientists (calling themselves the Research Council
on Problems of Alcohol [RCPA]) sought to launch a new generation of
research on the nation's alcohol-related problems in the wake of Repeal
(the 21st Amendment was finally fully ratified in Dec., 1933).  Trouble
was, there were virtually no spigots of potential funding for new
alcohol research.  The public was fed-up with the alcohol issue after
the protracted struggles over national prohibition and Repeal.  The
Rockefeller establishment was disinclined, too--J.D.R., Jr. had been
badly burned by his switch of positions on the Prohibition issue, which
probably made further involvement unattractive.  In any event, one
ready pocketbook in due course made itself known to RCPA leadership:
the distilling industry.  An RCPA scientist/psychiatrist by the name of
Karl Bowman was at once eager to make use of these funds but at the
same time was filled with trepidation about the implications.  The
beverage industry had been deeply stigmatized by the temperance
movement.  Bowman saw the distillers' offers as harboring a no-win
circumstance for the research group:  If RCPA studies showed that
alcohol was LESS responsible for bodily illnesses, insanity, poverty,
crime, etc. (all the traditional touchstone problems of
temperance-oriented alcohol science), then knowledge of the group's
source of funding would lead the public to conclude that the scientific
group had simply been bought off by its patrons.  If, on the other
hand, their new studies showed that alcohol was MORE responsible for
these various untoward conditions, then RCPA researchers could scarcely
expect their industry patrons to continue supporting their research.

Bowman saved the day by hitting on an ingenious solution to the group's
dilemma.  Why not drop all proposed research projects dealing in one
way or another with "alcohol's consequences," he suggested.  If the
RCPA's research does not bear on the reputation or moral valence
attached to alcohol, then funding can come from Wets (or from any
source) with out it raising the specter of potential bias.  When Bowman
dropped all such studies from the RCPA's list most of what remained
were studies of "alcoholism."  And alcoholism, in turn, became the
center of the RCPA's self-promoting campaign over the next decade.  A
substanital majority of the RCPA's membership voted in Oct., 1939 to
adopt "Bowman's Compromise" (my name for it) and quietly begin making
use of industry funds to support their newly reoriented roster of
proposed research.  I bet it would be hard to find a more purely
Darwinian or selectionist example of the genesis of an important
social-and-scientific movement!  (For a fuller account, see my "The
American Discovery of Alcoholism, 1933-1939," Ph.D. diss., Sociology,
University of California, Berkeley, 1991.)

Ron Roizen
Berkeley, CA
rroizen@ix.netcom.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:49>From jmiller@america.com Mon Oct 16 14:15:26 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 15:15:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: J Miller <jmiller@america.com>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Definition/Supervenience of Fitness

On Fri, 13 Oct 1995 Hugo Bouckaert (Bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au) wrote:

> Yes, I think fitness is definitely a supervenient concept, and this
> isfurther clarified, I think, by the ideas put forward by Bock and von
> Wahlert, who provide a detailed analysis of the concept of adaptation
> (without these authors proclaiming that fitness is a supervenient concept
> - this idea is definitely to be found in Sober). It all hinges on having
> a closer look at fitness from a causal perspective, and of course many
> people would disagree with such a causal approach - I can only say that I
> find it a very good heuristic device to clear up some of the confusion
> surrounding the concept of fitness. I think when you read the passage in
> Sober's (1984) The Nature of Selection on the supervenience of fitness it is
> difficult NOT to be convinced of the supervenience of fitness.

I'm afraid I do not share Hugo's enthusiasm. Let's remember that Sober's
supervenience of fitness is conceived as a dual-purpose stratagem. It is
designed to enable him to attack reductionism without at the same time
appearing to endorse mysticism. As such, it is a clever device indeed, but
the approach is not new. Attempts to reconcile this fundamental dichotomy
by introducing some recondite conception go back at least as far as Kant.
And none too successful, we might add.

In Sober's case, problems begin to emerge when we try to scrutinize how
well supervenience accomplishes its dual task. Let's take the reductionism
prong first. The key here is that since fitness means different things for
different species, no unified physicalistic definition of fitness is
possible. Here is Sober: "Although one physicalistic explanation may
account for fitness differences among zebras, and a second such story may
explain fitness differences among cockroaches, no physicalistic account
can be offered of what fitness is. The reason is simply that fitness is
not a physical property." This last sentence is interesting because it
appears in both the premise and the conclusion of the supervenience
argument. Earlier Sober argues that fitness is supervenient _because_ it
is not a physical property. This raises some questions about the logical
status of the proposition "fitness is not a physical property" and about
the argument as a whole. But one thing is clear: Sober didn't need the
concept of supervenience in order to criticize physicalism. He could have
just as easily gone directly from "fitness is not a physical property" to
"physicalism cannot explain fitness." We are obliged to conclude, then,
that supervenience is introduced for the sake of the other - vitalist -
prong of the argument.

Since supervenience requires that physically identical systems have
identical fitness, Sober concludes that it leaves no room for the
mysterious _elan vital_ that breathes life into physical systems. "If
there really were such an extra added ingredient," he writes, "it should
be possible for two physically identical systems to differ with respect to
their biological properties. One system might have this elusive admixture,
while the other would lack it." To claim that this entails the falsity of
vitalism, as Sober does, is bad logic. While it is indeed possible for two
physically identical systems to have different amounts of _elan vital_, it
is by no means necessary. Sober's argument _could_ be true only if
vitalism had an explicit requirement that physically identical organisms
must differ in their _elan vital_. I am not terribly familiar with
vitalist schools of thought, so I would invite experts out there to
correct me on this, but I do not recall - at least in Bergson - any such
stipulation. Without it, I'm afraid, Sober's attack misfires, and
vitalists can relax - they have nothing to fear from supervenience.

