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douglas comments on An Alien God - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: douglas 04 November 2007 11:04:13AM -1 points [-]

g- Oh, the probability that the appearance of human life postdating the appearance of other life by more the a week is 99.9999999...% (I understand the question now) I am not reluctant to say where I get information. I am more than happy to. I appologize for not making it easier-- The information on tuberculosis can be found in Molecular Microbiology 33 pages 982-993. The best summary of the information can be found in "Quantum Evolution" by Johnjoe McFadden. You can read the relevant pages at http://books.google.com/books?id=eQbZE0oWqMwC&pg=PA272&lpg=PA272&dq=tuberculosis+strain+w+evolution+quantum&source=web&ots=xRaNWVf0IU&sig=C6OGOz2ZK0tgP7Wx17p4f0L_Tu8 Another article that explains the difficulty of this type of evolution can be found at pnas.org/cgi/content/full/96/6/2591 The difficulties of this type of mutation can be read about in Scientific American April 2006 pages 81-83. There are 3 other referenced works of interest listed in the article. (More if you need them) Biases of interest-- a current scientific theory that does not explain all phenomena should be recognized as incorrect or incomplete. Newton's law of gravity never correctly predicted the orbit of Mercury-- otherwise it seemed very good. Einstein's theory does predicit of the orbit of Mercury and more-- But as good as Newton's theory was, Einstein's turned the world upside down. As close to correct that classical physics was-- QM turned the world inside out. To say a theory is good doesn't mean that the more correct theory won't change things radically. What would a Bayesian think the odds the new theory would be radically different be? So the bias in this case is "If it's close it must be mostly right." Is this phenomena one that will be the down-fall of the current theory? I don't know-- I'm guessing the non-randomness of these mutations will lead to a new understanding of life and evolution and that the new theory will be radically different from the existing one. I maybe wrong, but I don't want a bias to get in the way of the investigation. (I'm sorry, I realize that this is an issue that the "creationists" have jumped on and the fact that I am interested in it too probably kicks up all kinds of bias (the question about the apperance of humans...) and I should be more careful in making my statements.)