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Luke_A_Somers comments on An Alien God - Less Wrong

80 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 November 2007 06:57AM

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Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 06 October 2011 03:12:51AM *  4 points [-]

I wouldn't get so worked up about it. The point of these demos is not to claim that evolution explains mousetraps - it doesn't - but to undermine the irreducible complexity argument. It's quite capable of accomplishing that.

Almost anything could have a plausible evolutionary route in the presence of an arbitrary selecting force. But evolution by natural selection does not provide arbitrary selecting forces. Natural selection doesn't build better mousetraps and clocks and such because those aren't capable of providing the machinery (i.e. being alive) that makes natural selection work.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 October 2011 03:19:13AM 3 points [-]

I agree almost completely. Just note that being alive isn't the relevant criterion for natural selection. It is being an imperfect replicator. An imperfectly replicating machine could just as well be subject to natural selection. This brings up issues of what we mean as alive but I think that most people would not consider for example computer viruses as alive, but in the very long run they should be subject to natural selection.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 13 October 2011 02:55:31PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, I guess I meant 'e.g.', not 'i.e.'