It appears, then, that as a weapon against vitalism, supervenience is
ineffective; and as a weapon against physicalism, it is unnecessary. But
that's not all. I also have some worries about Sober's assertion that a
property is not physical when "different objects may share the property
and yet be physically quite different." Does it mean that two different
objects cannot have the same mass, or the same velocity, or the same
kinetic energy? Or is it that mass, velocity and kinetic energy are not
physical properties? I don't want to judge Sober too harshly; he may have
elaborated this point in some other work with which I am not familiar. But
as it stands in _The Nature of Selection_, it is sheer nonsense.

Finally, a word in defense of reductionism. When Sober says that
physicalism cannot explain what fitness is, he is right insofar as fitness
is conceived as a property of the organism taken in isolation from its
environment. I prefer to think of fitness as a property of the system
(ecological, social, economical, physical, etc.) which comprises both the
organism and its environment. An example from physics may help to
elucidate this point. Drag is a resistive force generated when a solid
body is propelled through liquid or gas. As with fitness, different bodies
can have the same drag. It doesn't mean, of course, that drag is not a
physical property. It is - but not of the body alone; it is a property of
the mechanical system which comprises the body and its medium.  I don't
have a clear idea of how it is to be done, but I believe that fitness
must ultimately be reducible to empirical terms, conceived along the same
lines, as a property of the organism plus its environment.

J.Miller

(All citations are from E.Sober _The Nature of Selection_, 1984)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:50>From gerson@hooked.net Mon Oct 16 16:16:09 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 14:16:29 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: gerson@hooked.net (Elihu M. Gerson)
Subject: Re: Selection Theory Bibliography on WWW

>Gary Cziko wrote:
>
>>As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
>>selection theory" which makes the claim that ALL forms of adapted
>>complexity--from organisms and their antibodies to scientific theories
>>and technological innovations--emerge from a processes involving blind
>>variation and selective retention.  <snip>

I think al kinds of culturally transmitted standards of behavior are
exceptions to this claim. For example, small children in this society
usually learn to look both ways before they cross the street, and this
learning is not a matter of blind variation and selective retention.
Similarly, neither is any kind of planned activity --for example, writing
and publishing a book which makes the claim quoted above. And of course,
planned institutional and/or organizational changes are another example.
For example, it seems to me that Roizen's study of the Research Council on
Problems of Alcohol is an excellent example of planned or "engineered"
response to changing circumstances-- a perfect contrast to "blind
variation".

All that aside (and I think all that contains most, if not all, of what
people do), computer scientists have developed many problem-solving
heuristics that are far more sophisticated and powerful than blind
variation and selective retention (which they call "hill-climbing"). All of
these involve the use of current knowledge, planning and other procedures
to anticipate the world systematically.

For one discussion by Herbert Simon and his colleagues (and Simon was an
early advocate of evolutionary epistemology) see:  P. Langley, H.A. Simon,
G.L. Bradshaw and J.M. Zytkow. 1987. _Scientific Discovery: Computational
Explorations of the Creative Process._ Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

For another, in a differnet perspective, see J. H. Holland, K.J. Holyoak,
R.E. Nisbett and P.R. Thagard. 1986. _Induction: Processes of Inference,
Learning, and Discovery._ Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone: 415-285-7837   Fax: 415-648-7660  gerson@hooked.net

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:51>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Mon Oct 16 17:27:26 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 17:29:16 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Gerson: Learning as Variation and Selection

[from Gary Cziko]

In reponse to my statement:

>>>As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
>>>selection theory" which makes the claim that ALL forms of adapted
>>>complexity--from organisms and their antibodies to scientific theories
>>>and technological innovations--emerge from a processes involving blind
>>>variation and selective retention.  <snip>

Elihu M. Gerson wrote:

>I think al kinds of culturally transmitted standards of behavior are
>exceptions to this claim.

Chapters 7 and 10 in _Without Miracles_ argue otherwise.

>For example, small children in this society
>usually learn to look both ways before they cross the street, and this
>learning is not a matter of blind variation and selective retention.

I am not implying that such learning necessarily involves blind variations
of overt behaviors (this is where Skinner made one major error).  Instead,
much human learning involves the vicarious variation and selection of
thought trials.  See chapters 7 and 9.

>Similarly, neither is any kind of planned activity --for example, writing
>and publishing a book which makes the claim quoted above.

I disagree.  First of all, I don't believe we actually plan _activities_,
but rather what is planned is the intended outcome of our activities.  And
I know from personal experience that a whole lot of trial and error
elimination was involved in writing _my_ book (with, inevitably, some
errors still remaining to be eliminated later).  That's why I find word
processing so handy for writing.  We can make all sorts of plans, but for
achieving truly novel outcomes, I don't see how blind variation and
selection can be bypassed (watch someone learn to ice skate or speak a
foreign language or learn to program a computer).

>All that aside (and I think all that contains most, if not all, of what
>people do), computer scientists have developed many problem-solving
>heuristics that are far more sophisticated and powerful than blind
>variation and selective retention (which they call "hill-climbing"). All of
>these involve the use of current knowledge, planning and other procedures
>to anticipate the world systematically.

And what happens if the anticipation is in error?  Do these heuristics
provide for trying out new anticipations and then consequently judging
their worth?  If so, that's Darwinian variation and selection once again.
If not, I wouldn't call they truly intelligent (intelligence for me means
being able to figure out what to do when you don't already know what to
do).  Probably the best examples are what are known as genetic algorithms
and genetic programming--discussed in chapter 13. And of course things like
wind tunnels and computer simulations allow us to try out our variations
more quickly, safely, and at lower cost than real-life trials.

>For one discussion by Herbert Simon and his colleagues (and Simon was an
>early advocate of evolutionary epistemology) see:  P. Langley, H.A. Simon,
>G.L. Bradshaw and J.M. Zytkow. 1987. _Scientific Discovery: Computational
>Explorations of the Creative Process._ Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
>
>For another, in a differnet perspective, see J. H. Holland, K.J. Holyoak,
>R.E. Nisbett and P.R. Thagard. 1986. _Induction: Processes of Inference,
>Learning, and Discovery._ Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

I am most familiar with Thagard's work in this respect and his critiques of
evolutionary epistemology which I critique in chapter 15.

