(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing (fwd)

Maru Dubshinki marudubshinki at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 16:57:50 PST 2005

Why is it every philosphical idea I think is amazingly clever turns
out to have been stolen from me by some long dead philosopher?! 
"Hume's fork" ?  Dammit!
Well, I hope I at least get credit for the adaptationist addition.
Time to dispose of your arguments:
Randomness in nature is bad for obvious reasons.  If any time I meet a
dreaded lion or hippo (let's pretend I am a human pre-cursor living in
Africa) I have a random chance of either a) fleeing in abject terror,
wetting my pants, and the next time I go to that place I am
extra-cautious or
b) walking up to said dangerous, unfriendly creature and poking him in
the snout. Or some other random action which doesn't involve
killing/fleeing the creature.  It's equally obvious, I hope, that the
set of actions which will preserve my life is shrinkingly smaller than
the set of all possible actions.
 So, random actions would be selected against, and actions with sense,
which are non-random (ie, presented with an identical situation, the
actions will not be utterly chaotic when iterated. If a creature is
hungry and good food is near by, we should see it the majority of
times engaging in the highly ordered, non-random sequence of going to
it, checking it out, checking out teh surroudnings, eating it etc.)
and fairly deterministic would selected for.
Your analogy with WWII nuclear strategies is not really relevant.  It
was an attempt to manipulate an opponents game-theoretic optimum
strategy. The one acting 'crazy'/'random' was anything but.
And your second thing?
Evolution is *very* fine-meshed.  The slightest advantage, compounded
like interest over thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of
millions etc will win out.
If you wish to argue that 'non-enviromental' influence exist, please
provide an example, any example.
For my purposes, 'enviroment' is anything which affects an organism's
chances of living or reproducing.  This keeps everything nice and neat
and evolutionary :)

I once wrote up a weak version of 'Hume's fork' as a fancomic for DC.
This is just to show I did think of it a while back.  Too bad I can't
prove I never read Hume or anything about him. Oh well.

On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 14:27:33 +0000, Iorwerth Thomas
<iorweththomas at hotmail.com> wrote:
> It sounds like version of Hume's fork (either my actions are determined [by
> the laws of physics, or in this case, the environment] or not; if they
> aren't, they are random, which is false; therefore they are determined) with
> an adaptionist sting in its tail.  The problems with this version are:
> 1) Why are random events (wrt the environment) selected against? There are
> situations where being unpredictable is an advantage (an example from human
> society that could be generalised are some forms of Cold War nuclear
> strategy).
> 2) It assumes that evolutionary selection is a fine mesh, not a coarse one
> (it probably varies between the two extremes depending on the
> circumstances).  If something doesn't provide a significant advantage or
> disadvantage _when all circumstances are taken into account_ (say,
> compensating factors, low selection pressure and so forth) then it may be
> passed on to the successive generation regardless.
> 3) What, exactly, do we mean by 'environment'?  It's a lot less obvious than
> it seems.
> Hence, it is possible that non-environmental (for some value of environment)
> influences on behaviour exist.
> Iorwerth

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