Does evolution have a goal?

Reply Fri 14 Jul, 2006 06:44 pm
Evolution and extinction seem to follow the same chrono curve. That must mean that more of the apparently complex organisms go extinct at increasing rates.
and , of course, there is always

Willistons Law
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Reply Sat 15 Jul, 2006 04:36 am
Professor Elliot Sober of the University of Wisconsin gives a concise explanation of the role of "direction" in evolutionary theory:

The process of evolution by natural selection is not a uniform chance process. The process has two parts. Novel traits arise in individual organisms "by chance;" however, whether they then disappear from the population or increase in frequency and eventually reach 100% representation is anything but a "matter of chance." The central idea of natural selection is that traits that help organisms survive and reproduce have a better chance at becoming common than traits that hurt. The essence of natural selection is that evolutionary outcomes have unequal probabilities.
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Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 02:07 am
fresco wrote:
ebrown_p is correct.

"Goal direction" implies a "desired end state" (see cybernetics) Unless we evoke a reductionist argument for "desire" in terms of say "neural processes" then process of itself cannot have a goal.

process is the goal.

the meaning of life is living.

the step by step increase in complexity, from atoms to molecules to life to consciousness, to values is referred to as the theory of emergence or the theory of levels.

essentially, in the on-going process of the universe new qualities or forms appear which can not be deduced from the properties of the previous, less comlex levels which are the building blocks of the new level.

Ken Wilbur is the guy whose work brings this out most facily in his " A Brief History of Everything," but I read about it in college from Lloyd Morgan.

| Value
| Mind
| Life
| Matter

Olaf Stapledon's "Star Maker" uses it as a description of the ultimate meaning of the Cosmos, the striving to higher consciouseness as an attempt to merge with the Ultimate Creator fulfills the Creator's Plan and Itself.

And my favorite science fiction book (this side of a Kilgore Trout novel).
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