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

maru marudubshinki at gmail.com
Mon Feb 7 16:20:53 PST 2005

Iorwerth Thomas wrote:

> Oops.  My bad.  I misconstrued you.  I thought you were arguing that 
> environment _alone_ rather than 'environment plus internal state' were 
> determining factors for behaviour.  An action might be 'random' in the 
> first sense but it wouldn't be in the second (though it might be free 
> but not random, if you reject Hume's eating implement).  Sorry about 
> that (esp. as the first view is so silly that I'd hate to ascribe it 
> to anyone).
>> 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.
> I hope my remark makes sense now.
>> 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.
> (Caveat: I'm no biologist, and I'm willing to be told that I'm wrong 
> on this) I imagine that there's a significant difference between the 
> harshness of the selection of hairless tropical apes during a time of 
> relative calm (when genetic drift will predominate) and the onset of 
> an ice age.  Also, if a circumstance comes up rarely enough that, say, 
> only one or two individuals are ever affected, it might not really 
> impinge on an spiecies' history.  It might prove hard to predict the 
> rection (though I'd have to be something _very_ odd not to invoke a 
> flight or fight behaviour).
>> For my purposes, 'enviroment' is anything which affects an organism's
>> chances of living or reproducing.  This keeps everything nice and neat
>> and evolutionary :)
> Ok, I think I have a criterion for a 'non-environmental' [1] 
> influence.  Something which has not, up until this point, had a 
> significant influence on the organism's chance of living or 
> reproducing.  Good enough for ya? :)
> Iorwerth
> [1] Ok, it's not really.  But it's not environmental in the sense of 
> the word you're using, if you see what I mean.
I'd like to reply inter-linearly, but I haven't figured out how to make 
Thunderbird do so. So I'll reply in order; I hope that works.
I was arguing in essence that enviroment is first and foremost- internal 
states are derived always from that.  A thought-example. We live in a 
universe where basic laws of logic hold.  I cannot set my internal 
states (imagination and fantaszing really) to respond to the enviroment 
of a universe where, say, Modus Tollens did not hold. I just can't. I 
can try to work it out, but it never really gels.  It's like trying to 
experience a 9 spatial dimension universe.  We might work out the math 
of it, but our internal states will never reflect it, since they didn't 
evolve to do so.  We might reflect the changes in our enviroment (our 
calculations about the enviroment of a 9-d universe) but we will never 
get internal states directly corresponding.

And of course selection pressures differ.  That's why we can witness 
evolution, instead of always looking for indirect evidence.

I'd like to hear a 'non-enviromental' influence. But of course, you must 
remember, the 'NE' influence must not fall under any of the general 
rules/heuristics evolution or culture (which derives from 
evolution-given abilities and evolutionary enviromental influences, 
remember.) have worked out.  I suspect you will have trouble :)

Microsoft delenda est.

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