[ExI] Tim May and DNA

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Fri Feb 8 18:54:15 UTC 2019

On Fri, Feb 8, 2019 at 12:55 PM William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>

> 'DNA doesn't '"want" anything' - somebody said.

(waves hand)

All random, eh?

Well, those aren't the only two possibilities, but yes, it's primarily

>   Well, just why doesn't DNA produce things like one ear smaller or some
> other thing that will not help or hurt survival?

That happens all the time.

>   No, it has a plan.  It tries to produce better parts than what it has
> got, and sometimes new parts to fit older systems, like its experiment with
> the appendix.

No, DNA has no intent and no desire to "improve"  or even change.

I think DNA is smart.  I would not say aware or planning - that's
> teleological.  But I just can't see it doing things randomly.

DNA changes via mutation, which is mostly random and is never done by the
DNA itself. Sometimes mutations have an obvious benefit and natural
selection results in their propagation. Sometimes they cause an obvious
detriment and natural selection makes them "go away". Sometimes they don't
affect the organism in any notable way, and their propagation is random.
And sometimes these "useless" mutations turn out to have latent
costs/benefits that cause natural selection to kick into action.

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