I think you will find _Without Miracles_ of interest (but I can't guarantee
that you'll like it).  It was just reviewed by David Hull in _Nature_ (12
October, page 494).

--Gary

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:52>From gerson@hooked.net Mon Oct 16 20:15:27 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 18:15:39 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: gerson@hooked.net (Elihu M. Gerson)
Subject: Learning as Variation and Selection

>[from Gary Cziko]

>....First of all, I don't believe we actually plan _activities_,
>but rather what is planned is the intended outcome of our activities.  And
>I know from personal experience that a whole lot of trial and error
>elimination was involved in writing _my_ book (with, inevitably, some
>errors still remaining to be eliminated later).  That's why I find word
>processing so handy for writing.  We can make all sorts of plans, but for
>achieving truly novel outcomes, I don't see how blind variation and
>selection can be bypassed (watch someone learn to ice skate or speak a
>foreign language or learn to program a computer).

But of course, all this has nothing to do with blind variation and
selective retention. We work with an end in view, and our "mistakes" are
identified as such precisely because they hinder us in achieving the end,
and are eliminated accordingly. This is the opposite of "blind variation"
the way Darwin and modern evolutionary biologists have used the notion;
rather, the process is a kind of "orthogenesis".

....

>And what happens if the anticipation is in error?  Do these heuristics
>provide for trying out new anticipations and then consequently judging
>their worth?  If so, that's Darwinian variation and selection once again.

No it isn't. Claiming that Darwinian variation and selection "provide for
trying out new anticipations and then consequently judging their worth"
stretches the notion of random variation so far that it covers everything
and nothing. What, for example, is the difference between blind variation
and selective retention so defined, and inheritance of acquired characters?

>Probably the best examples are what are known as genetic algorithms
>and genetic programming--discussed in chapter 13.

The variations produced by genetic algorithms are not blind; they rely
heavily on past experience. That is a major reason why such heuristics are
so effective.

>And of course things like
>wind tunnels and computer simulations allow us to try out our variations
>more quickly, safely, and at lower cost than real-life trials.

Thus making the variations in the airplane design not at all blind. Running
models in a wind tunnel and on computers is *not* the same thing as
building and flying an airplane. Whenever some such "anticipation" is
introduced into the process, the variation is no longer blind, and the
change is no longer Darwinian. This was the fundamental error in Campbell's
original paper.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone: 415-285-7837   Fax: 415-648-7660  gerson@hooked.net

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:53>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Mon Oct 16 22:47:25 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 22:49:14 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Re: Learning as Variation and Selection

[from Gary Cziko]

>> = Gary Cziko previous
>  = Elihi Gerson response
   = Gary Cziko now

>>....First of all, I don't believe we actually plan _activities_,
>>but rather what is planned is the intended outcome of our activities.  And
>>I know from personal experience that a whole lot of trial and error
>>elimination was involved in writing _my_ book (with, inevitably, some
>>errors still remaining to be eliminated later).  That's why I find word
>>processing so handy for writing.  We can make all sorts of plans, but for
>>achieving truly novel outcomes, I don't see how blind variation and
>>selection can be bypassed (watch someone learn to ice skate or speak a
>>foreign language or learn to program a computer).

>But of course, all this has nothing to do with blind variation and
>selective retention. We work with an end in view, and our "mistakes" are
>identified as such precisely because they hinder us in achieving the end,
>and are eliminated accordingly. This is the opposite of "blind variation"
>the way Darwin and modern evolutionary biologists have used the notion;

Yes, you are right in that biological evolution has no long-range goal
(although the organisms that evolve certainly have).  But all this means is
that the selection criteria are different, not that the process of
cumulative variation and selection is fundamentally different in the two
cases.  By your reasoning, it appears to me you would have to say that
plant and animal breeding was not Darwinian in nature since the human
breeders have a goal in mind and select the next generation of reproducing
organisms accordingly.

>>And what happens if the anticipation is in error?  Do these heuristics
>>provide for trying out new anticipations and then consequently judging
>>their worth?  If so, that's Darwinian variation and selection once again.
>
>No it isn't. Claiming that Darwinian variation and selection "provide for
>trying out new anticipations and then consequently judging their worth"
>stretches the notion of random variation so far that it covers everything
>and nothing.

No, it covers only those processes resulting in adapted complexity, which
is probably an infinitesimally small proportion of all that is going on in
the universe at any one moment in time.  And it probably covers only a very
small part of the human historical sciences as well.  But it is what I am
interested in, and it is the only nonmiraculous explanation I know of that
can account for the puzzles of fit we see everywhere around us in the
biosphere, including organis evolution, human problem solving, and
scientific progress.

>What, for example, is the difference between blind variation
>and selective retention so defined, and inheritance of acquired characters?

Much of _Without Miracles_ is devoted to discussing this difference--and it
is a big difference.  To put it (too) simply, a selectionist process is a
creative processes whereby organism propose "solutions" which are filtered
(selected) by the enviroment.  The inheritance of acquired characters is a
instructionist process whereby the enviroment somehow causes the right
variations to appear in the genome which are then passed on to the
offspring.  Modern biology accepts the former (selection) but not the
latter (Lamarckian instruction).  I argue that the "transmission" of
culture is not Lamarckian either, but rather a creative selectionist
process where by individuals must recreate culture for him or herself,
which is never exactly the same as the culture of his or her parents.

>>Probably the best examples are what are known as genetic algorithms
>>and genetic programming--discussed in chapter 13.
>
>The variations produced by genetic algorithms are not blind; they rely
>heavily on past experience. That is a major reason why such heuristics are
>so effective.

