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Re: Occam's bulldozer & natural selection & ceratopsians



Stephan Pickering wrote:
>natural selection, and other formulations are, thus, to be rooted in the
engines of the genome on the edge of chaos.<snip>Seen from above, however,
we see not individual ceratopsians, but a herd, what Stu Kauffman and others
call "adaptation to the edge of chaos".<snip>Stu Kauffman points to three
components of what we are alluding to (taken together, I suppose, these
could be "natural selection"): 1) "the tendency of complex dynamical systems
to fall into an ordered state without any selection pressure whatsoever"; 2)
the life of these dinosaurs being "self-regulation of the genome to produce
well defined cell types"; 3)"the postulated sudden waves of evolutionary
change known as 'punctuated equilibrium'".<
Perhaps it is because I have a poor understanding of math (due, in part to
my math learning disability), but all of this sounds quite odd, in respects
to being applied by someone who disliked the character Ian Malcolm and what
he espouses in a certain sequel novel, when this almost seems verbatim what
Malcolm was saying in the book (not because Stu copied from Creighton,
obviously, I would be implying the other way around). Maybe Stu contributed
to TLW novel, I cannot recall. None the less, this sort of seems to be a
dichotomy between two apparently similar things, where one shouldn't exist.

>Thomas Ray, in a 1991 symposium and major 1992 paper, points the way (some
have called it "Artificial Life"). One could (and why this has not been done
with dinosaurs is a puzzle to me), using the computer programmes of Tom Ray
et al., create a dinosaur herd/flock's self-replicating algorithms.<
It seems like you'd need a base for this algorithm, right? I mean, you can't
just pull stuff out of thin air. My question: how, exactly, could one
_accurately_ reproduce dinosaur behavior in a computer? Even if by some
miracle we did get it right, we would have no idea if it really was correct,
because we have no factual basis for it. For all we know, some paleoartists
out there may have actually portrayed a dinosaur _exactly_ as they were, but
we can still never know, because we haven't physically seen the animal they
are reconstructing. It is untestable, as untestable as matriarchal (or
patriarchal) ceratopsian herd, or infrasonic sauropods. Not saying that any
of this couldn't happen, but unless someone invents a time machine, its all
speculation. Grounded speculation, sure, in some cases. but untestable
speculation none the less.
Peace,
Rob

Student of Geology
400 E. McConnell Drive #11
Northern Arizona University
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