Re: god makes hubey

H. M. Hubey (
24 Nov 1995 22:12:42 -0500 (M.D. Winn) writes:

>There seems to be some flexibility with the word "determinisim" here.

THe word in its most general meaning has to do with being an antonym
of random. In some senses it has to do with being able to determine
in advance what is going to happen. Along similar lines it has
to do with whether we have equations that describe the phenomena
and if these equations are not random/stochastic. In an extended
sense it has to do with free will vs determinism and goes way back
to religion.

In the sense of biological determinism it's kind of sloganeering
or PC, probably started by Gould.

>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

One can always average stochastic/random equations and produce
equations for the averages which are deterministic. It all
depends on the level sophistication. The problem is with the
oversimplified sloganeering that is used in binary ways against
the opposition. Nobody who thinks seriously gets caught up
in such inanities. It's PC and sloganeering for the masses
who will shout it on Internet and in protest marches :-).

>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.....

IF there's a chance that something will happen chances are that it
will happen. IT just depends on the time scale. It's strange that
those who are used to talking about geological and cosmological
scales get caught in this simple trap.


Regards, Mark