The hangup here is the word "blind."  "Blind" as I use it does not mean
unconstrained or that past experience plays no role.  It simply means that
the process which generates the variations does not know which or any of
them will be successful.  Knowledge results from cumulative rounds of
variations which are blind in this sense and consequent selection using
either a "natural" criterion (an organism's reproductive success) or
"artificial" one (a car's fuel efficiency).  Biological evolution certainly
relies on past experience, so would you then say that mutations and sexual
recombination of genes are not blind proesses?  And if you don't see
genetic algoriths sharing essential similarities with biological evolution
(on which they were stricly modeled, including sexual recombination), then
we are going to have a very tough time communicating indeed.

>>And of course things like
>>wind tunnels and computer simulations allow us to try out our variations
>>more quickly, safely, and at lower cost than real-life trials.

>Thus making the variations in the airplane design not at all blind. Running
>models in a wind tunnel and on computers is *not* the same thing as
>building and flying an airplane. Whenever some such "anticipation" is
>introduced into the process, the variation is no longer blind, and the
>change is no longer Darwinian. This was the fundamental error in Campbell's
>original paper.

I'm having trouble following your reasoning here.  Are you implying that
building and flight testing a real airplane involves blind variation, but
using a wind tunnel or computer simulation does not?

But then again, I've never designed an airplane, so what do I know?  So
let's see aeronautical engineer and historian Walter Vincenti says in his
_What Engineers Know and How They Know It_ (1990; Johns Hopkins University
Press) which provides five case histories of importance in the evolution of
the modern airplane:

"engineers have freedom to be increasingly blind in their trial variations
as their means of vicarious selection become more reliable. One sees
engineers today, for example, using computer models to explore a much wider
field of possibilities than they were able to select from just a decade
ago." (p. 250)

Notice how Vincenti says that computer models allow engineers to be
"increasingly blind," not less so.

and

"From outside or in retrospect, the entire process tends to seem more
ordered and intentional-less blind-than it usually is. It is difficult to
learn what goes on in even the conscious minds of others, and we all prefer
to remember our rational achievements and forget the fumblings and ideas
that didn't work out." (p. 246)

We could probably argue these and other points ad infinitum in a
"no-it's-not," "yes-it-is" fashion.  But the best place for an extended
"yes-it-is" argument is to be found in _Without Miracles_.  So why don't
you take a look and then let me know what you think?

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:54>From schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU Mon Oct 16 23:48:24 1995

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 21:48:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Learning as Variation and Selection

Humans, just like other animals, find some things easier to learn than
others.  This makes many people suspect the operation of natural selection
over past evolutionary history. Even though the rule: "look before
crossing the street" is not innate, it is likely that the reason parents
find it important to teach their children this bit of wisdom (and the
reason many children learn it on their own) ultimately DOES have to do
with Darwinian selection.

I also don't buy the argument that "planning" and natural selection on
random variation (or acquired characteristics) are mutually exclusive.
(Appologies if this is my mis-reading)  Clearly both occur in the same
process of cultural change.

More importantly, however, is the whole question of exactly how much of
human society is really planned by any one (or any small group of people).
Hayek's argument, which is almost never mentioned in discussions such as
this, is that society is a self-organizing system, and that really no one
is planning it at all.  The amount of knowledge that is necessary to plan
a society (or institution, or whatever) is far beyond what any small group
of people could ever know.  This doesn't stop us from deluding ourselves
that somehow we really could be (and should be) in control of everything.
Hence we have things like prohibition (being echoed in the various "wars
on drugs" in the last decades), and the Soviet Union and other attempts at
communism, and so on.  Hayek's point is that complexity of a social system
is not evidence for planning, conscious forethought, etc.

For those who have not heard of Hayek, one place to start might be his
(1973) Law Legislation and Liberty, V.1, Rules and Order, U.Chicago Press.

P. Thomas Schoenemann
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
(schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:55>From bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au Tue Oct 17 04:17:43 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 17:15:50 +0800 (WST)
From: Hugo Bouckaert <bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Bauplaene are not adaptive?

On Sat, 14 Oct 1995, CZIKO Gary wrote:

> [from Gary Cziko <g-cziko@uiuc.edu]
>
> In response to Tom Schoenemann, Hugo Bouckaert wrote:
>
> >The bauplane [sic] then is a historical
> >feature, that is likely to represent adaptive trade-offs. These adaptive
> >trade-offs may incorporate further aptations, but also constrain further
> >aptations. In that sense they - and the bodyplan that represents them -
> >cannot be treated in the same conceptual way that aptations are:
> >aptations are generally thought of as having a specific functional link
> >with the environment, and underlying body plans represent - within a
> >historical context - the compromises necessary between these functional
> >links so that an organism can carry out a variety of functions.
>
> So a bauplan appears to be designed in such a way that the various systems
> of an organism can work together effectively.
>
> Now if the types of possible bauplaene were serverly limited by some
> physical laws of form or development, then I might be able to see how
> organisms might just have to put up with what it got and design the rest of
> its systems around its bauplan.  But this hardly seems the case when I
> consider the staggering variety of life forms both living and exctinct.  So
> I am having some difficulty understanding why a bauplan is not an
> adaptation.  I suppose it might not be an "aptation" as argued above, but
> then I do not quite understand what an "aptation" is and how it differs
> form an "adaptation."
>
> --Gary Cziko
>
> P.S.  I am still waiting for someone to provide a mechanism other than
> blind variation and selection that can generate adapted complexity.  That
> is actually where this particular thread began before drifting off to
> interesting topics related to exaptation and bauplaene.  I would like to
> find an alternative, since then I could write another book to correct my
> radically selectionist arguments in _Without Miracles_

Just to clarify a few things: once a bauplane exists (such as the
tetrapod design or the pentadactyl design) it does constrain further
adaptive change. This is, I think, for two reasons: firstly any adaptive
improvement of a particular trait has also to ensure a better
functional design of the whole system. Secondly, previously existing
patterns of epigenetic development (which include, of course the
formation of the underlying bodyplan) limit the kind of changes
that can be achieved. In other words, future changes have to fit in with
the pattern of development of existing structures. The term
 "aptation", separate from  "adaptation" was first used I think,
by Gould and also Vermeij. "Aptation" refers to the adapted structure
(the adaptive trait) and "adaptation" is used to describe the adaptive
process which has, as an end result, an aptation.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:56>From gerson@hooked.net Tue Oct 17 07:29:24 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 05:29:43 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: gerson@hooked.net (Elihu M. Gerson)
Subject: Learning as Variation and Selection

