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metaphysicist comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Konkvistador 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: metaphysicist 20 August 2012 03:12:38PM 0 points [-]

I do hope you cited the aphorism rather than taking credit for it as original. But seeing it repeated once again forced me for once to pay attention to its meaning: to find it vacuous. The point should be stated Don't confuse functional and mechanistic explanations. Organisms don't "execute" their adaptations, this being just another confusion of kinds of explanation, at least if taken literally. And organisms can be said to be fitness maximizers, once it is realized that functional generalizations are always riddled with exceptions.

Comment author: gwern 20 August 2012 04:59:36PM 0 points [-]

I presented it as a quote, and it's very easily googleable, so I didn't provide a full cite or anything, no.

And organisms can be said to be fitness maximizers, once it is realized that functional generalizations are always riddled with exceptions.

One of the exceptions is exactly the point of the quote.