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Tim_Tyler comments on Life's Story Continues - Less Wrong

13 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 November 2008 11:05PM

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Comment author: Tim_Tyler 22 November 2008 09:12:29AM -1 points [-]

Re: the Baldwin Effect - strictly speaking, this predates brains. It's not about learning, but rather is about repeatedly-acquired traits. You can acquire traits repeatedly without a brain - for example, consider phenotypic plasticity in plants.

Re: recursion - evolution already has recursion - in most common senses of the word. For example, The human brain is a source of adaptation-information relating to the genetic recipe that produces the human brain. The main mechanism by which this happens is female choice.

Re: "This speeds up evolution" is just not a valid reason for something to evolve.

It kind-of is. Long term benefits are often short term benefits writ large.

For example, probably the main reason modern organisms benefit from evolving more rapidly is so their offspring can more effectively outrun the arms race with their parents' parasites. Doing that better is a win in the short term - as well as ultimately a win in the long term. Thus the evolutionary drive towards evolvability.