[from Gary Cziko]

"The hangup here is the word "blind."  "Blind" as I use it does not mean
unconstrained or that past experience plays no role.  It simply means that
the process which generates the variations does not know which or any of
them will be successful.  Knowledge results from cumulative rounds of
variations which are blind in this sense and consequent selection using
either a "natural" criterion (an organism's reproductive success) or
"artificial" one (a car's fuel efficiency).  Biological evolution certainly
relies on past experience, so would you then say that mutations and sexual
recombination of genes are not blind proesses?  And if you don't see
genetic algoriths sharing essential similarities with biological evolution
(on which they were stricly modeled, including sexual recombination), then
we are going to have a very tough time communicating indeed."

Indeed we are. Genetic algorithms produce variations by generating
approaches which are similar to successful previous approaches-- their
variation is not random with respect to efficacy of outcome. Thus, they are
not Darwinian, and do not use blind variation. They do offer a
non-miraculous way of producing adaptations in certain circumstances.

"Blind" does not mean "the process which generates the variations does not
know which or any of them will be successful".  "Blind" means indifferent
with respect to efficacy of outcome. When people design airplanes, they
make many mistakes nad consider many alternatives in, say, wing shape. But
they do not remove the wings altogether, or put both of them on one side of
the plane, or make them extremely large or small. They try variations which
*might work* or which *seem plausible*. Their trials are not random or
blind; the range of potential variations is restricted.

So, once again: any process in which variation is restricted ahead of time
by some criterion of "better or worse" is not Darwinian, and is not "blind
variation". This includes virtually all human conduct, individual and
organizational. Perhaps some kinds of early childhood learning can be
described as Darwinian, but I'd have to be shown.

Enough said on this; Gary if your book contains arguments that aren't based
on this error, I'd love to read it-- by all means send me a copy.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone: 415-285-7837   Fax: 415-648-7660  gerson@hooked.net

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:57>From dsamorim@usp.br Tue Oct 17 08:13:50 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 10:53:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: Dalton de Souza Amorim <dsamorim@usp.br>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Selection Theory Bibliography on WWW

On Mon, 16 Oct 1995, Elihu M. Gerson wrote:

> >Gary Cziko wrote:
> >>
> >>As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
> >>selection theory" ...

	Popper claimed that highly explanative theories were
proportionally highly uninformative theories. That was even one of his
criteria to separate science from metaphysics. It doesn't matter too
much how we define science --that is a matter of definition. But
there would be few doubts that theories that explain everything are
certainly unable to inform (predict) anything. This has been strongly
overlooked by many authors on the search for an evolutionary testable
theory, particularly adaptationists.

Dalton.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:58>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Tue Oct 17 12:36:42 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 12:38:34 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Re: Learning as Variation and Selection

[from Gary Cziko]

> = Elihu Gerson
  = Gary Cziko

>Genetic algorithms produce variations by generating
>approaches which are similar to successful previous approaches-- their
>variation is not random with respect to efficacy of outcome. Thus, they are
>not Darwinian, and do not use blind variation. They do offer a
>non-miraculous way of producing adaptations in certain circumstances.

And exactly the same could be said of biological evolution.  So then do you
also believe that mutations and sexual genetic recombinations are not
blind, and that biological evolution is not Darwinian?  And you never
answered my question about whether selective breeding was Darwinian.

I also believe that you are going to have a tough time convincing John
Holland (developer of genetic algorithms) and John Koza (developer of
genetic programming) that their methods are not Darwinian.

The variations are changes on what has been selected previously.  In
purposeful evolution where a human has a goal in mind, an improvement is
wanted.  It is not known which variations (if any) will provide an
improvement.  In this sense the variations are blind, but not necessarily
unconstrainted.  In organic evolution, there is no overall goal, but
variations are provided anyway.  In both cases, If you don't like the world
"blind," try  "unjustified," "unforesighted," "nonprescient," "undirected,"
"haphazard," "groping," "stupid," or "dumb."  Darwin referred to variations
"in all directions."  The important point is that _new_ knowledge is
generated to the extent to which previous dumb variations are found to be
fit for some function.

As Don Campbell explained it:

      Intelligent variations require an explanation for how
      these variations or hypotheses came to be
      wise-in-advance. That most hypotheses are wise, I have
      no doubt. As such, they reflect already achieved
      knowledge or, at very least, wise restrictions on the
      search space. Such wisdom does not, however, explain
      further advances in knowledge. That hypotheses, even if
      not wise, are far from random, I agree. But wise or stupid,
      restraints on the search space do not explain novel
      solutions. (Campbell, 1990, p. 9)

You are having trouble convincing me that genetic algorithms and genetic
programming are not Darwinian.  And I'm sure that you will also have
trouble convincing

>"Blind" does not mean "the process which generates the variations does not
>know which or any of them will be successful".

It obviously doesn't to you.  It does to me.  If is not foresighted
variation which explains new knowledge, but rather hindsighted selection.

>"Blind" means indifferent
>with respect to efficacy of outcome. When people design airplanes, they
>make many mistakes nad consider many alternatives in, say, wing shape. But
>they do not remove the wings altogether,

I wonder then how the helicopter was ever invented.

>or put both of them on one side of
>the plane, or make them extremely large or small. They try variations which
>*might work* or which *seem plausible*. Their trials are not random or
>blind; the range of potential variations is restricted.

Again, blind to me does not necessarily mean unrestricted or unconstrained.
It does to you, so how about offering a better word (perhaps from the
choices above)?

Here's about the best example I have of how blindness and contraints go
hand and hand, taken from _Without Miracles_.

