[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant
stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 12:58:25 UTC 2007
On 4/4/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
On Wed, Apr 04, 2007 at 10:59:39AM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > deliberately. That is actually exactly what the human brain is: over
> > billions of years, multiple chemical reactions have occurred
> > completely at random ( i.e. there is no designer), and those that
> > happen to be better at self-replicating have survived. So although it
> > seems almost impossible that a car would be thrown together with
> > parts blowing in the wind, it is quite possible if the parts are
> > blowing in the wind for billions of years.
> Absolutely not, because the system you described doesn't self-replicate.
> It's not evolutionary, merely stochastical. There's a world of a
Fair enough: I should have said that over billions of years, the parts would
have combined in multiple random arrangements, some of which were stable and
self-replicating, and might eventually give rise to machines resembling
cars. Or let me be more specific: might eventually give rise to machines
closely resembling Honda Accords with John Coltrane playing on the sound
system. Now, that would be *extremely* unlikely; but it was also incredibly
unlikely that random mutation + natural selection should have lead over
billions of years to human beings having this particular online discussion -
and yet here we are. (It doesn't help much even if you could show that some
sort sort of intelligent species was likely to evolve: that particular
individuals of a particular species evolve is still vanishingly improbable.)
I think I've strayed a bit from my original purpose, which was to try to
persuade you that thought experiments in which extremely improbable things
happen by chance should not be summarily dismissed as irrelevant.
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