Re: god makes hubey

M.D. Winn (
22 Nov 1995 09:38:00 GMT

(lots deleted)

In article <>, (H. M. Hubey) writes:
|> (Phil Nicholls) writes:
|> >Alex is not claiming that evolution goes nowhere or has no direction.
|> He is, but it doesn't matter. I can argue against both :-)

|> Evolution is not driven
|> >toward the production of "intelligent" beings. If it were then there
|> >would be a great deal more intelligent species.
|> Words are inadequate to explain some concepts. Evolution refers
|> to evolution of all species. Then the fact that eventually intelligent
|> beings like us who can tinker with their own evolution will be
|> produced means that it will happen. That makes it "deterministic".
|> For you to anthromorphize a concept, and call it "a goal" is
|> just silly word playing. Humans have goals. We have a brain and we
|> think ahead and plan ahead. Where could evolution's brain exist?
|> The whole thing is a straw-man argument. Deterministic things happen
|> all the time without a brain. Rocks fall down, and we don't ask
|> how rocks came to know which way "down" is or how they figured
|> out that they should go down, and not up. There's both determinism
|> and direction, and no brain and no goal.

There seems to be some flexibility with the word "determinisim" here.
As I understand it (covering myself ;-), evolution is entirely governed
by short-termed contingencies. There is no pre-set long-term plan.
However, this short-term mechanism can lead to the same solutions
appearing several times (can't remember what the biologists call it,
but I think there are plenty of examples of adaptations arising
independently in different geographical areas). Equivalently, the
short-term mechanism of evolution can lead to a particular solution
arising WITH A HIGH DEGREE OF PROBABILITY. Mark might then be right
that intelligence is very likely to arise, and if it hadn't done it
via man, it would have done it some other way. BUT this is not the same
as saying the mechanism is deterministic. I guess I'll get into trouble
if I use the word emergence.....