===================================================================
So it cannot be denied that previously achieved knowledge has an important
role to play in constraining the variations to be investigated.
Nonetheless, the new concoction is still a blind variation in the sense
that the scientist does not know, and cannot know, if the resulting
material will be an improvement over previous ones. It is in this important
sense that the variation, although far from random and unconstrained,
remains blind. The manner in which you grope about in a dark room to find
the light switch changes significantly after making contact with the wall
on which the switch is located. What were three-dimensional gropings now
become two-dimensional ones. And as you encounter the molding along which
you know the switch is located, your gropings become further constrained to
just one dimension. But although they may become progressively and usefully
constrained over time, an unavoidable blind component exists in your
gropings until you actually find the switch.
====================================================================

>Enough said on this; Gary if your book contains arguments that aren't based
>on this error, I'd love to read it-- by all means send me a copy.

I am sorry that this "error" pervades my entire book.  So I will not be
able to send you a copy.

I'd be interested to hear what other Darwin-L subscribers have to say about
this discussion.

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:59>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Tue Oct 17 12:36:43 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 12:38:36 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Universal Selection Theory

[from Gary Cziko]

Dalton de Souza Amorim wrote:

>        Popper claimed that highly explanative theories were
>proportionally highly uninformative theories. That was even one of his
>criteria to separate science from metaphysics. It doesn't matter too
>much how we define science --that is a matter of definition. But
>there would be few doubts that theories that explain everything are
>certainly unable to inform (predict) anything. This has been strongly
>overlooked by many authors on the search for an evolutionary testable
>theory, particularly adaptationists.

I would have to read Popper again on this, but I seem to remember Popper
saying that it was _falsifiability_ which separated science from
non-science.  Using the reasoning above, we would have say that Newtonian
physics and general relativity were "highly uninformative theories."

Universal selection theory does not attempt to exlain everything in the
universe.  Only the emergence of adapted complexity.  As I said earlier,
this is probably a vastly tiny part of what is happening in the universe,
and maybe even a small part of what happens in biological evolution, as
Gould with his mass extinctions and Kimura with his neutralism have pointed
out.  But it is what I ( Darwin, Dawkins, Dennett, and G. C. Williams) find
of particular interest.

And it is testable.  You need a source of variation, a way of selecting the
better ones, and then of reproducing them with variations to start the
process over again.  Mechanisms for all these processes have been found in
the mammalian immune system, for example.  And there is increasing evidence
that this also happens in the brain (Bill Calvin, why don't you chime in
here?).  Bob Siegler's work on children's development of strategies for
solving arithmetic problems documents a quite amazing degree of variation
in their strategies, variation which has been hidden by previous studies
focussing on group statistics.

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:60>From gerson@hooked.net Tue Oct 17 15:20:37 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 13:20:52 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: gerson@hooked.net (Elihu M. Gerson)
Subject: Re: Learning as Variation and Selection

>[from Gary Cziko]
>
>> = Elihu Gerson
>  = Gary Cziko
>
>>Genetic algorithms produce variations by generating
>>approaches which are similar to successful previous approaches-- their
>>variation is not random with respect to efficacy of outcome. Thus, they are
>>not Darwinian, and do not use blind variation. They do offer a
>>non-miraculous way of producing adaptations in certain circumstances.
>
>And exactly the same could be said of biological evolution.  So then do you
>also believe that mutations and sexual genetic recombinations are not
>blind, and that biological evolution is not Darwinian?  And you never
>answered my question about whether selective breeding was Darwinian.

No. In biological evolution, organisms do not store explicit information
about previous generations' success or failure at problem solving. The
relative success is given in the fact that there are more of some kinds of
organism than others. In Holland's genetic algorithms, that is not the
case-- the organism-analogs store and refer to information about their
"characters'" past success. They then explicitly generate problem-solving
approaches using this information. Once again: the source of variation and
the criteria of selection are tied together; the variation is not "blind";
the  variations produced are not "in all directions", but  some directions
are preferred over others. This is not Darwinian evolution.

Selective breeding is Darwinian, precisely because the mechanism which
generates mutations does not consult with the breeder. It generates
variations in all directions whether the breeder is there or not, and the
breeder selects the ones s/he likes. In this case, source of variation and
criterion of selection are separate and uncorrelated; evolution is
Darwinian.

>>"Blind" means indifferent
>>with respect to efficacy of outcome. When people design airplanes, they
>>make many mistakes nad consider many alternatives in, say, wing shape. But
>>they do not remove the wings altogether,
>
>I wonder then how the helicopter was ever invented.

I'm not sure what this means. Helicopters fly by rotating their wings
(sometimes they have two sets of wings rotating in opposite directions).
What does that have to do with generating effective variations on a class
of designs?  Heavier-than-air craft don't fly without wings, and designers
don't try to build them. The variation on wing design is not in all
directions; some directions are preferred over others. This is not
Darwinian evolution.

We seem to be repeating ourselves without making progress here, so I think
we should move on to another topic.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone: 415-285-7837   Fax: 415-648-7660  gerson@hooked.net

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:61>From czbb062@access.texas.gov Tue Oct 17 18:27:03 1995

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 18:27:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: czbb062 <czbb062@access.texas.gov>
Subject: Re: Universal Selection Theory
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Someone wrote:

        Popper claimed that highly explanative theories were
        proportionally highly uninformative theories....

Like F=ma?

Michael Eisenstadt (czbb062@access.texas.gov)

http://www.eden.com/~madelon (<-Madelon's Recent Paintings)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:62>From dsamorim@usp.br Wed Oct 18 06:06:35 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 09:06:17 -0500 (CDT)
From: Dalton de Souza Amorim <dsamorim@usp.br>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Universal Selection Theory

Gary Cziko replied to my observation on the explanative power and
informative content of theories, noting that

> it was _falsifiability_ which separated science from
> non-science.

