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timtyler comments on In Praise of Boredom - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 January 2009 09:03AM

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Comment author: timtyler 15 June 2012 12:19:59AM -2 points [-]

Strictly speaking, evolution is just a description of a series of trends. Since human minds are bad at modeling trends, but good at modeling other consequentialists, sometimes it's useful to pretend that evolution is a consequentialist with "goals" and a "utility function" to help people understand it. It's less scientifically accurate than modeling evolution as a series of trends, but it makes up for it by being easier for a human brain to compute. The problem is that, while most scientists understand this, there are some people who who misinterpret this to mean that evolution literally has goals, desires, and utility functions. You appear to be one of these people.

Feel free to substitute "maximisation" terminology if my preferred lingo causes you conceptual problems. Selfishness, progress and optimisation can all be "cashed out" in more long-winded terms. Remember: teleonomy is just teleology in new clothes.