I should read Popper again, but I understand that they are in a large
extant faces of the same coin. If a particular theory is unable to make
clear predictions (because _any_ phenomenon on a given aspect of the
universe, as biological evolution, would be explained by the theory),
than it is not falsifiable. The question, as I can understand, to be
presented to a theory is "What can not occur?" (in the sense of what is
definitely not expected by the theory).

> Mechanisms for all these processes have been found in the mammalian
> immune system, for example.  And there is increasing evidence
> that this also happens in the brain (Bill Calvin, why don't you chime in
> here?).  Bob Siegler's work on children's development of strategies for
> solving arithmetic problems documents a quite amazing degree of variation
> in their strategies, variation which has been hidden by previous studies
> focussing on group statistics...

The problems with theories is not what they do explain, but what they do not
explain. I still can not appropriately find what is not expected by
adaptationists theories. Anyway, I would be very happy to see this
question answered and have a better view of adaptation as a falsifiable
scientific theory.

Dalton.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:63>From dsamorim@usp.br Wed Oct 18 06:10:48 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 09:09:50 -0500 (CDT)
From: Dalton de Souza Amorim <dsamorim@usp.br>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Universal Selection Theory

> Eisenstadt wrote:
>
> Like F=ma?

	No, like the situations where F is different from ma.

Dalton.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:64>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Wed Oct 18 09:50:48 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 10:50:58 -0400
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Cziko's universalism

>I am still waiting for someone to provide a mechanism other than
>blind variation and selection that can generate adapted complexity.

>As some of you may know, I am a proponent of what I call "universal
>selection theory" which makes the claim that ALL forms of adapted
>complexity--from organisms and their antibodies to scientific theories and
>technological innovations--emerge from a processes involving blind
>variation and selective retention.

        I read Gary Cziko's (now oft requoted) challenge & claim with
interest.    I wonder if a) there is really any disagreement to be had b)
if he really means to universalize selection c) why selectionists become
evangelical.  I will address these concerns in reverse order.

        Implicit in a title like _Without Miracles_ is that competing
explanations somehow rely on "miracles."  I suspect that if we asked for a
show of hands for vitalists, creationists, skyhook sympathizers... few
would step into that spotlight from this list.  So where does such baiting
come from?

        It has happened before that people who gain a clear understanding
get frustrated when they return to share it and the "pivotal" importance of
their accomplishment doesn't overwhelm their friends.

        When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and
        the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets
        out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot
        of the mountain.  Exodus 32:19 (English-NIV)

        Does this feeling stoke the engines for Gary and/or Dan Dennett?

        It may be that the intended audience for Gary's book does regularly
use miracles to get them through an explanation.  But Bob O'Hara has
rightly pleaded with us to not engage the American pathology of creationism
here.  Besides I suspect that Gary's book is not really for Duane Gish.  So
maybe, like Dan Dennett, Gary sees miracles lurking in the shadows pulling
the strings.  So Gould is a marionette hanging from skyhooks.  I have
previously expressed my opinion that this is a misreading, and I think the
burden of proof rests heavily on the (pan,universal) selectionists to show
that this is the case and not on the rest of us to dissuade them.

        Nevertheless I will try to dissuade Gary from "universal
selctionism."  I am suspicious (with Dalton de Souza Amorim and Karl
Popper) about theories that seem to explain too much.

                It was in the summer of 1919 that I began to feel more
        and more dissatisfied with these three theories - the Marxist
        theory of history, psychoanalysis [Freud], and individual
        psychology [Adler]; and I began to feel dubious about their
        claims to scientific status....

                I found that those of my friends who were admirers of
        Marx, Freud, and Adler, were impressed by a number of points
        common to these theories, and especially their _explanatory
        power_.  These theories seemed to explain practically everything
        that happened within the fields to which they referred.  The
        study of any of them seemed to hace the effect of an intellectual
        conversion or revelation, opening your eyes to a new truth hidden
        from those not yet initiated.  Once your eyes were thus opened
        you saw confirming instances everywhere: the world was full of
        _verifications_ of the theory.  Whatever happened always confirmed
        it.  Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were
        clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who
        refused to see it, ...

                from Popper(1962) p34-35

        From this discussion Popper goes on to talk about the importance of
making theories that can in principle be falsified.  In trying to
reconstruct the unique history of this planet (see Sober) we run the risk
of having a theory that says something like; the world is populated by
those forms that are not selected against (to be selected against is to
die, leave no offspring, go extinct,...), therefore every instance is one
that is selected for (or atleast not against).  Loose talk like this can't
help but be the case.  It is part of the job of the Universal selectionist
to demonstrate how this caricature is _not_ what is claimed.

        Is the following from Gary enough?
>Universal selection theory does not attempt to exlain everything in the
>universe.  Only the emergence of adapted complexity.  As I said earlier,
>this is probably a vastly tiny part of what is happening in the universe,
>and maybe even a small part of what happens in biological evolution, as
>Gould with his mass extinctions and Kimura with his neutralism have pointed
>out.  But it is what I ( Darwin, Dawkins, Dennett, and G. C. Williams) find
>of particular interest.

        Finally, is there really a disagreement here?  If I point to the
recent work on eyeless that shows that "anatomically distinct structures
may well arise by virtue of common regulatory pathways." (McKnight, S. and
Schibler, U. 1995)  (I can't encourage you enough to check out this recent
work - a good review just came out Halder, G. et al. 1995).  This indicates
that eyes did _not_ result as multiple independent (creative) selectionist
stories (compare Salvini-Plawen, Lv and Mayr, E. 1977).  But it (pointedly)
still allows that selection was relevant in the details of compound eyes or
the single lens eyes of humans or squids.

        If Gould, Raup and Sepkoski remind us that there are such
highlevels of extinction that extant taxa are not statistically
representative of the "fittest" (my cumbersome way of say that the tape
won't replay the same way) this need not imply that selectionism isn't part
of the story.  This is the case even if we are talking about honest
selectionism (more than just the survivors are fit).  Gary wants examples
of a mechanism other than (undirected) variation and selection.

        I want to know all of the details of the history of life.  Once I
get my story will Gary/Dennett/Williams see variation and selection in it?
Certainly.  So do we have not basis for disagreement?

        cheers,

        - Jeremy

__________________
Cziko, Gary (1995) Without miracles: universal selection theory and the
second Darwinian revolution.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [QH375 .C95 1995]

Halder, G. et al. (1995) "New Perspectives on Eye Evolution" Current
Opinion in Genetics & Development. v5 p602-609.

McKnight, S. and Schibler, U. (1995) "Differentiation and gene regulation:
editorial overview" Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. v5 p549-551.

Popper, Karl (1962) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific
Knowledge.  NY: Basic Books.

Salvini-Plawen, Lv and Mayr, E. (1977) "On the evolution of photoreceptors
and eyes" Evolutionary Biology. v10 p207-263.

Sober, Elliott (1988) Reconstructing the past: parsimony, evolution, and
inference.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [QH371 .S63 1988]

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:65>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Wed Oct 18 10:48:40 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 10:50:32 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Falsifiability; Adaptation

[from Gary Cziko]

> = Dalton de Souza

>        I should read Popper again, but I understand that they are in a large
>extant faces of the same coin. If a particular theory is unable to make
>clear predictions (because _any_ phenomenon on a given aspect of the
>universe, as biological evolution, would be explained by the theory),
>than it is not falsifiable. The question, as I can understand, to be
>presented to a theory is "What can not occur?" (in the sense of what is
>definitely not expected by the theory).

F = ma tells us what occurs as well as what cannot occur. It tells us,
among other things, is that to double the acceleration of an object we have
to apply twice the force.  Or apply the same force to an object that is
twice as heavy.  It makes very specific predictions and is falsifiable,
although any one falsification can be in error (e.g., your scale is
inaccurate; watch out for "naive falsification").

>The problems with theories is not what they do explain, but what they do not
>explain. I still can not appropriately find what is not expected by
>adaptationists theories.

I'm not sure what an "adaptationist theory" is.  If by this you mean the
theory that all evolutionary changes are adaptive, that is quite easily
falsified.  Much of molecular evolution appears to be neutral.  And
extinctions are the rule rather than the exception in biological evolution
(I suppose humans could be the exception if our technology develops fast
enough to keep ahead of our consumption and pollution).

>Anyway, I would be very happy to see this
>question answered and have a better view of adaptation as a falsifiable
>scientific theory.

Adaptation is not a theory as I understand it.  Just look around at the
living world and you will see countless remarkable instances of the fit of
organisms to environment (including the environment of other organisms).
Adaptation is a fact, in the same way that evolution is a fact (no, not a
100% sure fact, but pretty close, like the fact that the earth is basically
a sphere).  Natural selection is a theory of adaptive evolution.  It
doesn't explain neutralism.  It doesn't explain self-organization (see
Stuart Kaufmann's new, very accessible book _Our Place in the Universe_).
It doesn't explain how and why meteorites cause extinctions.  It doesn't
say that an organism can't get lucky from time to time, so that some large
mutation can be adaptive (although the chances of this happening appear
very small).  And it doesn't say that a structure or behavior selected for
one purpose cannot be exapted for another.

But it looks pretty good so far as a theory of how phylogenetic adaptation
happens (in fact it is the only current theory that squares with the
observed facts of adaptive evolution).  And it is looking better and better
as a theory of how ontogenetic adaptation happens also (e.g., learning,
thought, adaptive cultural change including scientific progress, brain
development and adaptive synaptogenesis).

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:66>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Wed Oct 18 11:20:42 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 12:20:44 -0400
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Cziko's universalism (typo)

I wrote at the very end of my note:
>So do we have not basis for disagreement?

I meant, "So do we have a basis for disagreement?"

        thanks,

        Jeremy

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:67>From abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk Wed Oct 18 13:18:03 1995

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 07:53:08 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Andrew Brown <abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Learning as Variation and Selection

>Humans, just like other animals, find some things easier to learn than
>others.  This makes many people suspect the operation of natural selection
>over past evolutionary history. Even though the rule: "look before
>crossing the street" is not innate, it is likely that the reason parents
>find it important to teach their children this bit of wisdom (and the
>reason many children learn it on their own) ultimately DOES have to do
>with Darwinian selection.

At the risk of being vulgar, I think that "ultimately" is almost always a
weasel word in this kind of argument, because (ultimately) almost anything
can be brought into the chain of causation, and the decision as to where we
stop is arbitrary. In the example above, one might just as well argue that
the rule "look before crossing the street" ultimately comes down to physics,
because if the child and the car could occupy the same space at the same
time, then we wouldn't ned it.

>I also don't buy the argument that "planning" and natural selection on
>random variation (or acquired characteristics) are mutually exclusive.
>(Appologies if this is my mis-reading)  Clearly both occur in the same
>process of cultural change.

Yes. But they are different processes. It is the attempt to conflate the two
which  Elihu Gerson is arguing against.

>More importantly, however, is the whole question of exactly how much of
>human society is really planned by any one (or any small group of people).
>Hayek's argument, which is almost never mentioned in discussions such as
>this, is that society is a self-organizing system, and that really no one
>is planning it at all.  The amount of knowledge that is necessary to plan
>a society (or institution, or whatever) is far beyond what any small group
>of people could ever know.  This doesn't stop us from deluding ourselves
>that somehow we really could be (and should be) in control of everything.
>Hence we have things like prohibition (being echoed in the various "wars
>on drugs" in the last decades), and the Soviet Union and other attempts at
>communism, and so on.  Hayek's point is that complexity of a social system
>is not evidence for planning, conscious forethought, etc.

This is surely further evidence that planning, forethought and so on, as
things which individuals do and experience, are different from the unplanned
processes which shape society, and which are much closer to the operation of
evolution in biology. QED

Andrew Brown
footling at home
abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk
andrewb@well.com

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Darwin-L Message Log 26: 39-67 -- October 1995                              End

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